It’s afternoon when I call by. His brother opens the door, eyes bloodshot. There is the solid tang of weed. In the kitchen six stoned boys are passing round a spliff. As habitual and present as furniture.
Joe is not there. Instead, beside his bed, is a can of pink Impulse, and a hairbrush, its bristles snagged with red hair.
His brother colours when I ask him.
‘You and she look the same,’ he says, ‘if that makes it any easier.’
It’s the first time I face infidelity and I take a much needed five minutes in the loo. I’ve ploughed my first year exams, cooked weekends away on the munchies. Flushed a year for a lie. How to collect myself?
Through in the kitchen I crouch amongst those clueless, and girl-less friends of his. Reaching in, I steal a drag as the joint circles past, and with the smoke blowing from the side of my mouth, scan the circle. Then leave, taking a piece of furniture with me.