I sat in my kitchen, worn out from the trains, the people and the stress of a day at work. I’d made my dinner–gnocchi and some pasta sauce based on my sister’s recommendation. I didn’t like it, but still had a whole tub to finish off eventually. I hoped I could pass it off to my sister before it turned awful… My only glimmer of happiness was remembering that I had made the most amazing puddings the night before. Butterscotch Angel Delight and chocolate digestives, all layered together in a bunch of soufflé dishes my landlord had left for my flatmate and I. Student Bake-Off that should exist, eat your heart out.
As I sat eating the pudding, I wondered what I was even doing with my life. I had moved out of my childhood home, yet my aim of never visiting until Christmas had failed miserably and I wondered why I even bothered to pay my rent for a flat I only seemed to live in half the time. I was still single, and probably still in love with the guy I’d broken up with so I could ‘be single and mingle’ like I was that kind of girl. As a result of said ‘love’, I was playing ‘self-sabotage’ with a relationship that wasn’t quite a relationship with my best friend that didn’t seem like he should be my best friend any more.
I was trying to worm my way back into a life of music, when I’d sworn I would give up once I started studying. I didn’t know whether I was going up or down and I hated it. My friends had sworn to me I would ‘own uni’, yet I felt like I was doing anything but. I enjoyed it, there was no doubt about it, but the lifestyle was yet to kick in, the friends for life didn’t feel like they’d been made and I was sick and tired of somehow always reverting back to someone that was sad. It wasn’t all because of the course, most of it was the fact I was more worried about money than ever before–I was a uni student that actually seemed to have respect for their money. It seemed to me like I was the only one who had actually had a job and understood the concept of needing to afford things yourself. I didn’t want to rely on the bank of mum and dad. I found it ridiculous that I would rather rely on the bank of the government than my parents, but I felt it was time to stop burdening them when I moved out.
Back in the real world, I was waiting for a phone call and that was the only reason my mind had started to wander so much. My pudding was finished and I contemplated the second one left over in the fridge but I’d promised that I would save it for my flat mate. She didn’t want it when I had asked but I still felt like I should leave it for her.
I eyed my phone, wondering why Josh had said he would try and call on his work break. I’d called him while I was on my lunch break to organise meeting up to have a chat that I knew would probably upset him. I wondered if he’d cottoned on that he was going to be let down… Maybe he was ringing me so that we could avoid a face to face meeting and he was just going to say that he knew. We’d been having a random… thing. That was the only way to describe it. It was confusing and it didn’t seem to be going anywhere. Naturally I’d probably shut myself down and decided that no, I didn’t really want anything, I was actually happy, far down, being single. Also just as naturally I’d probably thought that I was thinking bullsh*t and I just wanted a guy that was a bit more assertive about what he wanted than Josh was being. I was all for women being strong and equal rights but within two seconds I was also happy to say that I was still a woman that fell for a man who acted like a goddamn f*cking knight and would kiss you so hard you felt dizzy because he just knew that that was what he should do.
Josh was really not that man. He was probably more girly than I was… Yet every now and again his smile would catch me off guard and all I could do was look down and mildly die. I’d grown used to him sleeping next to me thanks to a lot of nights crashing at each others houses drunk. Sometimes I woke up and it was strange to be alone, but the most recent night he’d slept at my flat, all I wanted was for him to leave.
When I apologised for my weird mood the next day, I’d claimed it was merely because I was tired and felt like being alone to sleep, but really I’d just wanted to be away from him. We’d spent four or five days in each other’s company the week before and I’d managed to make myself sick of him. When he rang, every worry about what was happening between us faded. I laughed easily until the brief and few moments when we would both fall silent. Then it felt forced again.
I couldn’t shake the feeling of just wanting to hang up. I didn’t hate him, but I was just tired of him–Josh was pretty much one of the only people I kept talking to throughout the summer. Danny and Hazel popped up now again and in reality Hazel was popping up more and more, but Josh had remained constant. We talked every day. That was it. I needed to just tell him to shut up and leave me alone for a little while. It wasn’t meant to be in a horrific way, but space was sounding more and more like an amazing idea.
I had asked Danny how I could let Josh down, deny him a chance to ever get closer to me, and he had told me to be honest. The more I thought of it, I still didn’t think throwing Josh’s affection to the wolves was the right thing to do. I had told him before that I didn’t know what I felt and I didn’t know what to do.
I just needed to get him off my brain. I actually needed to just stop thinking about him for two seconds. Maybe the pudding left in the fridge would help. The soufflé dish filled with butterscotch Angel Delight and chopped up chocolate digestives that had gone a little bit soft. It tasted like something you could have bought in a restaurant–it was why I was so proud of it, sitting there looking like it was posh as opposed to a student’s cheap version. Maybe it was a little scruffy, but my cooking and baking had always been a little bit ‘rustic’. I was a mess, but I liked to hope that anything I made tasted nice.
I denied myself the pudding. Potential Josh-destroyers didn’t deserve pudding. Deep down in my head, I began to think that maybe potential Josh-destroyers just didn’t deserve Josh. I didn’t deserve him. And so my great game of self-sabotage returned… It was time for the pudding, regardless.