-Do you know what you are??? (Liv screaming at him, infuriated and exhausted from all the drama). You are that little scrap of shit that you are trying to squeeze out when taking a dump but you can’t … and you have to jiggle it a bit as it dangles above the toilet seat … you know … in order to give it a little push … otherwise you are faced with the clear understanding that you will be walking all day with your panties dirty and a burning and itching asshole. And that is not a grown up thing to do, Mark! It is not a grown up thing! Grown ups are supposed to be able to clean after their own shit! I am supposed to be able to clean my own shit!!! I don’t want to go around all day with an itchy butt hole and dirty underwear. I don’t want this life. Do you have any idea how it feels to be painfully aware of the fact that someone else is the centre of your universe??? to willingly accept this and furthermore, to do everything that is in your power to advance, enhance and multiply this feeling??? no, you don’t!!!! Because I made you feel special and needed and wanted and desirable and … and … I created you, I subjected myself to your jealousy and possessiveness and to your disease.

I unconsciously and consciously agreed to submit to your toxicity, I waited for you to change, I …. I … I (deep breath) allowed my sheer existence to become secondary to whatever it was that you wanted or needed. I ignored the signs, I ignored the bruises, I ignored the venom that was growing inside of me, I became this pathetic, deplorable, stalking woman whose only happiness arises when the object of her desire “honours” her with its attention and passion and presence. I hated you and I loved you with the same intensity that a rabid dog bites one of its victims. I spent countless days and months wondering how can I change and what can I change about me that would make you love me more and want me more. I wrestled with my demons on my own while I was unloading onto you the toxic waste that was piling inside of me and that I was unable to process and that instead lead to the beatings, and the insults and the utter and complete satisfaction of knowing that I was just as able to hurt you as you were hurting me. (she starts crying) And I got lost, I wandered off from my own path and turned into this bitter, lousy loser who couldn’t see what was right in front of her. And trust me, I know, now I know that what we had was so common and so sickening and … I mean … we started out thinking that our love and deep connection would overcome anything … and yet somehow I ended up … do you remember that one time I told you that my ex’s penis is bigger than yours? and you started crying … and I enjoyed it … I felt good that I was able to make you cry because I was so tired of my own tears, of my own drama, I needed to bring you down, to see you hurt, and I relished it, then I felt sorry for saying such a stupid thing, for making you cry so I did the only thing I knew would help … I told you “let’s have sex, I’ll make you feel better, I will wash all my words away with my extensive knowledge of your body and sexual desires”. How fucked up is this, Mark??? why in the name of God did we let it go so far? and then the beatings started … just another one of the many ways in which we chose to destroy each other.

You couldn’t control your anger while I was unwilling to show obedience to your rules. And you exploded, on my dad’s one year anniversary of his death you were in a club dancing and having fun while I was alone at home … I went mad that night, I begged and I cried for your attention, I had hoped that you would care enough about me to not let me be alone and miserable. I came to the club and … well … we both know what happened next, we got home and we fought and I unleashed the beast that we both had created, spewing vitriol and engaging in fist fights until you knocked me down and started to hit me with your feet … crouched on the floor, swollen and bruised I cried asking for your forgiveness … because that’s what women do when their boyfriends refuse to show compassion and empathy towards them, that’s what women do when their boyfriends beat them and turn into a savage animal … they ask for fuckin’ forgiveness!!! Three years had gone by, three years and nothing had changed, we grew more and more accustomed to hurting each other and lost sight of how manic and dysfunctional our relationship was. The sex was great, though. Best ever! apparently guilt forces one into some passionate, steamy, uninhibited sex. I’m almost sure that this is what kept us together for so long, we needed to release our anger and frustrations towards each other through sex. What we gained in exchange were a couple of hours of happiness and free-flowing endorphins that would magically erase the previously experienced tension. Basic chemistry, right? It’s just that … there was nothing basic about how we communicated  and interacted … I mean we did communicate and we did get along very well in the beginning, however, we slowly and gradually stopped listening to each other, we stopped seeing each other as human beings … we become each other’s punching bag. I hid from everyone, you did the same, in public we were a normal couple … (ironical tone) …whatever normal means these days.

