Sunday 2 March

Fuck fuck fuckity fuck fuck. I am such an idiot and I don’t know if I can face him tomorrow. He’s said we’re fine, but are we? Oh god I don’t know. And Lucy’s not rung me so I don’t know if she’s talking to me or not.

I ended up telling Lucy everything about J – she has that big sister knack of getting stuff out of me even when I’m fairly sure that I don’t want to tell her. She said straight off that I should stop and think about what I’m doing. She said the fact that he was married had made him off limits to start with, and I should have just stopped mooning over him (her stupid words) as soon as I found out he was married, but now he’s widowed he’s even more off limits because it would be taking advantage in the worst possible way. I told her I wouldn’t do that and I’ve no intention of making a move on him but she just said, “If you had the chance to kiss him, would you?” and she just knew I couldn’t say ‘No’ to that and she got into an almighty huff about being on dangerous ground and I’d end up hurting him and myself. I’m beginning to wonder if there’s something she’s not telling me.

Anyway, she was only here for Friday night because she had a party to go to last night, but we spent half the day together yesterday and she came with me to pick my car up from the garage, and she left after our late lunch at Cafe Nero. We got into a bit of a row, though – she’s insisting I either tell J how I feel about him so he knows what he’s getting into, or I just take a massive step back and stay away from him altogether – but I can’t do either. No way am I going to tell him that I’ve fancied him all along – what the hell will he think of me? So Lucy ended up leaving in a huff and saying she doesn’t want to hear about it when it all blows up in my face, and that left me on a real downer. I couldn’t ring her while she was driving, and then her phone was off last night and isn’t back on yet. I’ve left her a message on voicemail though, so hopefully she’ll get back to me tonight.

After Lucy left, J called me. I mean, on my mobile (!). He didn’t talk for a while, he said he didn’t know why he was calling. He didn’t sound ok, so after we got off the ‘phone I went to his to check on him.

He had visitors when I got there, but they were on the point of leaving so J invited me in and introduced us. When they’d gone, he told me that they were old friends from Uni and they’d heard about Helen and had come to see J because they’d lost touch years ago. I suppose they just wanted to give him their condolences in person. He said it was nice to see them, but it had been a bit awkward because they hadn’t been in touch with each other for years and he quickly realised that they had little in common now, and neither of them knew about Beth and he hates when people get uncomfortable around her, so he said I’d arrived just at the right time because it gave them all a good excuse for them to leave.

I could tell straight away he wasn’t ok, so for some reason I offered to cook him dinner, thinking maybe he needed help after a long day entertaining people. He said ok. Now I think about it, he said, “Um, yeah, ok, if you’re sure” which wasn’t very enthusiastic. If only I’d been sharp enough to pick up on it – he was probably only agreeing to be polite.

After he had put Beth to bed (she seemed really happy to see me again. I’m really starting to adore this little girl. I know some people feel uncomfortable around her, but she’s so kind-hearted and gentle and sweet. My heart breaks for her. Imagine growing up without your mum), I made him some tea and we ate it together. Then he asked if I wanted a drink and I (stupidly!) asked for a glass of wine. He said he had a bottle leftover from when his mum and sister were staying, and he went to get it. Before we knew it – the bottle was empty.

He told me he wanted to explain what had upset him yesterday when he picked Beth up from school. I said there was no need but he was adamant.

It’s Mother’s Day today, and the kids had made their own cards in school. Obviously Beth hadn’t been discouraged from joining in, so she’d been waving her card at J when he arrived to pick her up. What had upset him, was that she’d signed it herself and this is the first time she’s managed to do that on her own, and he said Helen would have been so proud and delighted because she’d spent such a long time with Beth teaching her how to do it, and now she’d finally mastered it but Helen would never know.

“Then, I guess I was thinking about how Helen’s gone and she’ll never experience these things, she’ll never experience so many things, and that just made me feel even more guilty…”

“Guilty?” I said, putting my glass down. “What do you mean?”

He just turned and stared at me. “Surely you know what I mean?”

