"Fine, yeah – sorry, do you mind if I come in? Bit cold out here."
"Oh, yeah, course. Sorry. Your stuff’s upstairs."
You step over the threshold and unzip your jacket. It's raining and you're miserable, so it feels like winter even though it's the end of July. You go up stairs that used to be your stairs, gripping onto a bannister that used to be your bannister, and you stand outside a room that used to be your room, but now it's just theirs. The remainder of your things (you took most of it a few weeks ago in an Uber to the mate's house where you’ve been staying, on a trip that felt like exactly the dull, exhausted sensation of something very heavy sitting on your chest) are packed into a few limp tote bags by the door. The Twin Peaks poster that used to hang above the bed is rolled up now, poking out from inside one of the bags, replaced on the wall by a print they bought from a gallery that they'd been wondering what to do with for months. It's framed now. You wonder if they even ever really liked Twin Peaks that much.
"Is that it there, then?"
"Yeah, I think that's everything, but obviously just text if anything's missing."
"You can keep the poster if you like."
"Nah, that's OK, it's yours."
"Right then. Okay, well, see you, I suppose."
You look each other in the eyes, for the first time tonight; if you're honest, for the first time in months. Instinctively, you want the comfort of touching them, and you move towards each other as if magnetised, opposite poles but still drawn together. The two of you hug tightly, both hotly aware of the fact that this might be the last time you ever put your arms around each other's bodies. They pull away quicker than you'd like and you know it is time to go. You pick up the bags, and they follow you out of the room, down your old stairs, holding your old bannister, opening your old door for you to leave your old life.
"Bye," you say, doing that half-smile people do when someone's died or been dumped.
"Bye, get back safe."
You turn around and hear the door click shut behind you. You put up your hood and re-zip your jacket, tote bags hanging off each shoulder. You step into the rain, which is heavier now.
You take a deep breath.
Relatedly, Love Island’s over tonight. That's what it feels like. You're you. The ex is Love Island. It's a metaphor, you see. Can't say anymore because I’ll cry at work: flash fiction is my only outlet now. Here, for the last time, is how the week has shaped up. In the words of the great My Chemical Romance: "So long and goodnight." Thanks for sticking with us. You’re loyal, babes.
Before we really get into this, it's important to note that Danny Dyer did not even go into the Love Island villa, and that his appearance on Love Island was just over four minutes long. And yet. And yet.
Here's what happened when Danny Dyer went on Love Island: upon speaking to his daughter for the first time in two months, he called her "mate". His first compliment to his daughter’s new boyfriend was about his belly (the words, "TAKES A BRAVE MAN TO BOWL IN THAT GAFF, THEY’RE ALL ABBED UP, AIN’T GOT NAFFIN ABAAAAHT EM" will be read out as my coffin is lowered into the ground at my eventual funeral, so that’s something to look forward to), and his wife said he cries with pride watching Dani Dyer on television. Finally, Danny Dyer said he is going to “sign” his son-in-law’s "nut", and – in the same way that it did when Danny Dyer called David Cameron an all-caps "TWAT" for the second time – my soul left my body and I knew paradise. Here was all of human emotion, punctuated by use of the word "babe" as if it were a comma.
When the BAFTAs come a-knocking, this is the clip Love Island should submit. When, in hundreds of years, we are all dead and gone, this is the footage I hope we are remembered by: Danny Dyer screaming PROPA GEEZA, forever and ever, Amen.
ALEXANDRA AND ALSO ALEXANDRA’S MUM
Alexandra, my honourably hopeful romantic. Alexandra, my assertive late-twenties Instagram baddie. Alexandra, my queen with thighs more powerful than The Rock’s biceps, a face like a relative of Scarlett Johansson and a life so glamorous even her cat looks like it has the net worth of a D-list celebrity. Alexandra, I thought to myself, what the fuck is wrong with you.
At first, I was livid. Here we have a human being as close to perfect as it is possible to get under patriarchal capitalism, putting on a sexy negligee and heels in order to woo an emotionally stunted Quentin Blake illustration who can't dress himself. Trapped in this dynamic, Alexandra essentially became a conduit for heterosexuality at large – which mainly involves spectacular women getting mugged off by boys who sleep with two flat pillows and subsist on pasta because they "don’t like food". It made me angry to watch. Then she called him "pathetic", and I was pleased.
