Helen broke up with Walt and he took it, in typical fashion, boringly. She explained that they simply weren’t right for each other and that they would be much happier apart. Walt didn’t appear to care at all, which pretty much seemed on brand for him. The most exciting part of their break-up was when Helen told Priscilla, Iggy, Jacklyn, and Sybil about it afterward. The five of them had gone out for dinner, primarily because none of them had food to make their own dinner or wanted to be at home. Helen was there for the latter reason, as was Jacklyn, who was trying her best to be kind to her roommate Jocelyn and finding that that involved a fair amount of time spent apart.
“I broke up with Walt,” Helen informed the table.
“Fucking finally,” was Priscilla’s rather candid response. Helen narrowed her eyes at her. It was not exactly the sympathetic or emotionally comforting response she’d been hoping for.
“I’ve noticed that you’re quite a bit gentler when it comes to Jemima’s relationship concerns,” she remarked loftily.
“Yes,” Priscilla agreed.
“Which one was Walt again?” Iggy asked. Helen narrowed her eyes at her as well. Iggy knew. She was only asking to make Helen explain that she had been dating two different men, one of whom had the face of a squished badger.
“You know damn well,” she returned.
“I do know damn well,” Iggy agreed, nodding and smiling pleasantly. “But I also want to hear you explain it.”
“You people are clearly evil,” Helen told them.
“I mean, I haven’t said anything,” Sybil pointed out, picking at her salad. “But I do think you’re ridiculous and that it took you about a hundred years too long to break up with him. The majority of his teeth were on one side of his face.”
“That’s your reason?” Helen asked dubiously. “I think you need to gain some perspective.”
“You say that, but if you two had had children, they would’ve looked like ponies,” Sybil returned. “Tell me that wouldn’t have bothered you.”
Helen narrowed her eyes at her.
“So you agree with me,” Sybil concluded.
“That’s not what I said,” Helen retorted.
“You might as well have,” Priscilla cut in unhelpfully.
Helen had decided that Nicholas was the man for her. He was intelligent, mature, and he looked pretty good in a turtleneck.
“It’s a difficult look to pull off,” Helen told Tallulah.
“Not if you look like Jeff Goldblum,” was Tallulah’s response.
Nicholas took Helen out to dinner at a very upscale bistro where people were expected to buy a bottle of overpriced French wine for the table. Nicholas did just that, even going so far as to order in French. It was pretentious, but Helen was secretly quite impressed nonetheless. She had worn he very best dress, the expensive one that had still cost far too much on sale. She’d bought it two years previously to attend a charity gala thrown by her ex-boyfriend Evan’s company. Her official party line was that she hadn’t worn it since due to the painful memories it brought up, but it was actually mostly just because she had very few occasions to wear it. Helen felt very classy sitting across from Nicholas, drinking fancy French wine in her fanciest dress.
And then Nicholas broke up with her. He waited until after dinner, after he’d paid for her butternut squash ravioli and the wine. He told her he just didn’t think it was going to work out in the long run because they were at different stages of their life. They wanted different things and he didn’t want to hold her back. As far as break-ups went, it wasn’t the worst Helen had endured. For one thing, he hadn’t cheated on her with his secretary like a porno cliché. She marvelled in the fact that Nicholas was managing to break up with her in the classiest of ways. It was nearly impressive. She wasn’t sure she was even that upset about it because he was doing it so well.
And then he told her she was immature and she felt significantly less great about it.
After dinner, Helen went directly to Priscilla’s where she found Priscilla and Rosalyn watching some Japanese show with subtitles. Tallulah was sitting on one of the end couch, rolling her eyes at the TV, and Sybil was sitting on the floor, texting and not even bothering with the television at all.
“Nicholas broke up with me,” Helen announced, startling Priscilla and Rosalyn, who were very engrossed in the show. Priscilla reached for the remote and paused the show before turning to look at Helen as she walked into the living room.
“Sorry, man,” she offered. Rosalyn kept looking back and forth between Priscilla and the TV in horror, like she didn’t think Helen’s personal crisis was a good enough reason to pause the show.
“He said I was immature,” Helen continued, still outraged.
“Well that’s absolutely true,” Tallulah cut in very unhelpfully. Helen glared at her.
“Please don’t ever work at, like, a suicide prevention centre,” Helen told her. “People will be dropping like flies all over the place.”
Tallulah rolled her eyes.
“I only meant that he’s basically a hundred,” she explained dismissively.
“He’s forty-six,” Helen returned flatly.
“Yeah, that’s what I said,” Tallulah grinned at her. Helen glared at her again.
“Anyway,” she said loudly, slumping down on the couch between Tallulah and Priscilla. “Now I’m alone again.”
“Oh, that’s not true,” Sybil said without looking up from her phone, reaching a hand back to pat Helen’s knee. “You have your grandfather and his knitting-obsessed girlfriend.”
Helen glared at the back of her head as well, but it was just as ineffectual on Sybil as it was on Tallulah.
“What do I have to do to get you people to be as nice to me about my relationship problems as you are to Jemima?” She asked, looking around the room.
“You can’t compete,” Priscilla told her. “Jemima’s like a tiny woodland creature in a Disney film. She’s too precious for this world. She gets confused so easily. That’s why she’s been trying to date the same man with very little success for, like, a year and a half.”
“He looks like Liza Minelli,” Sybil chimed in. Priscilla nodded.
“And while you may have dated someone with the crooked teeth of a beaver, at least you actually managed to date him,” Priscilla continued. Helen got the impression it was meant to be comforting, but she was having a hard time working out how exactly.
“Thank you?” She replied uncertainly, cocking her head questioningly to the side.
“You’re welcome,” Priscilla told her before unpausing the show much to Rosalyn’s great pleasure.