I met my friend Marc. He’s the one who moved to Italy to live with his incredibly athletic lover, Secondo. It turns out he was a complete schmuck after all. He wasn’t just having sex with Marc but successfully entertaining half the male population of Naples as well. If you get my meaning? Their reconciliation was doomed from the start.
“Tell Marc we’re all out of pathos over here otherwise he might end up sobbing in our bed again like the last time,” said Guido, unsympathetically whisking an egg.
“Yeah, well, but for the grace of God there go you and I,” I said. “If you hadn’t met me your life could well have turned out just like that egg – scrambled.”
We went for lunch to Village East in Bermondsey. I picked the toasted aubergine.
”You know I’ve been back from Italy for two weeks and I still find it difficult to look at a smoked mozzarella without bursting into tears,” said Marc pondering my appetiser. I think he was welling up.
I thought about changing my order to avert an emotional melt down which might involve our mattress.
“It must be very difficult,” I said realising total betrayal, rather than cheese, was probably the greater of Marc’s worries at the time.
“I guess there are worse things in life than having an affair with a delusional sex maniac,” Marc said.
I sipped my wine. I have to admit it took me a moment to think of one.
“What would you have learned from an experience like that?” he said sagely.
I wished he hadn’t asked.
You see, I’m not part of that hippy dippy naval gazing brigade. I try not to over analyse things. I don’t see life as a never ending learning experience where even if something is so awful you still manage to scrape something “good” out of it to weave into a silver lining.
Sometimes life deals you a completely crap hand and that’s as good as it gets. The only way to make it better is to try to extradite yourself from whatever the situation is. A job sucks. A boss is a complete ass. A relationship is totally toxic. And you move on, because sticking around won’t ever make any of it any more acceptable. Of course, there are occasions when you simply can’t walk away. No amount of chanting or stroking crystals or hand wringing is ever going to make you feel better. I know, because I’ve been there. And the only way I got my head round it was to hope that tomorrow was going to be a better day.
“Goodness,” I said, “I don’t know – what d’you think?” I said annoyingly answering a question with another question.
“I suppose I wish I’d never met Secondo and never tasted his tagliatelle al fungi,” he said. And he definitely meant it.
Later, at home in bed, I asked Guido if he’d any regrets which involved a mushroom.
“No,” he said pulling up the bed clothes to his neck, “but never underestimate how awkward they are to stuff into a pastry vol-au-vent.”
“Ok, but how do you feel about delusional sex mania?” I asked hopefully.
There was a brief pause. Guido turned the lamp back on.
”I don’t know,” he said, “but I’m willing to give it a try.”