If you have to make a point of asking “How are you two?” at the start of every conversation with him, my faith in your behaviour does somewhat falter, I must admit. I thought you were a safe one. You almost had me convinced. You did, in fact, for a while. Your practised eye-averts when he’d come into the room. Practised disinterest. Choosing outfits that weren’t too flattering. Letting your hair down in that natural, effortless way. Making a point of doing it here. On our sofa. Wearing it up in a lazy bun with an everyday hairband, and then letting it down. Letting us know you were relaxed, comfortable, clearly no ill intentions and no mask, no performance. Nothing you were trying to gain. Very nice touch, asking him about himself. His hobbies. Nicely enunciated apathy. I wonder if it ever happened. If it changed. If you were, at any point, truly disinterested. And if that changed for my benefit. For the sake of our friendship. Or naturally, but platonically. Or if you’re just another one of those, now. One I have to watch. Listen out for. Keep at a safe distance. One that, if I didn’t, would probably end up alone on the same nights as him, ‘popping’ round for a bit of company and chat about me, as your common interest, obviously helping your argument that it was completely harmless – Let’s talk about how much we both love her, then she can’t complain and no one would even know. I don’t ever have to give anything away – and ending up slightly cramped for space on that big, comfy sofa, toes overlapping, until one of you decided you were in need of a shoulder rub. I know I can’t keep an eye on him all the time. But you, you can check yourself. I know you won’t. You can’t help yourself. He can’t. But it’s not about him. When did it stop being about me? I’m sure you’re very genuine, but keep your love to yourself, love.

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