“Love Actually is not a documentary”

It all began when, like a coward, I broke up with her over text and then naively agreed to do it again two days later at her place.

Everything seemed fine upon arrival – almost too fine – and my panicked anticipation of the face-to-face was shattered almost immediately, quite rudely in fact, by the dumpee refusing to follow the script I had been carefully preparing in my head. Before I had finished the word “So…” she was in tears.

In a vain attempt to seem like more of a human being, I cried too. But my social incompetence meant I ultimately failed and what came out instead was bizarre, uncomfortably sad laughter. After a while she suddenly stopped and tried to light a cigarette – she couldn’t get it to light so I did it for her. As I contemplated whether or not I was living in a film noir, I realised the behaviour was very odd, as she had never smoked before and unfortunately for whatever image she was trying to cultivate, wasn’t particularly good at it either. So I just sat there quietly whilst she smoked away.

Once finished, she made me smell her fingers. She said they smelt like cigarette smoke. I said “Yup. They sure do.” – I wanted to leave. But how? Do I say something? Do I just walk out? I wanted to jump through the window and run home but instead, having drawn a blank, I said something along the lines of: “I’ll be off then”. So we said our final goodbyes and I left. Ten seconds later, she ran out onto the road after me and there were more tears and awkwardness. We said our final goodbyes and I left, again.

I took the long way home and thought about how awful it is to break a heart and how much worse it’s made by Hollywood movie endings where relationships are saved by a grand gesture and chase to the airport. Fittingly, when I was almost home I heard someone shouting my name. I turned around and there she was. She had apparently biked after me. We argued in the street to the full view of mutual friends who cheerily called out to us before connecting the dots. I was tired, uncomfortable and needed to pee, so when she insisted on walking me home I just let it happen. Once there we said our final goodbyes for the third time. Only instead she said: “I don’t like goodbyes, so I’ll just say see ya.” I cringed so hard I thought I’d given myself a hernia. Thanks a lot, John Green.

So, whether you’re single, in a relationship, or after a bit of ruff this Valentine’s Day, keep in mind that Love Actually is not a documentary, dating people who passed their cycling proficiency test is a bad idea and don’t, for the love of God, dump people over text.


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July 2021
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