"I don't want to be rude, but I'm just telling you, don't move here for me," he says; what he means is, this world barely has him in it. Any promise made means a promise he has to break, because he's been cheating on reality with her and if she comes into the world, he'll have to breathe in to make the space for her. And that space is filled with madness. The person he's able to be with her -- hating her, fucking her, enjoying her -- can't last forever. It would be cruel to force it on him; cruel to her, when it falls apart.
"God!" she screams, "You are such a cunt!" He can't understand, literally cannot understand, what he is doing to her. The life she'd built around the possibility of love. The way she could get back on track, just like Cathy with her husband and her child, after throwing her life away one teacup night at a time. The fact that he came back. The pair of freaks, all grown up and ready to be human. She can't be expected to understand that it isn't a judgment on her, but a story that started before she ever met Cathy Tolke. The dances they did for their father, that never really ever impressed him.
"You are really hurting my feelings," she explains, and the confusion in his eyes subsides. A bit. "I lowered my fucking bar for you!" she says, throwing the mug at him and chasing him out the door. She screams, heaves a ledgerbook at him as he's going. Howling, like a banshee; like a woman who's just had her last chance ripped away when she was already settling to an embarrassing degree. Like a woman so convinced she wasn't beautiful, that she would die alone, and he was the best she could muster. The only root she'd grow.
Outside Paul's office they're kidding around; their secret smoker rituals, the men he's seen around but never really talked to, from accounting. They stare at him. "So... Sometimes I do your expense reports. You eat a lot of pasta." He stares at the ground, waiting for them to notice he is downtrodden. When they ask, he can't say it for a second, but then he does. They are shocked, the workplace ritual takes over their lives and they go on autopilot.
Grief eclipses everything else. There isn't a handbook or a rulebook, because death is too big for those things. It's too big to understand and there is no chance at protocol. Every death, every funeral, is the first one. The more you see the truer this becomes. Grief is inherently selfish because death is so big you barely feel it. The abyss of protocol is why clichés were invented. The loss, the fear, the sadness, those are real: But the fact of death is unrehearsable.