Over the exam season, Polly and Andy had spent as much time together as they could do. It was becoming quickly apparently to Polly though, the closer to the summer heights it got, that something was wrong. Andy started being reticent, talking with nostalgia. Polly was trying to work out the reason, but she kept trying to push it to the back of her mind. The days after the exams, they spent all the time together, going out in the day to do whatever and keeping whoever was unlucky enough to be staying in overnight awake, surprising even Danny and Sophie. Polly’s faith had been restored and she was the happiest she’d been in a long time.
They were in bed together awake, cuddling, at a frankly unspeakable time.
“Wow. It’s about 4am!” Polly seemed impressed.
“Huh. Well, we could go for another round before it gets too late, I suppose.” Andy had prompted an extremely large, Cheshire cat-like grin about Polly’s face.
“I guess so. Could be done by 4? Keep it nice and quick?” They laughed, like only you could after an exchange like that. It was a laugh that prompted Andy to brush some of Polly’s hair back behind her ear and smile. Then they just lay there, smiling uncontrollably at each other, without saying a word, for about half an hour.
“So…come August… I’ll sort of be in China.” And then that hit. And Polly’s smile vanished. And Andy’s face became sour. “I wanted to tell you a few weeks ago, but we were both busy with exams and…”
“Weeks? You’ve known about this for weeks?!” Polly tried to be loud and angry, but could only muster quiet and upset.
“There was never going to be a good time to tell you this. I’m so, so sorry.” He brought his hand up to brush against her cheek, but she shied away from it, closed her eyes and tried not to cry.
“For…for how long?”
“A year. More, if it goes well. It’s a course for…”
“I don’t want to know! I don’t care about the reason!” She turned around in the bed.
“Yeah, I urrm, I understand.” He curled up when he saw that she had some tears down her face.
“No, you don’t. You have no idea. Christ, how could I have been so stupid!”
They laid there, with neither of them getting particularly any sleep, for another couple of hours well after the sun had rose. Andy quietly gathered his stuff and left. Polly just stayed there and thought about the situation. Rationally, as she tried to justify to herself, there was still time, they were a couple at least, but it would end. Why draw it out though? It could end that day, right there and then. By August, she could move on and Andy would just be a story she jokes to her friends about as they uneasily laugh with her. But if they kept on going? There was all the baggage that came with that. The unsettling feeling that the relationship was no longer built on affection, but time. It wouldn’t be time spent together, but time spent until they no longer were.
Polly spent the next few days not responding to any messages from Andy. She didn’t know how to, for starters. The decision to make was still being turned around in her head. Andy knew this, of course, which was why he didn’t push it any longer than he had. Three days after the conversation, Polly was just laid on top of her bed, not really thinking of anything when Nola walked in, looked around the room, made a guess at the reality of the situation and took the seat for Polly’s desk, turning it around, sitting on it and resting her head on top of her arms that were balanced on the top of the chair. She said nothing, just offering a smile of condolence any time Polly looked at her. She didn’t need to say anything, simply being there was what mattered. That was until Polly started weeping, when Nola rushed off the chair to Polly’s side and again, just sat with her.
As much as Polly tried to be pragmatic, she just couldn’t. “You’re also human. Remember that, Pol” Sophie insisted on one particularly dreary day, but it just didn’t work. She felt like she had been utterly betrayed. Two mistakes, so similar. Sure, Andy could’ve spoken up a little earlier, but to what end? It was not going to change the situation, not really. Polly was letting it change though. She was both in and out of control and she didn’t know how to deal with it. At the same time, the longer she spent undecided about what to do, the longer Andy was left out in the cold. He wanted to help Polly’s decision, one way or another, but he quickly realised his words would have little impact. It was all down to her now. It wasn’t as if Polly didn’t realise he was hanging on at the side too. The girls all responded to her asking if it was worth it carrying on and they all said yes, but it wasn’t enough. The whole world, even, was telling her one thing.
She wouldn’t accept it though. When that realisation hit her, she spoke to Andy on the phone and then that was that.
“Why are you stopping yourself from being happy?” Lucy dunked her biscuit into her hot chocolate.
“I deserve it.” Polly kept her head down.
“Again, why? You have months! That is a hell of a long time if you make the most of it. Think of what you gain in a day. You have a hundred of those. That’s no short amount of time, hun.”
“And then what? He goes, I’m left here, alone, quietly. It’s fighting the inevitable.” The sullen tones were bursting from her words.
“Instead, the next few months will be spent with both of you being upset, depressed and having memories reflecting that for this summer, instead of, you know, the happiness that you could have had from that time.” Lucy reached for another biscuit.
“Well I’ve done it now.”
“Yes, you have.”
[To the next entry: The Unlikeliest Of Kitchen Appliances]