Edward Barking is having doubts. Second thoughts. Reservations. I know because I’m in his head and it is delicious. He’s standing there, paralysed by the thought that he might be mistaken, that Suzanne Thorpe might have been the love of his life and not the woman sitting in front of him. Its great, and I have a front row seat. Privileged access. My finger on the pulse.
Am I making a terrible mistake, he’s thinking. Do I love her? He doesn’t know, and that’s the best bit because I do. I know the inside of his head better than he does. It startles me sometimes, the things he keeps from himself, the actions he carries out in defiance of wishes he doesn’t even know he has. It startles me sometimes, but mostly it amuses me.
“Give me some time to think about it,” he’s saying know. “I’m not sure yet.” Priceless. He’ll never figure it out on his own, never know his own mind well enough to make an informed decision. The only real question is whether he’ll marry her even though he doesn’t know. I like to think of it as a contest between his cowardice and his stupidity. Even I don’t know which of those is greater. I hope he gets it wrong though. The mind of Edward Barking is much more fun when he’s miserable.
“That’s fine.” She says, smiling. I have no idea what she’s thinking. She might not love him as much as she thinks she does. Either way, Edward is nodding gratefully.
“Thanks. I won’t need long.” He finishes his cup of tea and gets up. Too soon? Coming off a little too eager to leave? Well, he’s done it now. Too late. He leaves, and as he does he catches a glimpse of her watching him leaving. She’s worried, and as he sees it his mind does a guilty backflip, dousing his second thoughts in a hefty dose of shame and I’m loving it. I wonder if everyone is as messed-up, repressed and self-hating as this guy.
I wouldn’t be surprised.