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Which secret?

  Wed 12th February 2014

Trina got the hump on Saturday because I didn't contact her for an entire twenty-four hours, but as a step towards the new regime, I am not going to rush to the phone with an apology, appending a meaningless kiss. She came over on Sunday night, my last day of drinking for forty days. I have reached a financial impasse of such severity that a drastic remedy is required.

To mark the occasion, we went to the closing night of a local dark ales festival. I imagined a similarly lively, sociable evening such as we enjoyed at its opening. Instead, we sat in a corner with a collective of grey, straggly hair, a committee with four hind legs. They started started arguing over the procedure for submitting votes, or something, talking over each other, not listening. I texted Trina. "Shall we bugger off?"

We went somewhere else, where one of the elderly regulars, a man who walks round with a huge pair of headphones always on his head, looked resentfully at us for having nabbed his table. I got fed up with him looking over, so, knowing that he likes to be on his own, I started returning his glances and smiling, threatening him with sociability. He looked away and made a point of being interested in something on his computer.

We got in and went to bed. Trina started saying that it's all useless, invoking Kim as being, in some way, the cause of her insecurity. I try not to mention Kim when I'm with Trina. "She'd be better for you anyway." She got out of bed in a loud, huffing stage whisper, and went to sleep downstairs, then came back at some point in the middle of the night and rigged up a makeshift bed on the floor.

My next day was seen through a glass of sleep deprivation and irritation. As we "did diaries" -- she likes to plan -- it emerged that she can't after all, be around for my fiftieth next month. My mind leapt on a possible opportunity; I said nothing. Later, whilst she was upstairs, I managed to ascertain from Kim that she is indeed free that weekend.

We went down town, and despite my best attempts at dissuading her from doing so, she paid my phone and internet bill, as they'd cut us off that morning. It was an unpleasant feeling, and I felt I ought to force myself into a better mood for £38.

She slept and snored soundly last night, so I, once again, got little sleep. She kindly got out of bed at about 8am to let me get some sleep, then came back an hour or so later--and started snoring again.

I got up, leaving her to rasp away, and went down to make some coffee. In the kitchen, I saw that she'd boiled some potatoes and sprouts (lately I've been having bubble and squeak for breakfast). She can be as kind and thoughtful as she can be irritating.

She came down again and said that she is sick of being so cold, so I lit one of the gas rings and she put her coat on. She finished her coffee, and gathered her things together and left in a huff. "You're not even listening to me." I recited accurately back to her what she had just said.

An hour or so later, I texted her with what I hoped was an erasing gloss of lightness, referring to the odd spot of drizzle we've been having here lately. "Did you get home by driving, sailing or wind surfing? X".

Just as I had closed the p tag on the previous paragraph, she texted. "All 3! X"

It can feel like work when she's here. If only we could sieve our lives out and just leave the good bits.

I went through last night's texts from Kim. She had arranged to meet one of her blokes down one of the dwindling number of proper English boozers, where the only things to eat are the greying pickled eggs on the bar, which could turn the place into a gastropub in a novel sense. "I've just walked into the Three Tuns," she'd written. "I think it's one of the barflies' birthday -- there are some macaroons on the bar. As I walked in it went quiet for a second. Conversation resumed with someone saying 'It's fucking wank out there'. What an truly splendid place. Miss you! X"

While I was at work the other day, I texted my boss, asking if my Criminal Records Bureau check had ever come back. "Yes it has, looby. Your secret's safe with me!"

I wonder which one.


“…got the hump…” is a new one for me, as is bubble and squeak. I like them very much and will add them to my lexicon, if you don’t mind.

A bed on the floor?! Really? I think that’s called passive/aggressive.

I don’t know what you expect, honestly. Just leaving the good bits it simply not possible. Perfection is not part of the human condition and it never will be. That’s why most marriages fail. Do I sound preachy? I don’t mean to.

Thu 13th February 2014 @ 12:36
Comment from: [Member]

You’re welcome to our words. About time the exchange went the other way.

I’m not looking for perfection. I just want to arrange things so that we stop being together for that week when we stop enjoying it. There isn’t enough in the relationship, or it’s not that type of relationship, to enjoy just knocking about together doing domestic things. I can’t adapt now, after all these years of living by myself (or with housemates) to having someone else trailing round on my apron strings all day.

Thu 13th February 2014 @ 14:20
Comment from: furtheron [Visitor]

I have a friend - she hasn’t had a steady partner for years. Lovely vivacious blonde in her 30s - a real head turner.

She had a serious relationship a few months back - I thought this was the one but… it fizzled out and now she is single again.

I asked her why “He wanted to keep being with me. I’ve been on my own so long I don’t want that any more” Sounds like you and her would get along… actually not thinking on it due to other considerations… ;-)

Fri 14th February 2014 @ 15:05
Comment from: [Member]

She sounds most attractive, and someone who has a similar dislike to me of being stifled. But I know the insurmountable problem to which you refer :)

Fri 14th February 2014 @ 22:30

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looby, n.; pl. loobies. A lout; an awkward, stupid, clownish person

M / 59 / Bristol, "the most beautiful, interesting and distinguished city in England" -- John Betjeman [1961, source eludes me].

"Looby is a left-wing intellectual who is obsessed with a) women's clothes and b) tits." -- Joy of Bex.

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