So here we are today, older and wiser, apparently. I have to get away from you if I want to have a sane life, if I want to be sane. You are not good for me! you do not respect me! and I don’t blame you, I showed you that I don’t respect myself. I helped you convince yourself of that. I never stood by what I said I was going to do: one day – “I wanna break up”, two hours later – “let’s cook something, let’s go out, let’s make love”; the next day – “I hate you, you are hurting me, I need you to work with me and not against me, why are you so angry with me???” like I said, I don’t blame you. I didn’t know how to be mature, I believed I was doing the right thing by trying to fix something that was unfixable. And I am so so sorry, I am sorry that I hurt you, I wish I had known better, but most importantly I am sorry that I went at war with myself. That I went against everything I stood for, somehow trying to convince myself that I was this version of me that I knew you needed … while all along I was growing apart from me … creating a crater between who I was and who I had to be. That’s why  I don’t need you in my life, that’s why I need to be as far away as possible from you. I am no longer at war with myself, I might be going through some sort of peace treaty, we are still figuring out the details and points of discussion but I have one thing clear – every bit of me is focused, maybe for the first time ever, towards my psychological well-being. I have no desire to fight, to concoct strategies and devious plans to get you to be with me, to notice me. I am so tired of that. I am exhausted from running in the wrong direction. I realised how much I was fighting with windmills. There is nothing chivalrous and noble in trying to convince someone to love you. There is nothing to be gained in trying to change someone and force your will upon them. It took me so long to see this, it took me so long to let go of you or better put of my idealistic projection of you. I deserve so much better … you deserve … I don’t really know what you deserve, honestly. All I know is that I am beginning to learn how to clean after myself and it will take time. I take full responsibility for what I did and I accept the consequences. I will learn to live with them, and I am learning to live without you!

Doing Catherine de Medici justice

(inside Liv’s home)

-Girls, we NEED to talk. I mean … we have to address the latest developments. Well, I have to address them because I am the one who is trying to make sense of them.

-What’s to understand, Liv? you finally found yourself a decent and caring man. And he happens to make you orgasmicaly happy, enjoy this, relish it and stop overthinking it!

-You are absolutely right, it’s just I have never ever felt anything like this. I mean, sexually, oh dear Lord of mine, he is just P-E-R-F-E-C-T!!! We just connect and … we feel each other perfectly and I am perfectly aware that I am over using the word “perfect” but it does justice to the current situation. He is my kind of perfect!! and his penis, whoaaa, out of this freakin’ world … the things it does (stumbling on words) … it’s a piece of art!!! a piece of fine art!! the best art there is out there!!! (everyone’s laughing). Honest to God, I don’t know if it’s because I haven’t had any in a while or because he’s the first man I started having feelings for in a number of years, but I just find myself remembering that scene in “Sex and the City” when Samantha describes Richard’s penis and I finally get what the woman was trying to say.

-OK, we get it. He has a penis and he knows how to work his way around it!

-True, true, yet incomplete. I do believe the me having feelings for him contributes to my current state of mind. And to revert to the art part of it one more time, trust me, Catherine de Medici would come back from the dead and become a patron saint of his dick!!! that’s how much of a piece of art that thing is!!!

(everyone bursts out laughing)

Perspective/ projections

-Oh, she was the sweetest person you’d ever meet. Stubborn like a mule but with a good heart and kind spirit. Opinionated, always wanted to have the last word, not exactly adept at the adult game … you know … she had so much potential in her … try as she might, she would always come across as immature and unfit for a grown-up. She was my daughter, mind you! I gave birth to her, I nurtured her, I watched her become a woman yet she never really peaked. She would be in such a continuous state of … how should I put it … (long pause) she was never a disappointment, don’t get me wrong, well … maybe except for that one time, it’s just that … I just wish she could have got married and have kids and build a home and be a wife and mother and care for her own. She just adored children, I tell you! ever since she was 5 or 6 she would just go and hug and play with all the kids on the playground. It was as if she fed off their energy and felt the desire to offer her love to all the other children.

