Another day another fight. Well, I say fight but what is meant was another nail in the coffin. Now, that can be construed as a rather cynical attitude but cynicism is the minds way of accepting things or events that it has no genuine control over. No control means powerlessness. Let me explain.
Waking up bright and breezy and genuinely energised in the morning can, you would think, ‘be a good thing’. No? A refreshing 8 hours sleep recharging the batteries so that come morning the body is fit and ready to face a new day. Unfortunately I’m one of those people. I say unfortunately for one reason and one reason only - my partner isn’t. Oh dear! First light of awakening is not an experience of genuine pleasure for her. Oh no. Green sleepy cracks with bloodshot eyes peering through these deranged slits greet me each and every morning. One day she said to me ‘I hope you realise that I don’t intend to wake up next to you every morning for the rest of my life?’ She said that about ten years ago. About the time she put the clock on to tick towards the end of our relationship. To tick towards the day that she would feel joy waking up in the morning, green eyed or not, and not have to peer at my ugly mug as the first thing she sees as unconsciousness recedes and the prospect of a new day dawns.
When she told me that I thought ‘fair enough’ because I too genuinely thought that I would not wake up to her every morning. At least every morning for the rest of my life. Sheesh! What a long time that is. The prospect of sleeping with the same person for all your life is a genuinely scary proposition. What of those youthful flights of male sexual fantasy where a different beautiful woman shares your bed every night. Or at least every weekend.
Even when adolescence is a dim throb in your past and you have genuinely found a partner that you love above all others. That loves you and helps pay the bills and does the odd bit of washing up as well as drive you home from crap parties when you’re drunk. Even then, in that idyllic spatial awareness known as love you don’t really think that one day your partner, the love of your life, the person to whom you are genuinely committing your adult self to will one day turn around and say that they can’t see themselves waking up next to you one day. What a blow.
But as I say that was ten-ish years ago and she is still there next to me every morning (well, most mornings) when the world begins a new revolution. And every day when she opens her eyes and looks at me I know what she is thinking. That first thought that passes through her mind triggers the first thought that passes through my mind - ‘I love this woman and every day is a bonus for me. I have another day with this woman and want to spend it with her in the pursuit of our love. In pursuit of our mutual desires and longings, to fulfil each other. To support.
To Love in friendship.
But no. Not in my world. Not in the world where waking itself is a trauma. When you have two people; one of whom drags the conscious mind from a pit, gives it a few slaps, pours tea over it, eats a few slices of toast or yogurt with chopped banana, visits the toilet, gets ready listening to the radio (I think) or watches a bit of breakfast news (never the Big Breakfast which is mind numbingly shite), sits in a chair or on the sofa and stares into space for a not inconsiderable time then, and only then, deems to emit her first words. Usually along the lines of ‘I’m going to get a paper’.
For my part I’m the opposite. A diametrically opposing force which, hopefully balances this turbulent time of day. I wake up and genuinely feel awake. Awake as in I can talk, interact, laugh, joke, and play with the cats. I’m up, around and looking for things to stimulate me before drab humdrum work beckons like a festering.... that’s enough of that. Or not. Perhaps that’s it! I’m off to a job that’s, how shall I say this, CRAP. While she is off when she wants to do her work. She is the boss. She gardens. Ten pounds an hour she charges. Turns up when she wants and goes when she wants. Ten pounds. Ten sobs an hour. Which is roughly the price I charge her every day. Not sobs as in pounds but sobs as in sobs. I expect her to one day somehow be different. To wake up alive but I’m nearly always constantly disappoint myself. She isn’t and doesn’t.
But I always live in hope.
If I push her, like I did today it nearly always ends up in a row. She is quiet while I talk away to myself, commenting on the news on the radio, gossiping about our friends, about what we’re doing tonight, where we are going next week, what I’m doing today, how the cats are funny, what’s for breakfast and so on and so forth. She sits in resolute silence, a fuming, glowing ember that suddenly catches alight and burns my hand.
I should have learnt from the time she decided to spend a lot a time with a new man. When she went off on a three day bender with him and didn't come home. Was genuinely hostile to me. And frosty. Frostile I called it. But she came back and now every morning she wakes up next to the person who she doesn’t really want to wake up next to and listens to him prattling on about something or other and perhaps she dreams of nights with her old lover who, in the morning, had the consideration to let her wake up in her own time. To not hassle her. To be just there but in a quiet way. How she likes it.
This morning she needed the car for a gardening job and gave me a lift to my treadmill. We argued in the car all the way there. Again. She’s going I know that. One day I will wake up and she won’t be there. But there will be a difference when it does eventually happen. It will be something we both want and need. It will be part of the mature adult world of relationships not the first adult fumblings straight out of adolescence. Oh did I tell you that we’ve been together for 15 years. That makes it all the harder.