And so it goes something like this…
Grace: what’s wrong?
Olivia: I’m not sure
Grace: well you must know, you’ve been fussing like a bear with a sore head
Olivia: sore head? I thought it was a bear with a sore paw?
Grace: really – I don’t think so? Anyway, matters not – something’s not right. You’re not leaving until you tell me
Olivia: well I have to catch my train in 30 minutes or else I’ms stuck here for the night
Grace: well you’ve got 20 minutes to tell me what’s wrong
[Olivia sighs and picks up her cup of hot chocolate, fiddles with her napkin wriggles uncomfortably in her seat and looks desperately around the room. There are no distractions]
Olivia: well… I am not sure i am in the right relationship anymore.
Grace: how do you mean?
Olivia: well I want different things now?
Grace: different things – I don’t understand – I thought things were fine with you and Mr. Loves young dream and all that stuff.
Olivia: I’m not young anymore – I want to settle down – have a family, be normal
Grace: there is no such thing as normal. Anyway should you not be having this conversation with Mr ? What do you talk about – if not that?
Olivia: well we have talked about a few times and he says we might get married and we might have children. I did not want to put him under pressure….
Grace: oh! And what exactly is he waiting for? What happens when you are too old to have children and he trades you in for someone younger and more fertile?
[Olivia puts her head in her hands and whispers]
Olivia: I don’t know.
Grace: how did you come to be going out with such a prize anyway?
Olivia: we just met – online and clicked in real life.
Grace: didn’t you know at the beginning that this might be a problem?
Olivia: at the beginning , I had been single for 10 years, at the beginning I was so lonely I was crying myself asleep at night. At the beginning , I was so grateful for companionship from someone who actually liked me and I liked back, that well…the end was not an issue. I might have vaguely thought about it but I was just so glad not to be lonely that it swamped any rational practical thoughts.
Grace: so do you actually like this guy?
Olivia: yes, I do. I feel more myself when I am with him, than with anybody else. I like being with him. I like talking with him. I like listening to him. I love just being in his presence. He’s kind, he is decent, he is funny. He has principles and sticks to them. He makes me want to be better.. I am happy when I am with him.
Olivia: no he is far from perfect. He is forgetful, he can be impatient and lazy. He can drive me to distraction with some of his opinions.
Grace: well you need to speak to him, no point brewing….Do your family like him?
Olivia: my parents have met him and are not interested – don’t think he is a good match for me
Grace: Ahh…ahh… I see…? And why do they think this?
Olivia:Major differences in career (or lack of one), finances, culture and race. I’m too good for him- apparently.
Grace: and what do you think?
Olivia: well I was acutely aware of all these things from day one but somehow it never bothered me enough put me off. I think I just concentrated on him as a person and ignored the differences. I think I concentrated on the fact that we both appeared comfortable in each others presence. I think I was just concentrating on making somebody happy and making myself happy. I think I just thought it will be alright in the end…
Grace: Hmm. What do his friends think of you?
Olivia:I don’t know – I’ve never met them.
Grace:Oh. what do your friends think him?
Olivia: I don’t know. They have never met him.
Grace: hmm. Don’t you think that’s a little unusual? How long have you been seeing each other?
Olivia: 9 months…
Grace: Hmm. Why do you think that is?
Olivia: not sure – if I am being honest – I am not sure that our friends would have anything in common. But that maybe a presumption on my part!
Olivia: but I just cannot imagine being with anybody else. I don’t want to be with anybody else. I just wish the circumstances around us would change for the better.
Grace: what do his family think of you?
Olivia: I don’t know – I have not met them – …yet?
Grace: Olivia – that’s one weird relationship that you have going on there.
Olivia: I know. But when it’s the two of us – the rest of the world fades away
Grace: Olivia, you cannot live in that kind of bubble forever
Olivia: I have to go now – my train is coming
Grace: I’ll call you – we need to talk- you need to talk to Mr