At first he was afraid, he was petrified…

Oh, Proust*. Darling, sit down. I’ll make tea. No, wait, hot chocolate. And cake. I know I’ve been a bit mean about you before, but what you’ve been through, oh man, believe me, millions of us have, too.

Firstly, I’d have done exactly what you did. For a seventeen-or-so year old, you did well, managing to hide all your crazy from Gilberte. There are forty year-olds out there standing in the street, at 3 a.m, in tear and wine-stained clothes, calling up at the windows of those who have dumped them, so you did well.

When you began to suspect she was snubbing you, cooling your attitude and ignoring her was very likely what I’d have done. Trying to win people back over with declarations of love never works, it just pushes them farther away. I’m not sure I’d have been as snappy as you, commenting how you through the clock was slow as a way of hinting to her that her company was boring you, but then you were hurt, and could feel your bond dying.

Resolving not to call on her was wise. As well as writing lots of letters that wouldn’t be sent, getting out all your hurt, love and hate out onto paper. You should be grateful that in your day, you didn’t have texting, and the curse of instant messaging.

I absolutely understand why you still wanted contact with her mother, in the hope you would hear what Gilberte was doing, and also wishing that your name would be mentioned to Gilberte, and something would stir inside of her. Also I absolutely get why the absence of a customary new year letter, particularly hurt, as it was the last occasion for her to remember you, and you had built up so much hope that there would be a note from her.

I too, would have never wanted her to know I was hurting, and that I missed her with sharp, bitter feelings, so I understand why when she did finally invite you to call, you would happily accept in a nonchalant fashion as if you weren’t upset at all, and then cancel as if it was nothing, in the hope that absence would make her heart grown fonder. But it didn’t. Like always, she only really wanted you when you’d got over her.

I’m so sorry, I know how much it really hurts. And in a way, it’s worse when you were never really with the person. When a long-term relationship breaks down, you can comfort yourself with their bad points, and know you gave it a go. You never really got the chance with Gilberte, she was a princess in your head that you never won. However, judging by what comes later on, and the opinion of historians, you are actually gay, so you really were better off without the vain and flightly Gilberte. Now, let’s get you some new clothes, a gym membership, and download you a playlist of break-up songs, because although it doesn’t feel like it now, you will survive, and everybody hurts..

*I know, it’s not technically an autobiography, and it’s supposed to be a nameless character, but we all know it’s pretty much him. This is Marie de Bernardaky, a playmate of Proust’s, she is believed to be the person the character of Gilberte is modelled on, and who in real life ended up marrying a prince. Ouch.