This is not going to be one of those stories about what could have been. Nor is it going to be about what ought to have been.
Then again, it is not a story about what was.
None of this ever happened. At least it didn’t’ happen this way… no matter what she tells you.
None of it is true.
Oh, yes, she would have liked it to happen a certain way. She would have liked to come out of the whole episode as the wronged party, as the victim, as the one who was reasonable the whole time, as the one that walked away.
But no. It wasn’t like that. Not like that at all.
Obviously, I’m no saint, but then who is?
And definitely not her.
‘Petra,’ she said the first time we met. She held out her hand to me. It was cold… well, cooler than mine.
‘You’re hand is warm,’ Petra said.
She later claimed I said something trite and cringing. A chat-up line like ‘shows I have a warm heart,’ or some bollocks like that. If you know me, really know me, not from the things Petra has said about me, you’d know I don’t do things like that.
I am no pickup artist with a fund of glib one-liners so corny they’d make a TV sitcom writer cringe.
I think I just smiled. I’m not very good at the social stuff, the small talk. I can manage a few stilted sentences about the weather, but after that, I dry up. I suppose I may have said something, but what it was I can’t remember.
I’m not very good at being social, but I’m not anti-social. Petra lied about that too. I’m just happy with my own company, and when we were together, I was content to be just with her too.
I didn’t want anything else. I didn’t want anybody else, despite what Petra said, despite what her so-called best friend Layla said, either.
I did my best after the first few times to avoid being alone with Layla.
She wanted… well, she claimed she wanted me.
But I saw it wasn’t me as such that Layla wanted. She only ever wanted what Petra had and Petra had me… so Layla wanted me.
I know I found it hard to believe too.
But women do have friendships like that. I wouldn’t call them friendships, but then I’m not very go at the whole friends thing either.
Not after a few incidents when I was young. I didn’t realise at the time, but….
I don’t know. Maybe it is me.
Maybe I’m too trusting, too naive.
I had a sheltered childhood.
Too sheltered Petra said.
But there was a reason for that… a few reasons. After my father died so unexpectedly, I was all that was left for my mother to cling to.
She hung on to me. I was her lifeline.
I was a bit lost after she died and left me.
I’d resigned myself to a life alone.
But then Petra came along.
But now, here I am alone again.
But all that she told you, none of it is true.