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.