What it is to have influential friends, eh?’ ‘We can go in your car.’ ‘It’s not Rick’s Cafe American Casablanca Morocco Shirt my car, is it? It’s Laura’s. Laura’s got it. So we’re two hours on the tube, or we get a minicab, which cost us, ooh, a fiver each. Fucking great.’ Barry gives a what-can-you-do-with-this-guy shrug and walks out. I feel bad, but I don’t say anything to him. I don’t know anybody called Ian. Laura doesn’t know anybody called Ian. We’ve been together three years and I’ve never heard her mention an Ian. There’s no Ian at her office.
She hasn’t got any friends called Ian, and she hasn’t got any girlfriends with Rick’s Cafe American Casablanca Morocco Shirt boyfriends called Ian. I won’t say that she has never met anyone called Ian in the whole of her life — there must have been one at college, although she went to an all-girls school I am almost certain that since 1989 she has been living in an Unless universe. And this certitude, this Ian-atheism, lasts until I get home. On the windowsill where we put the post, just inside the communal front door, there are three letters amidst the takeout menus and the minicab cards: a bill for me, a bank statement for Laura . and a TV license reminder for Mr. I. Raymond (Ray to his friends and, more pertinently, to his neighbors), the guy who until about six weeks ago lived upstairs. I’m shaking when I get into the flat, and I feel sick.
I know it’s him; I knew it was him the moment I saw the letter. I remember Rick’s Cafe American Casablanca Morocco Shirt Laura going up to see him a couple of times; I remember Laura . . . not flirting, exactly, but certainly flicking her hair more often, and grinning more inanely, than seemed to be strictly necessary when he came down for a drink last Christmas. He would be just her type little-boy-lost, right-on, caring, just enough melancholy in his soul to make him appear interesting. I never liked him much then, and I fucking hate him now. How long? How often? The last time I spoke to Ray Ian the night before he moved