She had known all her life, he now realised, that she was quite incorrect in quite so many things.
And he now realised he had realised this all the time he had known her.
And if he’d never quite done what he’d ever wanted – if he’d never gone and broken with her, as she had always never quite broken with him – it was precisely because like some human Berlin Wall, as soon as one brick of her fell the whole of her life would then utterly fall.
And so she had been the dividing line between existence on the one side and true joy on quite the other.
And we all know what happened to the Berlin Wall in the end.
Brick by brick, rock by rock, slab by slab it did collapse.
And so in the face of her own wider rejection all round, he suddenly feared her quite fragile state of mind. He suddenly saw what he’d feared all this time, what had stopped him from living his own life to the full.
She’d made him feel responsible for her happiness all told. And what a narrative of Spanish pain did rain again and again on his plain of unconsummated insanity.
So dusty and dry, this surviving on unanswered whys.
So dusty and dry it had been.
And now it was ending – and where would it go? What could he do to protect her from herself?
What could he do but remain a dead man himself?
What might he – finally! – go and have to stoop to instead?
Nothing too noble was clearly now his fate. Nothing in time at all: actually, everything too late …