Sunday, 15 February 2009

Hallucination keeps couple, 34 and 39, together for fifteen years

A magnificent Saturday of low level bickering, culminating in cheese on toast in front of an interesting Belgian programme about cement. I cried a couple of times in a hopeless, slightly hormonal fashion at the bathos of it all. Not that cement doesn't have many uplifting qualities as an interior decoration material. And the report on Albert and Paola's "lovematch" courtship on 'Watch a bunch of obscure royals on a Saturday night and bemoan the emptiness of your existence' was very moving.

Eventually I pulled myself together and we went to sit upstairs in the 'good room' (yes, it's like the nineteenth century here, we have a good front parlour where noone ever goes, where the smell of seed cake mingles with the hair oil that stains the antimacassars and we sit in half light on uncomfortable chairs and contemplate the aspidistra) in an attempt to Talk To Each Other in more than monosyllables. I was banned from the internets after spending the afternoon making a Valentine's cake for someone else's boyfriend. For future reference: this is NOT an appropriate romantic gesture for one's life partner.

CFO: What are you thinking about?

E: Whether we've changed in fifteen years.

CFO: So, have we changed, do you think?

E: You're definitely less .. Mmm .. impulsive (read: terrifyingly irrational). In a good way. Mainly.

CFO: We were very very young. We have definitely matured.

E: That makes us sound so boring.

CFO: Yes. Fifteen years. (Shakes head)

E: I have always thought that I just came along at the right time for you. That, you know, there I was and you were ready for a long term relationship and you decided, in your stubborn way, that I would be it.

CFO: Really? I don't know. I wanted to learn English mainly.

E: No, not RIGHT at the beginning. But the first couple of years. I mean, they were TERRIBLE. Really really awful. But you never even considered the possibility of us splitting up. You just kept plugging on however miserable we made each other, and however many times I locked myself in the bathroom and slept in the bath.

CFO: Hmm. It's my peasant side. We were in a 'long term relationship' (he says this in English, weirdly), and there were highs and lows.

E: Yeah, but the lows were SO low. We were wretched.

CFO: (looks mildly surprised). You think?

E: Hell, yes.

CFO: Oh, I don't know. You had exoticism on your side. And I didn't actually ever go out anywhere where I might have met someone else.

E: That's true. What with living in Saint Aubain Les Elbeuf.

We sit in silence for a while.

CFO: But there were highs. I remember how touched I was when you came to visit me in hospital just after I had the second operation to have the melanoma removed. That was really special. I'll never forget that.

E: What??? I didn't come and visit you in hospital!

CFO: Yes, you did. I remember you coming, vividly.

E: I guarantee you, with my vastly superior memory, that I didn't. Really. I have never been to see you in hospital. I don't even know what hospital you were in.

CFO: But I'm positive! Really.

E: Not only that, but I remember speaking to you on the telephone from my room in Oxford when you were coming round from the anasthetic. You cried.

CFO: (triumphantly) Ha! But you didn't have a telephone!

E: Yes, I did.

CFO: No you didn't!

E: Yes, in the third year I did. Otherwise there is no way we would be sitting here. I would be dead in a ditch or in residential care.

CFO: Hmm. I was so sure.

E: You were on a tremendous amount of drugs, CFO.

CFO: Hmm. I suppose that's true. Are you saying I hallucinated the romantic moment I cherish?

E: It would appear so.

We sit in silence for a little longer.

E: But, you know, I'm touched you imagined me so much nicer than I actually was.

CFO: No problem.

Then we went to bed.


Nicola said...

Ha! I can only aspire to reach this level of shared romantic memories...

justme said...

And so bed.....
Hope it was a lovely Valentines night.

A Woman Of No Importance said...

This is the stuff that dreams (and most relationships) are made of, JW! x

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure my hubby and I remember all significant moments differently. At least we each get to remember everything how we want to.

katyboo1 said...

unsuitable exe's brain was so addled from abusing things like drain cleaner his memory was shot. He has no real memories of our time together. It's probably why we lasted for the ten years we did.
Sometimes I envy him.

