Getting Rid of Matthew

Getting Rid of Matthew by Jane Fallon Read Free Book Online

Book: Getting Rid of Matthew by Jane Fallon Read Free Book Online
Authors: Jane Fallon
Tags: Fiction, General
conversation. She's just not very good at it, sorry.") Somewhere in there he threw in their dwindling sex life, the pressure on him to succeed, and, bizarrely, her taste in work clothes. ("Frumpy," he'd shouted. "What the fuck's it got to do with you what I wear to work," she'd screamed back. "You hardly look like you've stepped off the cover of GQ .")
    Sophie had only ever seen him like this once before and that was when she'd first told him she was pregnant with Suzanne, just under thirteen years ago. He'd spluttered and raged about never wanting to go through fatherhood again. He'd been there, done it, fucked it up. He'd told her he didn't want to feel tied down by children and obligations and nappies and parents' evenings. The highlight of the whole episode was when he added that he didn't want to have to go through another pregnancy watching the woman he loved expand like a hot-air balloon. He loved her body, he said, as if that was going to endear him to her; he didn't want to watch it disintegrate.
    A few weeks later, completely out of nowhere, he'd suddenly started to throw himself into the pregnancy—a bit too much, to be honest—wanting to discuss what was going on inside of her with anyone who'd listen. He'd helped her plan the birth ("No, Matthew, I don't want to lie naked in a paddling pool with you and the midwife in there in your swimming costumes, I want to go into a hospital and be given lots of drugs") and he'd held her hand throughout the event itself, and breathed with her, and timed her contractions, and generally gotten in the way. Two years later, when she'd told him she was expecting again, he'd whooped and hollered and picked her up and swung her around the kitchen.
    This time, though, there were no cups of tea and tearful regrets in the morning, just a silence which remained intact despite Sophie's best efforts to puncture it, and the odd, unsettling, guilty looks he kept throwing her way when he thought she wasn't looking.
    * * *
    Helen passed the next few days ignoring her phone (missed calls from Matthew, eight; messages left, three) and making more lists. "Reasons to leave Matthew" stretched to three and a half pages. "Reasons to stay with Matthew" was pitifully short, containing as it did just three entries:
    1. He says he loves me.
    2. He can be funny.
    3. Who else am I going to go out with?
    After she'd written number three she'd burst into tears, because it was truly one of the most pathetic things she had ever seen.
    * * *
    On the second night, she went to bed early and woke up listening to her mousy upstairs neighbors having very noisy sex again. The woman (Helen didn't even know her name, this being London) was putting on a particularly spectacular performance. Not many words today, it was all oohs and aahs , like an appreciative audience at a pantomime. "He's behind you!" Helen wanted to shout. She lay there for a while, trying to decide whether she thought it was genuine or not, and came down on the side of not. It was too depressing to think otherwise.
    On the third night, Helen stayed in, had a large glass of wine, and thought about her situation. It was the longest time she had gone without speaking to Matthew for the whole of their relationship, and with distance, the entire thing was starting to look like a bit of a farce. Years of his rigid schedule, her fitting in with him, him canceling, her acquiescing, him panicking, her backing off.
    As she poured glass two, she was wondering what the point of the last four and a bit years had been. Four years ago she was thirty-five—young, she now realized—she could have met someone, married them, and had two children by now if she hadn't taken herself out of the running. (Not that she wanted children, although they somehow always crept into her perfect life fantasy with Matthew, more as a means of ensuring his full attention and devotion than anything else. In that fantasy, there was definitely a full-time nanny—old and haggard and

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