The end of the affair

Will Milner's got the takeaway blues

The Knowledge

Will Milner has a funny feeling deep inside him. It might just be an empty stomach.

Confusion, regret, loss – a break-up is never easy. It hurts. But this time I am feeling it all at the same time. And I don’t know what to do.

Things were so perfect between us and I don’t want it to be over. I want more. Every night I stare at my phone. It never rings and I know it never will. I have to be the one to make the first call. It was always like that. We agreed we would make a clean split and that was the right thing to do. You can’t go back. I know that. But I still feel empty and my tummy is rumbling.

Perhaps I just need to find a new takeaway and move on. Amir will understand. Since I changed neighbourhoods and moved to a new part of town, I can’t stop thinking about my old Indian takeaway.

My old takeaway doesn’t deliver to my new place so it is over. Sure, we said we could make it work long distance. We tried. There is a fee for delivery to a location more than 5km away, but we said we didn’t care about that. But I know deep down they don’t really want to come this far out just for me, their oldest customer. They have other people now and they need to look after them.

But we were together for more than six years and it is hard to let go. Every weekend we would talk on the phone. I’ve spent more time talking to Amir in recent years than I have my own brother. Through the good times and the bad he has always been there for me.

Birthdays, Christmases, summer, winter... it didn’t matter to him. Whenever I needed a friend – or more specifically a murgh masala, keema naan, peas pilau and side order of popadoms (he always knew to give me extra green sauce) – he has always been there for me on the end of the telephone.

Don’t get me wrong, times were not always easy. I regret the night we fought over the other man’s lamb rogan josh he sent to me by mistake and am angry that he was always late, but we were strong enough to survive that. I always came back.

The last time we spoke, maybe it was the last time we will ever speak, I don’t think Amir could quite believe it was all over either. His last words will haunt me for ever. ‘No more murgh masala? No more popadoms? What about Chinese food instead?

We sell noodles’.

That sweet, sweet man didn’t want to give up either. I’ve seen other restaurants closer to my new place. Some are even trying to tempt me by stuffing their menus under my door. Perhaps they’re just as good but, for a little while, I think I will cook for myself. It is easier that way.

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