-She was incredibly assertive. It took her a while to get there, therapy helped her, but she was the most sincere and honest person I know. She was my best friend, my good friend, my companion, my confidante and the human I would always turn to because I knew she would never judge. Well, maybe except for that one time …. I just can’t wrap my head around the thought that she is gone. It is just impossible to comprehend how such an amazing and optimistic soul is no longer a resident of this planet. She had such a wicked sense of humour, my God, we understood each other effortlessly, she would always laugh at my jokes and we would always watch the same TV shows. All our pop culture references, all our inside puns, the way she would say “I’m here, no matter what, I got your back, just be careful and know that I love you no matter what!” … I just can’t process that, my compassionate, loving, unique best friend is gone!

-The best co-worker you could have asked for, seriously. Though it did take some time for her to open up, I always knew she was a sweet, smart girl with a heart of gold. She really loved her mother and treasured her friends. She would talk non-stop about them, she was so proud of them and relished their happiness and good fortunes. Always ready to lend a hand, maybe boastful on occasions but just in the right dose. Analytical and understanding of the concept of “space”. Such a loss, I will miss her terribly.

-My sister was one of the smartest people I know. She helped with my homework when we were kids, taught me some basic rules about what is right and wrong and just … it’s just hard to put into words how much I will miss her. I just wish I could have known her better, I knew she was going through a transition period and I figured out I would have plenty of time to spend with her and pick her brains after she got her shit sorted out and now ….

-Hi, everyone. The truth is the deceased was someone who loved you all very much but she also had some issues with you folks.

-Wait, who are you? and why do you speak like this about someone who can’t defend herself? how did you know her?

-I’m her therapist.

-Oh, so YOU are the therapist. And what makes you think you knew my daughter so well?

-For starters, she always talked to me about everything that was on her mind. She was trying to understand her life, her decisions, her path. She was confused and scared and uncertain about many aspects of her existence. She never wanted to make you upset, she was a devoted daughter but she wished you would see her for who she was. She was much more brave than what you gave her credit for, she was a bright young girl with a very active imagination and an even more active self doubt. She could definitely take care of herself and be an independent individual. I can’t tell you the number of times she showed you just how well you trained her for adulthood. You just did not want to see it and that caused much pain to her. She had her tools for dealing with life and was very proud of the friendships she had made. She never took for granted her friends, loved spending time with you and making you laugh. She felt seen, appreciated, and understood by you but at times she felt she needed to get away from you and just be alone and left alone. Yes, she loved all of you dearly, she might not always showed you this in a comprehensible way but she adored the time spent in your presence. She said it was the way she recharged. She was definitely proud of her brother and of the man he turned up to be yet she felt a bit isolated from him and did not know how to bridge that gap. I am so very sorry for the pain you are faced with right now and all I ask is that you think of her as someone who needed to be around humans, positive humans, good humans, people who share the same values as her but most importantly people who do not judge her, who do not say to her “I just had other expectations from you” or “I think you need more time to grow up”. We all need time to grow up and as we take the time to do that, let’s not forget that we are all doing our best. Ella did her best with the life that was given to her and it’s a shame life was cut short for her and we are all left with the horrible question of “I wonder what she would be like today, I wonder if she would be proud of the life she made for herself”.

Latin brings people together

(The group of friends is outside once again for a cigarette break. Mark, whose curiosity over the woman with the sexy laughter has only grew bigger, is also in front of the pub enjoying a smoke break).

-You’re a grown ass 36 year-old man, Tim, what the hell are you doing on Snapchat?!?! (Liv can be heard saying). You know you’re this close to statutory rape, don’t you?

-Well, not everyone is as proficient as you in avoiding opposite sex interaction, my dear.

-I don’t avoid it … come on, I might occasionally be completely oblivious to it, but it is not something I do on purpose, at least I don’t think so.

-When’s the last time you went on a date, Olivia?

-Hmmm, let me see, starts counting on her fingers, 8 or 9 months ago.

-Dear Lord, whaaaat?

