She didn’t care for the attitude – not to mention the games he was obviously neck deep in – and so, after trying to work things out for a while, she just told him to fuck off. It wasn’t even a romantic entanglement – she didn’t think he would be capable of working that bit out for himself – it had more to do with cooperative coexistence – a kind of symbiotic relationship, if you will, that suddenly went haywire.

Shit happens, her friends told her, particularly when dealing with purveyors of the stuff with not much else to do with their time. The recent rains and accompanying gloom did nothing to nudge out that slightest bit of apprehension that niggled in a remote corner of her mind, as she couldn’t stop herself wondering if she had done the right thing. Fuck it, she thought to herself, she didn’t really need all the crap that went with the deal, and could manage very well without any of the attendant bullshit. Mind made up, she banished further contemplation on the subject – and hoped that mind would pay heed.

And it did – for a whole day and a half! And then the mail arrived. It was a long, rambling ‘explanation’, at least that was what he called it. She thought it was another load of crap and pressed ‘delete’. That was at work. When she got back to her pad later that evening, she had a message on her answering machine – a cryptic couplet, that she said was badly composed and quite meaningless to her. The voice was unrecognizable and the accent imprecise and so she wondered if it was meant for someone else and a wrong number had been the cause of the mystery. But if it wasn’t, she wondered, who, of the friends and others that had access to her phone, would waste time messing around like this. Some dude with a penchant for romance and with a strange way of expressing himself? Other possibilities raced through her head until she decided to erase all traces of the message – from her machine, as well as from her head.

She turned on the TV and pressed the mute button so that she couldn’t catch the sound of the old movie that was playing – Humphrey Bogart on a rust-bucket stuck in a river in the middle of some tropical rain forest was making a play for someone that looked like Katherine Hepburn. So she turned on some Bach, a Christmas gift that she had meant to listen to, but hadn’t. She set about tidying up the mess from last night’s wining and dining with friends, shoved part of a pie in the microwave for later and headed for the shower. The steaming jets of water helped to relax and get her back to par – she could hear the phone ring in the bedroom, and let it ring.

She felt great.