‘It won’t do any good,’ says Ruby morosely. ‘Nothing does any good. You fall in love with someone and they leave you and you feel like dying. You meet their friends in the street and you tell them how unhappy you are and you hope this news will get back to your ex-lover and they’ll take pity on you. Or else you meet their friends in the street and you tell them you’re having a great time and you hope this news will get back to your ex-lover and make them jealous. You think about things you could have done and what you would do differently if you had the chance, you wait for the phone or the doorbell to ring, you hang around the fringe of conversations hoping to hear some snippet of information about how they are.
‘You can write poems and send them or not send them, you can turn up drunk at their home and plead with them to come back or turn up drunk and pretend you don’t give a damn, you can send flowers or love notes or a few intellectual books, you can discuss it endlessly with your friends till they’re sick of the sight of you, you can think about it all day and all night, imagining that somehow your mental power will win them back, you can sit on your own and cry or go out and make yourself frantically busy. You can think about killing yourself and warmly imagine how sorry they’ll be after you do it, you can think about going on a trip round the world and probably when you get back you’d still hope to run into them on the street. You can do anything at all and none of it is any good. It is completely pointless. Lovers never come back. You can’t influence them to do it and you would realise this if you weren’t so dementedly unhappy all the time.’