-Well, all my friends are married, with children or on their way to having children. I mostly spend time with responsible adults whose lives are pretty much settled. I don’t hang around single people anymore and at this age it is kinda hard to make new friends, seriously. Plus, I like my old friends and it’s not like single and ready to mingle people fall off from the sky.

-Excuse me, I don’t mean to bother you (man with a thick Spanish accent interferes) but could you please tell me how can I reach Covent Garden?

Olivia starts speaking to him in Spanish and points him in the right direction. As they wave goodbye to each other she keeps a smile on her face and turns back to her friends.

-Oh, God, you’re such a sucker for accents, aren’t you? (Emma, Liv’s friend, comments)

-What?!?! why would you say that?

-Well, isn’t it obvious? you fawned all over that guy just because he was speaking Spanish. You never lose an opportunity to show your Spanish skills and you bask in the moment when they tell you you sound like a native. I mean you were practically flirting with the guy, smiling and giggling and wanting to know what part of Spain he’s from and how much of a sangria fan he is.

-I wasn’t flirting with the guy, I was just being polite! that wasn’t flirting, was it?!?!

-Oh, please, if given the opportunity, you would start reciting Latin just to showcase your knowledge of the dead language.

-Oh, yeah, I’m sure there are plenty of men who are just dying to meet a woman who speaks Latin cause that really makes them go weak in the knees (Olivia imagines a conversation between a man and a woman as she drinks another glass of whiskey): “So, tell me something most people don’t know about you, my dear.” “Well … I can speak Latin, and I can also recite parts from Titus Livius’ Ab Urbe Condita.” “Woaaa, that is such a turn on, do tell more!” … trust me, it would be much easier to pick up a guy if I were to tell him the pearls of wisdom taught by my Lord and Saviour, Sandra Bullock (imagines another conversation as she’s finishing the fifth glass of whiskey, this time using a much softer and sexy tone of voice): “So, listen, I know we’re just getting to know each other but I just think you should be aware of the fact that I can bend like a pretzel!!!!”

Everyone bursts into loud laughter and Emma asks Olivia:

-Honey, are you drunk?

-Honey, I’m so drunk I could drown Liechtenstein!!!

Mark finally decides to introduce himself to the lively group and approaches Olivia.

-Good evening, I couldn’t help but notice that you have quite a wicked sense of humour and I would just like to have it known that I would very much enjoy initiating a flirtatious conversation with you. This being said, I am Mark. Good to meet you!

Wisdom imparted via way of abstinence

(outside a pub, a group of friends laughing and talking, Liv is happy to be with them and is having a great time)

– I’m telling you, some women just don’t deserve an erect dick! they just don’t!

(laughter erupts when he walks by the group, looks at Liv and seems amused by what he has just heard. He is lighting up a cigarette close to the group, intrigued by Liv. He is taking his time to analyse her, albeit discretely)

-Well, I believe you have a point there, my sweet perverted friend. (Jason replies)

-No, seriously, it is a shame that some women just mess up men and then complain about sex. They just don’t know what to do or how to approach the penis. I may not be the best person to impart wisdom about this matter, granted, given that it’s been so long that I hardly remember how one looks like, however I do remember never taking it for granted.

(laughter again)

-Whoooaa, Liv, honey, I think we need to get you reacquainted with a dick! you are the only one responsible for your current situation, let’s not forget about this. Plus, thankfully, in the 21st century one can enjoy the pleasure offered by a vibrator, no man attached to it, no muss, no fuss. (Emma interferes)

– No, no, no, no, I like my dick with some meat on it, darling! (everyone bursts out laughing). Always had, always will! no superficial, chemically fabricated appliances for this gal! (Liv finishes her cigarette and takes a sip out of her whiskey glass)

(Mark has been standing there all throughout the conversation, talking to his friends, eavesdropping on the amusement taking place nearby. ” I think I like this girl” he says to himself. “Her laughter is really sexy and infectious and she does seem quite uninhibited. She is also very attractive.” Just at this very moment Liv decides to go inside and he rapidly opens the door for her as he is standing right next to it. He looks at her and receives confirmation instantly. “She really is beautiful by my own standards. Beautiful and funny.”

-Danke, Sir! Liv tells him as she goes inside the pub.