The first tear was the biggest. It bubbled in the bottom of my eye, nestling in the lower eyelid, sparkling from the deep blue-green of the iris. Finally, after an age, it spilled over, rapidly rolling down my cheek and onto my top lip.
She leant forward and carefully wiped the next tear away with her thumb.
“Don’t,” she said, “don’t.”
Like there was anything I could do about it.
“I want to stay friends,” she said.
Yes, that always works.
I took my glasses off and wiped my eyes with the back of my hand, sniffing.
“Is there someone else?” I asked. She shook her head, looking downwards.
‘Mate, of COURSE there’s someone fucking else.’
Two years, three months, four days. When you’re 18, that’s a bloody lifetime. She was the first. That means she will always be the first. Everyday. Always.
I went into the kitchen and wiped my eyes on the tea towel. Her mother came in, glancing sideways at my red eyes.
“Are you okay, Niall?” I shook my head. She turned to me, took me in her arms and softly kissed my forehead, brushing my hair to the side.
“You’ll be okay,” she whispered. I realised later that she knew, that her daughter had told her in advance that she was going to dump me.
I started the four mile walk home. It was freezing. I turned the collar up on my thin jacket, hands shoved deep into the shallow pockets. On and on I walked, brooding, thinking, sulking.