Dear Nicholas,

I'm sorry I didn't come to the wedding. At my age making yourself look presentable takes ages and making all this effort just to go and watch the so-called Love of My Life get married to some random other girl is not exactly my idea of fun (this description is reserved for going to bed with a hot-water bottle).

To be honest, your invitation came as a bit of a surprise. I wasn't surprised that you were getting married (I knew one of us would in the end) but that you wanted me to "join you on this happy occasion" if I may quote that masterpiece of elegance and blandness you were kind enough to send me. I thought that the last time I saw you I made it clear that I'd come to your funeral but not your wedding. I know it was more than five years ago and back then I was, pardon the expression, "in love with you" but I haven't changed my mind. I may be emotionally unstable, as you were once observant enough to diagnose, but I'm not fickle. So did you pretend to forget in order to hurt me just one last time for old times' sake? Or were you secretly hoping I'd turn up and make a scene? We all know how boring weddings can be. Once you've seen one, you've seen them all, so it's always nice if you can get your emotionally unstable ex-girlfriend to liven up the ceremony, isn't it.

I couldn't help noticing the name of your bride. Isn't she that lanky blonde who used to take her clothes off at school parties? I think she came onto me once. She seemed alright for a drunken slut. I hope she doesn't let herself go now that you've tied the knot.

I'm afraid I can't keep this up, Nicholas. I thought calling your wife a slut would make me feel better. Ah, well. It was worth a try.

You may remember (I know I do) that on that happy occasion when you called me an emotional fuck-up, you also said that I was a pathetic introvert greedily hoarding my feelings and thoughts as if they were worth much more than the proverbial penny. I'm going to share something with you then: just one last secret memory. For old times' sake. I doubt if it's worth more than a penny but think of it as a wedding gift anyway. I realise it wasn't on the list but I think it should fit in nicely between the illuminated cocktail fountain and the monogrammed silk sheets. Enjoy.

Do you remember that halcyon era of our acquaintance when we were back to being just friends and I used to stay at yours whenever it was too late to walk back home? We'd lie in the dark and talk for hours, and I'd always try and keep you awake for as long as possible because I knew that once you fell asleep, I'd be left sleepless and alone. I could never sleep. Not in that bed. It held too many memories and you were too close for comfort. I was always very careful not to touch you, not even by accident. I could hear you breathing, though. I often tried to keep my breathing in time with yours, which seems a bit silly now but I felt so lonely that I'd try anything just to make myself feel connected to you in some way, no matter how silly or intangible.

The only other sound in the room was the dual ticking of the alarm clock on the bedside table and the clock on the wall. They were out of sync so it seemed that time had a bad limp. And it seemed to limp forever, especially in winter when I knew I'd have to wait for hours before it got light enough for me to sneak out and go home.

Sometimes, when it got too much even for a pathetic introvert, I would get up and lock myself in the bathroom. I'd sit in the bathtub and read The Sea, The Sea. I remember that the book was pretty tatty and smelled of cigarette smoke as a result of all those years you'd spent living with your toxic parents. When I was finished for the night, I'd hide it behind the medicine cabinet. I don't think you ever noticed. For all I know it's still there.

That's all from me then. Take care and good luck with the happily ever after.


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