Helen Brocklebank said...

Mrs T: Yes. Pinter. Definitely. [pauses]. or.
*She looks away from the posting. Adjusts the cushion under the laptop. Thinks.*
Mrs T: Maybe [pause] Ionesco?


Anonymous said...

I love this.
You two give me hope for the future :-D

Elsie said...

"Anybody can have the harmony, if they will leave us the counterpoint."

Mutter said...

Do you have drugs for the next 15?

Unknown said...

I would have totally gone along with it... "Ya..that time I visited you in the hospital...very special"

Waffle said...

Nicola - fictional ones. Indeed.

Justme - yeah, not so much. But my giant scandinavian thriller is good.

Woman - I suppose that is sort of reassuring.

K - clearly our mistake was to talk about it!

Katyboo - it's probably bathed in a pine fresh romantic haze for him.

Mrs T - I told you didn't I.

Bevchen - I find that somewhat disturbing, though, obviously in a nice way.

Elsie - I love how you make me feel better about us. Thank you.

Wife - I'll have to have a good rummage around the cupboard I think

A in N - I should have, I really should, but by thought processes were too slow and befuddled. But yes, that would totally have been the way to go.

JChevais said...

There are some things that I remember vividly and Mr C starkly disbelieves. We've been together almost as long as you and the CFO (12 years).

He mostly just wanted to improve his English too.

Welsh Girl said...

Ah, Romance is not dead (though it may need to be put in the recovery position...)

Anonymous said...

How exciting that you are turning the attention of real-life famous people to the greyness of Brussels. Maybe it'll start to spruce itself up a bit now. In fact, the orange rabbits are probably the first step. I will reserve judgment on whether you have done A Good Thing until I see the second step....

Waffle said...

Frances - can you see them too? Or am I losing my mind? You are quite right to reserve judgment. They have taken that giant mikado thing down and turned it into a field of mud surveyed by giant orange bunnies.

Welsh Girl - hmm. It's not quite a code blue, but it's close.

Mrs C - I need to stop delving into his memory clearly. All the reasons we are still together will turn out to be false memories.

The Spicers said...

If false memories are what keep you together, I say go with it!
(I probably would have gone along with the hospital visit story myself.)

Anonymous said...

Also, romance is not dead. On Saturday I was given a space-hopper pony (fantastic) in lieu of the actual pony I was promised but is apparently impractical in a sixth-floor one-bed apartment. Or something.

The icing on the cake was his insistence on talking about 'humping the pony' and refusal to accept that humping might mean something other than 'ride in a sedate and ladylike manner'. There were roses too, but the damage had been done.

La Belette Rouge said...

LOL@ your vastly superior memory. I think, in this case, his romantic memory might be vastly superior.

Red Shoes said...

his insistence on talking about 'humping the pony'

Nooooooooooo..... You poor thing.

Jaywalker, your story is both alarming and adorable. It makes me wonder what lurks in mine and Wife's memories that don't quite match up. I suspect, a lot.

Waffle said...

Iheart - oh, who knows. Maybe I should invent some thoroughly romantic memories as well. Maybe he could save me from a shark attack or something?

Frances - and now you have made me corrosively jealous, damn you! A spacehopper PONY? Please let Léonie never hear of such a thing. You have a treasure there, despite the humping.

Belette - you are right. and they say engineers are not imaginative!

Red Shoes - best not delve.

lisahgolden said...

I love romantic revisionism. I always bank on MathMan not having much grasp on the past. It often fails, but I remain undeterred. It's all I've got for some periods of time 1987 - 2000 and now.

Anonymous said...

It can be dangerous, comparing notes and finding you have different versions of events - save it up for your grandchildren's edification. My Nan used to correct all my Granddad's old naval stories - because she had heard them so many times she spotted the differences when he veered off the straight and narrow. We used to really enjoy his indignation, especially when Mum or the aunts would join in and support her version!

Anne said...

Oooo, Place Royale, it's all coming back to me..

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