Breakup (as it ought to be?)
For my work, I needed to be on a ship in the south of the country for a week. This suited my girlfriend. She badly needed a week to herself. Two weeks before, she had started to talk about doubts she had about our relationship. She needed time to think, she said. On her own.
I don’t have a work-laptop, so I brought my own. I brought the one that my girlfriend had used last to consult her Gmail. It had its browser set to memorize login code and password. It was an accident waiting to happen: halfway though the week I stumbled into her mailbox instead of mine. This had happened before, no problem, I wanted to log out as I always did.
But my eye caught an email, the first line of which said something about our relationship. It was addressed to some guy I had never heard of. I was convinced that the first thought that crossed my mind could not possibly be true, so I opened the mail and read it. I still did not believe what I read and opened others. Eventually I read all.
I read her very first mail, the one in which my girlfriend said she had somehow managed to get hold of his email and that she wanted to date him, even though she was in a relationship. I read the mail in which your man called her ‘his love life’ and the mail in which she replied that she felt proud about this. I read the mail about holding each other at the bus stop. I read the mail in which she said that the day after that, she was walking around with a broad smile. She had written the exact same line to me the day after we had started. No points for originality there.
I don’t remember at what email precisely the truth dawned on me, but it did.
I read about their first date, which had been agreed for the following day, in a restaurant the name of which was mentioned: “Walem”. The rest of the story is referred to by my friends as “The Battle of Walem”. It is as short as it is entertaining.
I called the restaurant to check whether your man had made reservations. He had, at seven. The next day I took the afternoon off and drove back to the north. I bought a large bunch of red roses. The same that I always bought for her on special occasions. I wrote a card stating: ‘These are my last roses for you, dear.’
I delivered roses and card at the restaurant asking personnel to deliver them to the female companion of the guy that had made the reservations. I lied to them and said your man and his girlfriend had a reason to celebrate and I was a friend who wanted to surprise them. The latter wasn’t a lie. The people at the restaurant were friendly enough to give me their phone number and the name of the waiter in charge.
I had dinner at my local bar, only a few blocks away from where my girlfriend and her new beau were having dinner.
At half seven I called and asked for said waiter.
‘Shall I give them now?’ he asked.
‘Please do.’ I said.
‘I’ll have to interrupt them, they’re having firsts.’
‘Would you do it anyway please,’ I insisted.
‘Hold the line.’
In the background I heard my girlfriend saying she didn’t mind being interrupted. Strangely, it still felt good to hear her voice. A second later, the waiter was back.
‘Done.’ He said.
‘Thanks a million.’ I said, ‘you’ve really helped me out here.’