‘I would have’ says Vincent, my guide, shrugging in that very French way he has, as if it should all be perfectly obvious. ‘Why ever not?’ he says.
We’re in the talking room for another session. I know it’s designed to help – a de-briefing from life, and I do have stuff to sort out, I know.
‘I don’t know’ I say eventually, but I do know – it’s because I was weak, and he knows it. I’ve said too much. I wish he wasn’t my guide. I’d prefer one of the girls, but not for the obvious reason. I can usually talk to women easier, that’s all. This feels all wrong. Vincent is an arrogant sod. I don’t like him and yet I keep coming back for more. Why? Maybe I should ask if I can swap. He can’t even look at me. He just looks about the room, bored. He obviously doesn’t want to be here. I feel like saying ‘Go if you want. It’s ok – I can do without this.’ but I don’t.
‘I would have gone to see this head of department or whoever you say he was’ he continues ‘and I would have told him “I want a different supervisor or I leave”. They have to take you seriously. If you leave it looks bad on their paperwork. You should have told them. No way they want people dropping out.’
‘It wasn’t not quite as simple as that’ I say, feebly.
‘If you say so’ he says, holding his hands up, giving in.
‘Look,’ I explain, ‘I was already half way through the project. I’d have had to start all over again – if (I emphasise the “if”) if they could have found someone to take me on. I just couldn’t face it.’
‘You could have taken a year out, done some travelling, considered your options.’
‘Yeah, but I was thirty-five. They don’t really like people my age...’
‘Nonsense’ he says. ‘If you had wanted it badly enough you would have done it. You would have made it happen.’
‘It’s not as simple as that’ I say again, with even less conviction. I need to think about this, and I do, in my cabin, after Vincent has dismissed me.
I feel like crap.
I hate that phrase - “If you’d wanted it badly enough you’d have done it”. I’ve heard it a million times. Well, maybe I didn’t want it badly enough.
But I did want it very badly. How badly do you have to want something? And then, on top of that, to make matters worse, there’s the likes of Jason and Cat just buggering about – went to Art College because they didn’t know what else to do but they’re getting on with their careers, unlike me, not because they wanted it more than me but because their daddies paid for them to do it. It makes me sick.
Fucking makes me really fucking sick!
I stamp around in my cabin for a bit and then go up on deck for some air.