Then the relatives came in and his brother or someone said: "You're really burnt," and I was cackling. Then Alexandra’s lovely mum came in and said, "Oh Alex, I’m not sure what show you thought you were coming on!" and I was in raptures, clapping with such ferocity that my palms began to sting, crying tears of joy. In the bleak winter nights to come, may we remember Alexandra and Rosie for their services to empowerment™ by crushing male egos like grapes for a delicious full-bodied wine, and be warmed.
THE LIE DETECTOR
If your main reason for watching Love Island isn’t to see fit people crying then I’m very sorry but you and I are extremely different and it is just not going to work. It’s easy to get swept up in all the Family Day drama, but if we cast our minds back only a few days, the Lie Detector challenge – the best one on the show (except, of course, for the stripping one, I'm not fucking silly) – was causing havoc, shaking the very foundations of everything I hold dear, causing Jack and Dani to row like parents in a pub, and thus providing phenomenal television.
The accuracy of lie detectors, of course, was scientifically disproven many, many years ago, but you try telling that to New Laura as she cries hysterically literally because she has never failed or been rejected ever in her life, and the suggestion that either might happen to her is too difficult to contemplate. Try quietly saying, "It's not real, hun" to Dani Dyer, who, despite being told by her perfect boyfriend that he wants to spend his life with her, threatened to leave the villa because one of his answers suggested that he might still find other women attractive. See where that gets you.
The Lie Detector challenge is amazing because it is a true and pure agent of chaos, and it's basically the last opportunity for any spiciness before the final, where everyone dresses like they're going to prom and speaks like their relationships aren't going to break down spectacularly in three months when everyone's got their respective toothpaste promo deals. Long may it reign.
DANI AND JACK
The Mirror reported today that Dani and Jack have already been offered a reality show, with ITV2 particularly keen to capture Jack's first IRL meeting with Danny Dyer on camera. Paddy Power paid people who bet on them winning the show last week, and also has them odds on to go directly from the villa to Celebrity Big Brother, which would mean I’ll have to watch Celebrity Big Brother. The Royal Society for the Preservation of Birds has officially backed them as the winners. There is nowhere left for Jack and Dani to conquer: they had our hearts long ago. Install them in Buckingham Palace and let’s just be done with it.
JOSH AND KAZ
My only point of comparison in my own life for the way Josh looks at Kaz every second of the day is how I look at a bag of Quorn Vegan Nuggets that I am about to cook and eat. Total, pure adoration – nothing more, nothing less. They're really, very clearly in love, and it’s for this reason that I hope the very best for Josh and Kaz, and will be following them both on Instagram as soon as they’re out of the villa so that I can enjoy their relationship via the medium of photos of them looking amazing at Nobu for the rest of all our lives.
MEGAN AND WES
Nothing much to add to this harmonious honeymoon-stage whirlwind of joy and shagging besides, of course, I TOLD YOU SO.
LAURA AND PAUL
Laura is the sort of person who struggles to validate their own feelings and so communicates them through the thinly veiled guise of a joke, which ultimately doesn’t land because it’s quite obvious that she means it when she says things like, "OH AM I IN COMPETITION WITH BRITNEY SPEARS NOW HA HA." Paul, on the other hand, is the sort of person for whom full sex and a 15-minute conversation about screw fixtures in B&Q elicit the same emotional response. This either means they will break up immediately after exiting The Villa when he has to flirt with someone in an advert, or Hype Laura and Cool Paul will equalise to neutral, their wedding pictures will appear in Hello! in 18 months and they’ll end up doing a genuinely heartwarming TV special about parenting.
But they will not win Love Island. Obviously, they will not win Love Island.
THE PINK WORM
I can't help but think of the poor individual who has to go under the knife of Doctor Worm once he goes crawling back to the NHS because his petition to relaunch Top Gear with himself as the presenter failed spectacularly and he was "too good" to flog Dairy Milk on Instagram like everyone else. Eyal.