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Petrol-soaked rags, meet bridge

  Thu 27th January 2011

Frances and I have run the course of a full relationship, up to and including its conclusion, in a week.

The inevitable conversation about the future happened last night and this morning, when I was very tired. I'd seen her three times this week, and had the most disturbed nights, with her stentorian snoring meaning I crept down the stairs in the creakiest house in Lancaster onto the sofa at 2am, trying not to disturb the Hungarians, or her up and down all night making tea and moving about with just the level of sound required to keep me awake too. Then she blithely sleeps it off until lunchtime, not really understanding that I can't spend the first three working hours of a normal day snuggled up next to her.

I don't know if she was drunk, or feeling insecure, but she started picking relentlessly at a knot I had no wish to unravel, asking dangerous questions. Various formulations of "I don't know. I like it as it is" weren't enough. She was insisting on "honesty" so doggedly that I gave it to her, partly because I was so irritated by the implied accusation that I am not honest, and partly to punish her with the consequences of what she was asking. I said I liked the film nights, the meals, the sex, that we have a shared past history of people and places; that I can offer her friendship and sex, but nothing more.

So much was uncontroversial but she didn't like it when I said that I have reached the level of intimacy possible with her. "Why?"

Because we miss each other in conversation too much, having to add little asides and footnotes when things are misinterpreted. Because I get fed up with her disputing what I have said in the recent past, citing some tiny specific instance which could arguably be interpreted as invalidating a statement which was meant to be a conversational generality rather than a proposition that matches the highest rigours of logical positivism. Because I dislike this sort of conversation. Because I want things to be straightforward. Because everything is 'because of the drink'. (I had agreed to not have a drink in February, simply to prevent her being able to level this at me for 28 days). Because you make sweeping generalisations about men and women. Because your smoking makes it impossible for me to kiss you properly.

"You're not open with me". I didn't know what to say. I'm one of the most open people I know. I hardly see how saying the things above (which are obviously presented here in a much-edited form) betokens a closed and private person.

"You don't understand me," she said. There's no answer to that because the premises and the proofs required are impossible to agree on. "And I don't think you care."

"You're a complex character," she said. "I'm not. I've got the depth of a puddle."

"Anyway I think men are different."  She got upset and started crying. "Most men don't like it when women cry." I had my arm around her and was stroking her hair, wishing I could escape.

We'd planned, booked and paid for, a weekend in Durham in April.

"I wish you'd told me this in the beginning. You're so closed off, you've decided nothing's going to develop."

"I don't think it would have", I didn't say, "but had you not grilled me, insisting on a fatal honesty, we could have seen if anything else could develop, as unlikely as I think that would have been, and as impossible it is now."

And if I'd posted seven days ago, I'd have told you about another night in our Chabrol film season at hers, followed by some of the best sex I've had in my life. Sometimes, it's not good to talk.

1 comment

Comment from: heybartender [Visitor]

I have never understood people who ask “What are you thinking?” I had an old roommate (whose relationship issues could fill a newsstand) who was constantly analyzing every word anyone said, rather than simply having bigger, deeper conversations with people to see what they were really about.

The argument that “You’re not open” is simply her way of making excuses for not hearing what you have clearly stated.

Feck it.

Tue 1st February 2011 @ 19:11


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