I was welling up with tears recently when my other half said “oh no” as if he was watching a drink someone else had spilled drip into a stranger’s lap. It was a disconnected lament. A here we go. I could see him calculating how long the mess would take to mop up and how much action was expected on his part. Should he contribute a napkin to the cause, or would a sympathetic look suffice. How dare you? I thought. I headed for the bedroom and started to pack.
He followed. I pulled a bag from the wardrobe and declared I was leaving. ‘Don’t be silly,’ he said, increasing my resolve. As I tried to work out whether I was leaving for a day, a week, or forever, I noticed his face had cracked. There was no doubt about it. He was trying not to laugh. He sat on the edge of the bed to observe me unravel. I turned back to my packing. Suddenly it occurred to me that I am now so pregnant there was very little to pack. Nothing fits. The dam broke. ‘Nothing fits!’ I cried.
‘That’s ok. We’ll buy you some stuff that fits,’ he reassured me.
‘But I’m leaving.’ I sobbed. ‘I’ve had enough.’
‘Of what?’ he asked. I couldn’t remember.
‘Where to?’ he queried. I wasn’t sure.
‘How long will you be?’ He pondered wistfully.
These were all excellent questions. The thing is, ignoring for a moment that I’m at a stage where I have no idea what’s bothering me, I’m also at an age where I don’t really fancy going anywhere. Certainly not late in the evening, in the rain, without a firm plan in place, or a bottle of vino I can actually drink waiting with someone somewhere for me to drink it. To be honest, I’m not even sure where I’d be welcome.
Yes, I have friends, but they now fall into distinct groups: married with kids (in bed already) and single without kids (still out). Of course there are some exceptions hanging out with their new lovers, or taking a night off to read a book perhaps, but I don’t want to doss down on their sofas. Especially when my best friend is sitting right there, on our comfortable bed, asking me what’s the matter, in the warm. ‘I have friends,’ I declared, grabbing a jumper, and a beach towel that could surely come in handy for something. ‘Loads of friends!’ I shouted at some shorts. Finally, he stepped up, and started to unpack my bag, while I gratefully repacked it. Now we’re dancing, and we’re almost done, I realised with relief, while loudly listing all the people that would be thrilled to watch the end of Newsnight with me. Ah, that was it. He’d objected to my talking over the news even though we both know that I always talk over the news. It’s one of my most endearing qualities.
Since then I have noticed him treading carefully. Even though 98% of the time I am deliriously happy he hasn’t seemed relaxed. During the dangerous 2% his sensitivity has bordered on patronising, and I’m certain the last time I wept he only faked concern about my bad dream – but he was so convincing, I couldn’t critique him. It was five stars.
So you can imagine how shocked I was when he openly disagreed with something I said yesterday as if I was my normal self again and he was entitled to an opinion. Such was my surprise the moment went before I had time to react to it. Has the worst passed? Am I rational again? Do I even want to be? I guess only time will tell.