Seeing Other People 2 (Pages 22-102)

9781444708646

What an original, clever idea!!!

We see Joe trying to forget what happened with Bella. The next day he tries to avoid her at all costs, but when he is leaving, Bella is waiting for her. She has his watch, which she hands to him, and she seems upset, but she understands what Joe is doing.

As Joe tries to remember what happened that night, we learn that there was a misunderstanding with Bella in the office. He had already met her, and when he happened to run into her, Bella produced the only novel that he had written, implying she was a fan. Yet, Joe thought that it was a practical joke, and one of his colleagues Walsh had put her to it. Joe wasn’t very tactful, and when he realized that he had put his foot in it, he treated Bella to a drink to make it up to her. They talked, and Joe felt strangely happy to have the attention of such a pretty woman. Then the day as he was out doing the report about the divorced dads, the day turned out to be a disaster and he had a few drinks with Carl. Then Bella kept texting. She wanted to meet him for a drink, and she almost begged her when he told her he was still out. The truth was that Joe felt meeting Bella could be dangerous. Then when he was considering meeting Bella and throwing caution to the wind, he was approached by a young man  and felt someone hitting his head, and that was the last thing he remembered.

Since he can’t find an explanation to his lack of memory, he has to accept what he knows: he cheated on Penny. After that day, Joe is racked by guilt, and he keeps having nightmares about Bella. Then he makes a resolution; he will try to be the best husband and make it up for that one indiscretion. Penny is delighted, and one day she calls him to invite him to lunch. Joe feels as if he had fallen with his wife all over again. But then when they are having lunch in his usual pub, Joe panics when he sees Bella coming into the pub with Angela, a woman he used to work with. Joe and Penny talk to them, and Joe can’t help but feel nervous. It is a relief for him when they finally leave, but after that, as he walks Penny to the underground station, she is not as loving as she was a few minutes ago and she seems worried. Then that night when he finally asks her, Penny blurts out that she suspects that Joe cheated on her with Angela and she is very upset. Naturally, Joe denies the whole thing because it is the truth. Penny has noticed something weird when they ran into Bella and Angela, but she got the wrong end of the stick. Penny apologises, realising she has been a fool for suspecting him.

Then the next day they decide to take a day off and spend the day together. Penny keeps apologising for her suspicions, and feeling like a hypocrite, Joe can’t hold it any longer and tells her the truth. Penny’s reaction is to leave and spend a couple of days with her mum and stepfather. Joe is left desolate, and then comes the great idea of the story. His dead ex-girlfriend comes to him like an apparition, and even though Joe thinks it is a figment of his imagination and refuses to believe she is real, we learn the truth about this story. Joe didn’t cheat on Penny, but Fiona tells him that he actually still cold on the ground. She even says that she was the one to hit him, not the young man who asked him for a light. What she wanted was to stop him from cheating on Penny. And now what is happening is that Joe is being taught a lesson so that he can see what would have happened if he had cheated on his wife, which is what he was considering doing.

Since Joe doesn’t believe that Fiona is real, he hardly hears her. So he keeps going through his day, missing his wife. When Penny finally returns, Joe tries to talk to her, but she simply asks him to leave, and he can’t refuse. So he has to find accommodation in a poky bed and breakfast. Penny has told the children that he is in China in some work trip, and she refuses to talk about their relationship. And then in the B & B Fiona turns up again, and I think Joe still doesn’t hear what she is trying to tell him.

I feel so sorry for Joe. He is going through a really tough time. So I imagine that things will turn out okay in the end. If he is still unconscious, all this is like a dream, and when he wakes up, he will appreciate what he has with Penny much more.

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