My head was racing! My throat went dry, my hands started to shake. What was happening??

He continued, “I’ve been asking you to help, I’ve been calling and making up reasons to talk to you, I’m a bad person, I can’t believe she’s barely gone and…” then he put his face in his hands and started to cry.

I didn’t know what to do, I just put a hand on his shoulder, shifting closer to him to do so, then he looked up and… oh, I don’t know. Did I kiss him or did he kiss me? I have no idea but suddenly we were kissing. Then he pulled back a bit and murmured, “ Helen…”

Then he really broke down. He just cried and cried and cried. To be honest I think he probably hasn’t cried enough since Helen died and he’s got a lot to get out of his system, so I just put my arms round his shoulders and let him cry. We sat there like that for ages before I realized he’d cried himself to sleep – god knows I know how that feels – so I stayed where I was rather than disturb him and eventually I dozed off as well. It was about 3 o’clock when we both woke up – I hope to God I wasn’t snoring, cos I don’t know what woke us – and it was so awkward. He didn’t know where to look, I didn’t know where to look, and we were still both apologising, so I told him to go to bed and I’d go home.

He nodded like it was a really good idea, and said thanks for the dinner, and then he went upstairs so I let myself out and drove home. It took me ages to get to sleep because I couldn’t stop thinking about that kiss, and his face when he realised what we were doing. What the hell was I thinking?? I’m fairly sure I didn’t plan on kissing him. God he’s a good kisser – I’m getting horny just thinking about it. The thing is that I enjoyed it, but he was absolutely mortified and so upset that it breaks my heart to think of it. Talk about being torn in two – half of me gets turned on just thinking about that kiss, while the other half is hurting for him because of it.

So I finally got to sleep sometime after 5 this morning and slept in until 11. I tried ringing Lucy, I even tried ringing Darren, though I don’t know why because I keep blowing him off so I can’t imagine he’s talking to me, but both their phones were off. I was going to ring Ben but couldn’t think of a decent way of telling him what had happened, so I’ll leave that until I see him at work tomorrow. I went out for a walk after lunch and ended up in the park, sitting on Mum’s bench and having a bloody good cry. I just kept thinking that I’ve caused J so much pain – and I realised that Lucy was right, and I need to get away from the situation before I make it worse. And then when I got home there was a message on my answering machine and a missed call on my mobile and they were both from J.

I was in two minds about ringing him back but I was too scared, so I waited and, in the end, he rang this evening, just after he’d put Beth to bed, and I really wish he hadn’t because I think I love him more than ever now. He’s got no idea what he’s doing to me, and I’m too scared to tell him.

He said he’d rung his sister this morning and told her about last night. OMG! I could have died when he said that, and I think he could tell that I was shocked because he said he hoped I didn’t mind but he knows he can rely on Elspeth to make him think straight. I just said okay. He said he was sorry, and I did too, and then he said he hopes it won’t spoil our friendship because he really appreciates everything I’ve done, especially with Beth, and he said he honestly doesn’t think he could cope without me and Ben chipping in. And he asked me if we’re okay and I could have cried, because it’s totally not his fault – it’s mine – and I said, “I am if you are” and he said “Oh that’s so good to know” and he thanked me and I don’t think I could feel any guiltier than if I’d stuck a knife through his heart and killed him.

So I guess we’re fine and we’ll just forget about last night and carry on as we were, just friends. I really am okay with that, even though in a perfect world I’d want much more. Then he asked me if I’d been okay today, with it being Mother’s Day, and I told him I’d been up to the park for a bit of a wallow, and he said he’d have to try that. He said he’d taken Beth to Helen’s grave to put some flowers there, and Beth had been quiet afterwards, so he’s wondering if she’s beginning to understand what’s happened. I said we’ll just have to keep taking tiny steps, and he said that’s what Elspeth had said.

He’ll be back at work tomorrow, and I’ll have to face him and try not to think about that kiss and the fallout from it. I need to focus on the hurt it caused him, rather than the yumminess of it. Why, oh why couldn’t he be a shite kisser?!



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