Author: Jessica Patient
Illustration: Christopher Harrisson
It’s good to have lots of friends and family around you when you’re dealing with a break-up but sometimes you just need some space so you can get back to being a cliché – curled in the foetal position, filling your belly with junk food and bingeing on box-sets while your mind is swallowed up by sadness.
1) The Fridge
All visitors will head to the fridge either to make you a ‘lets talk’ cup of tea or to make you a sandwich as your chubby face has lost its roll of fat from around your chin. Ditch the mouldy slab of cheese, tuck away that bottle of rose, and bin those cherry-flavoured yogurts that you’ve been saving for when your partner (or should that be ex-partner) comes back. Before they visit, I’m afraid you must drag yourself to the shop and buy some fake food like fruit especially something exotic as that will make your visitor think you’re really coping. Definitely buy fresh milk but the size down as you don’t want to be one of those empty-nesters and keep buying and cooking as if there are more people in the house. Also think about removing your set of keys out of the fridge. It seemed like a good idea at the time but it really does show the state of your mind.
It’s time to let the light back into your home. I know you want to be a vampire, and sit stewing on the sofa with a bottle of vodka as your best pal but this is only temporary. Pull back the curtain and see for certain – that’s what Joseph with his technicolour jacket would say. Maybe open the window too just to stir up the air – no visitor should have to smell your stale farts. I know you don’t want to see the world in its brilliant HD-ness but sometimes it’s nice to be digital for a moment or two before going back to analogue.
For fuck’s sake, stop wearing your ex-partner’s clothes – slash them with a knife and then dump them in the bin – make sure the knife is sharp as Levi jeans have strong seams but can, eventually, be forced apart. But most importantly, I’m talking about those jogging bottoms. Put them in the washing machine, please. No one wants to see last night’s microwave dinner stain near your crutch. Letting your visitor simply hear the washing machine spinning around will definitely provide that you’re doing okay or even more than okay as you’re back to doing house chores.
4) Picture frames
It seemed a good idea at the time to crack the glass in all of the cute couple pictures and hang them back on the wall as it made a ‘great metaphor’ but it’s time to swap them for pictures of flowers that you’ve printed off at work on the crappy printer and hang them in interesting frames. Maybe leave up one picture and casually dismiss it when your visitor questions why it’s still hanging above your sofa.
5) I’m okay
I know it’s the go-to phrase when people tilt their head to the side, stroke your arm and ask if you’re okay. Avoid it. People knows you don’t really mean it and they’ll just start asking more probing questions, and before you know it they’ve made you use up the last tissue in the house, and saying that they’ll be back tomorrow. You don’t want that – remember there’s a box-set that needs your attention. Either ‘I’m coping’ is a good phrase or ‘I’m taking each day as it comes’ will get you bonus points.
Those dried, shrivelled up carnations sitting in stagnant water with mould on the stems need to go in the bin as soon as possible. I know your ex-partner bought them to cheer you up. Your ex-partner left two weeks ago and so should have those flowers.
7) The blanket aka blanky
You can pretend that the blanky is a cape once your visitor has gone but for the time being it needs to go in the washing machine along with your jogging bottoms. Rolling it lengthways, pretending it is a doughy human and hugging your blanky isn’t healthy when visitors are sitting next to you on the sofa.
8) Your computer
Chain-reading your ex-partner’s dating profile until you know it by memory isn’t a skill to show off to any visitors and it’s definitely not a trait to boast about on your LinkedIn profile.