The M4, a dank Friday evening.
"I knew you'd been out of sorts for a bit, but I didn't know it was this bad."
"I know you didn't, I didn't want you to."
He looked everywhere except her face, and felt relieved that she was driving. He hadn't wanted to tell her in case she thought it was her fault. It wasn't.
"This is different, I've been low before but there was always something rational at the root of it and I don't think there is this time. I really don't. I feel useless all the time and so, so fucking stupid."
They talked about it, calmly. They talked about him maybe going to see someone about it, calmly. They parked outside the hotel and sat in the car for a while longer, the unwelcome nagging of tears in both their eyes. She rubbed his hand and they went in. They went out for dinner and he said very little and she didn't mind.
There was a wedding the next day. Not theirs, theirs was ages ago. The bride was beautiful and the music was nice and the kids were cute and the priest was crass. The usual, all good. He played nice at the table and ate too much and waned after a fashion and retreated upstairs to watch Match of the Day and drink scotch on his own. An hour or so later she texted to say that she missed him. Not that he was being antisocial and inconsiderate, just that she missed him. He told her that he was finding socialising hard at the moment and she told him that she'd mind him.
So he went back down. They smoked and they talked to nice strangers and they danced, even though he never dances. Nor does she, really, but she took him out there in front of real people and she made him dance to Gay Bar and Florence and The Grating Voice and laughed when he cried "I can't believe what happened to Tony!" like he always does when that Journey song comes on. She smiled patiently when he tried to sing Creep at 4 a.m. with some bloke he'd just met who had a guitar in the residents' bar.
He felt better for a bit, and then awful again and then better. Beyond the mountains there are mountains, he thought to himself. And she knew that people don't make mountains.