Gazing out the window though the heavy, autumnal drizzle, Zoe reviewed the facts. John was gone. Her family weren’t talking to her. Her life lay in ruins around her. But why could she not bring herself to care? Of course she cared, in an objective sense, but she didn’t really feel anything. Just…. Kind of… numb…. Walking a tightrope between mild apathy and complete, debilitating exhaustion.

Oh look. A soggy crow. Maybe it was worth dragging myself to the window after all, she mused.

It wasn’t like it was all her fault anyway. Yes, she’d shagged Phil, but who has the right to be that good looking, and that available. And if John hadn’t been so bloody obsessed with renovating that campervan. Yes Zoe had begged for it. And I mean BEGGED. She’d whined, and implored, and at one point even paused, mid blow-job, to look up at him, lips slightly parted, and murmured beseechingly, ‘imagine our Instagram feeds… we’d be like those cool hippie types, but less smelly’.

Pulling herself up from the window-seat, Zoe wandered over to the mirror. Urgh, she looked like a panda. She’d tried a new makeup tutorial the night before but had gotten too tired and dozed off with her eyeliner and mascara still on. Another fretful night of tossing and turning and the black smears had covered her face and her pillows. Though actually, she thought, tilting her chin to her chest and looking up, a slight pout to her lips, maybe the tragic melted goth look was working for her today. She reached for her phone, angled her elbows in slightly to lift her breasts, and snapped a selfie. It was then that she saw the message.

‘Call me’.

Those two words. Her heart skipped a beat. But what would she say to him? He’d left in tears, crying ‘how can I lie to John? He’s my only brother’.

A wave of malaise battered against the nervous fluttering in Zoe’s stomach, and she moved from the dresser to the bed. She had always been a night owl, but these sleepless nights and exhausted empty days were taking their toll. She didn’t even have the energy to post that self-pitying photo on Instagram. Laying down, she dropped into a fitful slumber, once again.

Later. How much later, who could say. Dragging herself to the shower, Zoe stood, despondent, in the heat and steam. Too depressed even to cry, to wash, to wank. Wrapped in a towel, she returned to her sweaty, unmade bed, and pulled the duvet around herself, shivering. Reaching for her phone, another message flashed up.


Then another…

‘Zoe… we need to talk’.

Pulling the duvet over her head, Zoe closed her eyes once again, to exhausted even to berate him for his fucking honesty.

Outside, the drizzle continued. Grey. Damp. Featureless.

Zoe awoke in the early hours of the morning. Unrefreshed, but wide awake, she reached, habitually, for her phone. Opening Instagram, intending to share her ‘sexy-panda’ selfie from earlier, there was Phil. Gorgeous Phil, hugging a beautiful smiling blond, ring finger extended, diamond glittering.