Close You Down
by Sara Sherwood
I closed you down on a wet Wednesday evening.
Three years of angling my face towards my MacBook webcam and carefully editing my list of favourite books, TV shows and films to reach the optimal combination of aloof and witty. All the late night sleazy messages and tentative sweet ones, the stilted brush-offs, all gone. I’d joined the legions of faceless profiles who had faded off the site and into the arms of another person.
‘Been on any dates lately?’ endless coupled-up friends ask. They say it over bottomless boozy brunches, at the end of a lengthy debate about Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Or after we’ve deconstructed the last episode of The Great British Bake Off and swapped podcast recommendations. They always follow up with the most hateful phrase. ‘Let me live vicariously through you.’
Why don’t they say: let me put on your red lipstick and leave a bar unkissed. Let me sit next to you on a Sunday afternoon while you watch a fifth episode in a row of Gilmore Girls. Let me eat your bone-crushing sadness.
‘No, I haven’t.’ I direct my attention back to the endlessly refilled glass of Prosecco. ‘I seem to have exhausted all the men within a three mile radius of Clapton between 27 and 32.’
‘I would be terrible at dating.’
‘Everyone is terrible at dating.’ I stamp out the subject before it turns to a pitying offer to introduce me to another one of their boyfriend’s horrifyingly boring friends. My friends seems to think that inviting me to a party dominated by couples and one single man is tantamount to performing a civic duty. ‘Have you finished Stranger Things yet?’
Need a break? you asked, as I considered putting the heating on on a wet Wednesday evening. Found someone?
I want to say I’m closing you down for romantic reasons. I want to say I’ve met someone and we’ve had months of great dates. That we make plans for Saturday nights, we go to the Tate Modern together on Sundays, he likes all my Instagrams and I haven’t watched Gilmore Girls in ages.
That did happen once, with someone, but then it finished.
Sara Sherwood | @sarasherwood