Tatiana

Tatiana has told all her friends that her new boyfriend is an actor. She keeps meaning to ask him what he’s been in – it has been nearly three months, after all – but somehow she just hasn’t got round to it yet. Anyway, he has another job for the moment – he sells cars, which is a bit cringey – she doesn’t like to think of him being all smarm and fake charm, but, as long as he doesn’t turn the charm on too thick when they’re together, she can cope with it.

Her friends, though, want to know. ‘Ask him what he’s been in,’ they protest. ‘Does he know Jude Law? Gillian Anderson? Can he get us cheap tickets for the National?’ They’re obnoxious like that, judgey. It doesn’t even occur to them that maybe he’s just been in more low-key stuff, stuff they might not even have heard of.

One night, they meet in the pub and, by the time she gets there, there’s already a glass of Prosecco on the table waiting for her. And he has one, too, that he’s nervously sipping from. None of these things are like him, and it occurs to Tatiana that he might be about to propose.

‘What are we celebrating?’ she asks, as she sits down. ‘I hope it’s something momentous!’ She’s trying to lighten the mood.

‘I got a part,’ he says, ‘A big one.’

‘Congratulations!’ she replies. ‘You didn’t tell Nr you were auditioning! Let me guess, you’re going to be … Macbeth!’

He laughs, deep and heartily, and she’s pleased she’s succeeded in cutting through the tension.

‘Not quite,’ he says, ‘but it is a lead role. I’m going to be one of the seven dwarfs in the village pantomime. I’ve got fifty-six lines to learn!’

Tatiana almost chokes on her drink. The village pantomime? What the fuck will she tell her friends? And would it be wrong to book a skiing holiday for that week and pretend it was in the diary before he found out?

Because she can forgive anything, anything but am dram.

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