‘You good?’ says the book.
‘Yup,’ I say. ‘Good, thanks. All good.’
‘You’re good. So you’re good,’ the book says. ‘Anything you want to tell me?’
‘Not especially,’ the book says. It holds its fingers up in a gesture which indicates air quotes.
‘What?’ I say.
‘I heard,’ the book says.
‘What?’ I say. ‘You heard what?’
‘Oh, that, well, yes. Facebook. I’m leaving.’
‘As I say, I heard.’ Again, the book uses air quotes.
‘What’s your point?’
‘What were you thinking?’
‘What were you thinking? Were you even thinking? The biggest…The biggest and most popular sharing platform in the world, and you choose to stop using it. A brilliant way of connecting with people from around the world, people you don’t even know, who you won’t even ever meet, and you go off on your high horse talking about mental health and attention spans. It beggars belief. You beggar belief.’
There is a silence.
I decide to lie down on the floor.
‘What I said was true,’ I say. ‘It was doing my head in. Instagram’s not much better. I’m about to unfollow everyone on there as well. Or delete it. I’ve kept the photographs. I don’t know. Something. I’m tired, you see. I’m tired. And if it means various people won’t speak to me ever again, that’s the chance I’ll have to take.’
‘Are you OK?’
‘I’m fine. I’m fine. I just think. I just think that all this stuff, this lovely, glittery, sharey-sweary stuff is actually counter to the life that I need to live, to the interiority that I need in order to make stuff. Poems, lines, words connecting to other words in sentences. Songs, even, who knows? I’m learning the ukulele.’
‘The ukulele? You?’
‘Yes, of course the ukulele! It bloody hurts!’
I notice the book is lying on the floor next to me. It stares at the ceiling without looking at me.
‘You know that bit in Truly Madly Deeply where Juliet Stevenson and Alan Rickman finally sit down to talk? The bit after the almighty row in front of the other ghosts, sitting on the rolled-up mildewy rug on the floor of her disgusting flat? She asks him to tell the story of their first night together and he starts quoting Neruda at her. ‘The Dead Woman’. It’s brilliant. So intimate. And then she says to him, ‘It’s a life I want. Life.’ And that’s exactly how I feel about Facebook. It didn’t bring me life.’