No. 16 Annulment

We have only ever been friends, thank goodness. I have never been given ‘the treatment’.

She is handsome rather than pretty, sporty and competitive. She loves to compete, one to one, never in teams, and she loves to win.

She keeps her dark brown hair short, almost boyish. She says long hair gets in the way when she is kayaking, or foot-boxing, or rock climbing, or doing anything else for that matter.

She always has a boy in tow, usually tall and thin with corded muscles, wiry, never big and bulky. She calls them her beaus. I think she thinks it sounds more classy than lover and more grown up than boyfriend.

The pattern is always the same – though she never seems to recognise it. She is always either in love, head-over-heels, besotted, or collapsed, very temporarily, under a crushing grief – either of abandonment or disappointment, depending.

Each is always ‘the one’, and while he is the one he is the subject of her absolute, undivided and unremitting attention. He gets ‘the treatment’.

From the outside it always seems a bit unfair, like shooting fish in a barrel.

She loves sex of course, that’s the heart of the matter, she loves boys and she loves sex and the best sex is always to be had when one is swept away in the first unbearable, unsustainable flush of new love.

It always seems to me that it is not the boy that is important, it is the love, or more precisely, it is the being in love. It is the being swept away with love. The craziness of it, the irresistible force of it, the consequent absence of culpability. The effective innocence afforded by love is what she loves.

She slumps down in one of my oversized blue cotton arm chairs, carefully crosses her legs, like a child, and then she says:

‘He is wonderful, you have to meet him. I know you’ll love him. We met in <Tibet/The Amazon/Astronaut Training/Insert Selection Here>. He says the funniest things <Insert funny thing here>.

She enfolds the new beau in a thick blanket of words such that no sense of any individual remains. His very being is synchronously deified and annulled by her act of love, he becomes concurrently a God and a cypher destined only to abandon or disappoint.

Which of course, inevitably, he does.

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