Journalist Harriet and charity worker Sanjay are two characters from my novel Hampstead Fever. Here’s what happened one afternoon.
“I’ve been thinking,” said Sanjay.
Another bad sign. Harriet already knew something was wrong before he came up to the flat. He normally looked full-on at the camera in the entryphone and gave a cheery wave or said, ‘I’m here with a friend. Can we interest you in a copy of The Watchtower?’
Today he’d ducked. He never ducked.
She buzzed him in. Then he sat next to her on the sofa, had the cup of tea she’d made him, and told her he’d been thinking. All the while, Be Here Now was playing. It had been one of her favourite albums for over fifteen years, but from now on she would always hate the Gallagher brothers and their grating Mancunian accents.
“Why, Sanjay?” It was the only thing she could think of.
At first he stared at his feet. “Look. When we met, I thought I was a goner. Now I’ve got my life back, and… Well, I guess I want to be single for a bit.”
“I knew it!” She’d even told him so about two years ago, as she reminded him. “We should have talked.”
He had the decency to look upset. “Yes, we should have. But we can’t seem to talk the way we used to.”
“Have we even tried?”
“I don’t know.”
Did a break-up ever put you up a particular piece of music? I’d love to hear from you.