I tried to fight it.
A month ago I'd deleted her number from my phone.
I'd deleted her email address from my computer.
This was so I wouldn't keep ringing her and writing to her, trying to find out what in tarnation was wrong.
Back in September for some unknown reason she'd suddenly cut off all contact with me.
Maybe she'd found The Heelers Diaries while surfing the net and figured out who Marriedski was.
Or maybe she'd taken exception to my lighthearted comic criticisms of the Russian invasion of the sovereign State of Georgia.
We'd been through a lot ould Marriedski and me over the years.
In all modesty I gotta say it gentle travellers of the blogosphere. I am a likeable fellow. It is hard to believe that anyone who has ever entertained even a brief fondness for me, could so abruptly really truly seriously want to dismiss me from their lives.
There had to be a more rational explanation, ie one that didn't involve a genuine desire to cut me off.
She must have lost her job.
Or come down with a fatal illness.
Or maybe Aliens were controlling her mind.
Today I could take it no more.
I had to know.
I went to her place of work.
One step away from stalking her.
(Actually Heelers that is stalking her. - Ed note)
She was in the customer service area of the shoe shop at Arnotts when I walked in.
She moved into the rear area out of public view.
I walked back outside.
She definitely saw me.
If she saw me and didn't wave, that means she doesn't want to know me.
That's her prerogative, as me and Bobby Brown always used to say.
I headed down O'Connell Street.
A clean break.
Ain't never going to see her no more.
I can live with it.
Twenty minutes later I was back in Arnotts.
No sign of her.
I walked outside again.
Okay that was twice.
Twice at her place of work.
Twice really was close to stalking.
(Close Heelers? Ha, ha, ha. - Ed note)
I took a stroll up Abbey Street.
Calmer at last.
In the cold night air I could now think coherently.
I had no romantic designs on this woman.
Why torture myself by going back a third time?
What's to gain?
If I went back, she could not possibly say anything to me that I want to hear.
Going back again would be an absolute exercise in futility.
I might as well flagellate myself.
I heaved a sigh of relief.
Five minutes later I was back in Arnotts.
She was there.
I said: "Tania."
She moved away as if she hadn't heard.
I walked quickly towards her.
No hand on the arm.
Not trying to be intimidatory.
I said softly but loud enough to hear: "Tania."
She smiled and went to hug me.
I shook my head with what I intended to be an open almost apologetic expression.
There would be no hug.
I spoke gently, looking her directly in the eye.
"Tania, are you angry with me?"
For a moment she paused.
Then she said: "No, no, I'm not angry with you."
I said: "Is there anything you want to say to me?"
She looked sheepish.
Her eyes fell.
But I wasn't trying to stare her down.
She looked at me again, reassured by my manner and by my expression and by who I am.
"No," she said. "There's nothing I want to say."
She was sylph like, golden haired, glorious.
All in black.
I wanted to shout: "Now, you've nothing to say to me. Now? When you look like this. Ay yi yi."
The old eye contact was going on a bit.
I thought of saying:
"Why on earth would we let something so trivial as the War On Terror or the fate of nations come between us?"
But it wasn't the time or place for Heelers knockabout.
I let her look into my eyes long enough to see whatever was there.
"Okay," I said.
And left for the last time.
Tonight the garden at the chateau is full of winter wind.
I'm in the front room remembering Marriedski.
Our first meeting in the library when I walked up to her asking for Russian lessons.
(That old gag. - Ed note)
The charming incomprehensible Russian lessons that followed.
The day when she mentioned her husband ten times in the space of one sentence in order to let me know she had a husband.
The afternoon during an April shower when she prevailed upon me to write her essays for Film School.
The time she brought her daughter to meet me and the waitresses thought we were a family.
The evening when she told me her marriage was in trouble and I answered faster than was strictly speaking decent: "Everybody's marriage is in trouble. You will sort it out."
The pleasant carefree disagreements we had about President Putin's murder of the dissident in London, his murder of the politician in the Caucasus, his assassination attempt on President Levtushenko of Ukraine, and his ongoing attempts to resovietise Russia.
The Christmas present she gave me of a traditional handpainted Russian mug which I discovered had an 80 pence sticker on the bottom of it.
The day she told me one of her dreams and I interpreted it...
All of those memories are with me.
Of course from the mystical point of view, it is not improbable that our parting of the ways was intended by heaven.
A no-fault end to the friendship.
God just might have been saying: "Heelers you have no business being friends with a married woman this gorgeous."
In which case, the creator of the universe would be quite right.
But just for a few moments more tonight, with the wind rifling the trees outside my window in the garden of my father, I think I'll let the memories flow.