They probably think we’ll walk out of Wetherspoons, mutter something about the food, and then one of us will stop and say we need to talk. They’ll imagine our hands have fallen out of each other’s and will be stuffed awkwardly into our pockets tonight, both blaming the frost. They probably think that means something too: a sign that things have soured, like the half-eaten lemon cheesecake you push around your plate, the bitter rind sprinkled on top.
At the next table, they glance over when they think we won’t notice, eyes flicking back and forth, reading what they believe is there. They probably interpret our silence as us having nothing left to say to each other, as us having got together too young when we were at Bangor University, both studying music, both pretending to hate the same things, which neither of us hated, only now admitting that Taylor Swift is a really clever lady. Too late by this point, four years too late, they think. All conjecture, this, but they have that judgmental look about them.
I stand, scrape my chair back, put on my coat, and stuff my hands awkwardly into my pockets.
‘Shall we go?’ I say.
You nod, silently, and rise also. You pick up your wine glass and down the remnants.
Those at the other table look away quickly when they realise they’ve been caught. Their Yorkshire puddings start to fascinate them. They add showers of salt, puddles of muddy gravy. Who are they fooling, the smug middle-aged couple with their probing eyes? What makes them so special? They probably think you and I are going to walk out of here and say this isn’t working anymore and maybe we aren’t right for each other and never were. But what do they know?