Getting life right was proving to be more difficult than she had bargained for. And really, she admitted to herself, when she said ‘life’ she really meant ‘love’. When things were ticking along romantically, she could pretend to herself that the other parts of life were large and significant – succeeding in her career, achieving things creatively, keeping friends close. But when the love was taken away and its chasm yawned at her feet, everything else became tiny, miniature, like furniture in a doll’s house.

Love was supposed to be grand and overarching, all-consuming and devastating, and in this it had lived up to her expectations. Love had been like learning a new language, like finding a whole new person in someone she knew, like picking something up by accident off the ground and discovering it was your whole life. But with it came the darkness of fear, and the unpleasant truth that for someone people, love was not everything.

She had been prepared for heartbreak and loneliness, had known all about what the longing and missing might feel like. But she hadn’t expected the cruel realities, the gritty detail. The promises broken, the cold gazes, the unreturned phone calls, the refusals and betrayals. She had not been prepared for the humiliation.


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