That November I had pressed against the deadweight of depression – of a broken heart, the post-broken-heart universe, ringing tepidly with rain – and downloaded Tinder. I went on a date with an American who said, I could put my hands around your waist, and then, when the wine list came, pointed at the wine list and squeaked, halfsies? I went on a date with a man from Cork who had lived in Boston for one year and acquired an accent so accurate and bulletproof I could not believe he was really from Cork. This man also had a low lisp, which made much of what he said sound malevolent and sexually exciting. He rented an extraordinary apartment near the Peppercanister church, a section of converted townhouse with a ceiling that stood on columns of yellow plaster, scrunching at the centre to a vortex of snowy garlands: the sash window opened onto the fire escape and the Boston-Corkonian sat in a chair, smoking out of the window, holding forth. By two in the morning I felt exhausted and deranged by his strange monologues. I lay on my face and proceeded, for the rest of the night, to play dead.