“Have you talked to Loch Ness recently?”
I probably need to point out at this moment that my mother didn’t actually refer to my former classmate as ‘Loch Ness’. We used to call her that at school (privately, not to her face) because her name looked a bit like the Loch Ness Monster rising in humps put of the water. I do believe it was my friend-who-is-a-midwife who came up with that one.
In any case, I had been talking to Loch Ness after stumbling across her on the street and getting her MSN address. In fact, I’d been talking to her quite a lot. And I’d been talking to her about quite a lot.
As it turned out, since we lost contact Loch Ness had been dating a lot of my friends from secondary school. She allegedly got her first boyfriend in year 7, which seemed realistic… once she was legally able to, she started sleeping with them too (and, although I never thought to ask any of them, I’m willing to bet my entire reputation as a hopeless social misfit that at least one of the punk rock fans in my year lost his virginity to Loch Ness).
I’m still not sure why she told me this.
“It’s not nice being single after being in a relationship for so long,” heartbroken ILB said at one point, “there’s no fun.”
“Does you use of the word ‘fun’ have a sexual connotation?”
“Maybe, I mean, I wasn’t really being that specific but…”
“Because once you’ve had some ‘fun’ it’s hard to stop, right?”
“Hey, question. Have you ever had a crush on me?”
This was, I am 100% certain, why my mother had asked about her. She made a big deal out of the fact that Loch Ness was very pretty, and being perfectly aware that I was just out of my first relationship, assumed that this was a direction I was heading in. (She was less keen on her throughout junior school, when Loch Ness tended to invent stories. One of her boldest claims: if Oliver Cromwell had accepted the throne, she would be a princess.)
Fortunately, I had an answer to that.
“Didn’t I marry you at one point?”
And indeed I had. I mean, the ring had been made out of Play-Doh, all the guests had been wearing school uniform and the best man had been a pushmi-pullyu comprised of Robinson and my friend-who-is-a-midwife tied together with a scarf, but I did indeed marry her. If my memory served me correctly, I stopped her as she passed my table and asked her to marry me.
I’m not sure if a year 1 wedding hastily arranged following a maths session counts, but nevertheless.
“So you did! Happiest day of my life!”
Now that I could believe.
There was a pause. Should I go back to talking about sex, or answer her question?”
“I want a divorce,” I said.