We argued about the dishes, about the school run, the dirty socks. We fought about the sleepless nights and the food we wasted, the money we spent on unnecessary items and the unfinished decorating around the house.
For weeks we avoided each other intentionally – you know to make a point. Everything felt angry even the way we sipped our coffee in the morning or the way we put our shoes on. A thick fog surrounded us wearing us down so far we couldn’t be bothered to struggle our way out.
Some evenings I would look at him in his chair, his eye brows slightly lowered above his big eyes his forehead crinkled as he concentrated. I watch his trail of thoughts like an old fashioned movie reel, like I’ve sneaked in on something I shouldn’t see.
He never showed me his emotions so I quite enjoyed piecing the clues together in my own investigation.
He housed his thoughts and kept the door shut tightly they were safe in there against the rest of the world, with a few windows to look through I was always careful when looking through the glass. This was the only way I could get an insight into what he was thinking.
When we first met I had long messy hair, I wore unusual clothes and read books on philosophy I drank too much and enjoyed the small dramas life handed to me it was exciting to a girl in her 20’s. We drank in old pubs and took polaroid photos, we listened to quirky bands and had duvet days at the weekend.
I felt so new back then and my discoveries were frequent, I didn’t know much, yet I felt as if I did and the feeling was satisfying.
I get up from my look out, I have been caught observing the feeling is mutually uncomfortable.
That night was cold I wrapped my self in my the blanket we keep on our sofa and buried my head in a book, I wasn’t reading just skimming the pages touching the words that sounded meaningful in hope that by touching them I would remember to use them one day. He was looking down on his phone his thumb swiping up and down so fast it felt as if his avoidance to talk was being challenged he was bursting inside with words so tangled he was too afraid to bring them up in case he made a mess.
I want to scream so loud that my voice fills the space around me, but the only ears I want my words to enter are his. The loud part would just be for effect.
Occasionally we both sigh, long breaths leaking out of our mouths with a deliberate attempt to attract the other ones attention. We exchange eye contact in between
the lengthy sighs and procrastination.
I long for his arms around me.
I long for duvet day.
After our third date when the butterflies deep inside my stomach rested through intervals of confidence, I plucked up the courage to open up. Between sips of wine I gave him tiny pieces of me from across the table, he took each piece with caution and stored it somewhere in his mind. I drank a little more and forgot the rest.
It is bed time now the hours slip away so quickly. I decide break the silence in a last attempt at figuring us out.
My heart is felt in my throat which is dry and uncomfortable.
I tell him –
‘You don’t know me’
‘We are strangers under the same roof’
I keep talking the flow is constant, direct and cutting in parts.
Before I deliver words I can’t retrieve or smooth over, he speaks.
The sound of his voice stops me promptly, I stand ready and hoping he is opening the door that’s been closed for so long. The door to his thoughts the one I have wondered about.
With the calmest voice he repeats the things I told him on that third date the one when I drank too much.
The detail was so precise I was taken back by how intact it was and how well he kept it, how well he nurtured them.
My face starts to relax as I feel tears fall freely down my face.
He knew me all along, everything.
The third date ended with clumsy kissing and neon lights. I didn’t think about a future although perhaps I had painted it in my mind secretively. I put the polaroid picture I had taken and placed it inside one of my books so I could rediscover it during a reading session. I knew nothing except for this feeling I had found meaning.
I can’t quite remember the details of our fight I think it was something to do with the mess that went far beyond the dirty dishes. But when I stopped trying to find meaning I accepted the challenges that we face as parents, I understand how easy it is to forget the bits that happened before we had little people to share our love with. Duvet days are quite different with two children who want to share your bed, but this tiny portion of our life will become another memory we will unravel later on in life and look fondly on.
With this new adjustment I feel new again – there is meaning in that.