I hate the waiting game.
My boyfriend has gone out for the afternoon. He’s gone to a play rehearsal because he just got a great part in an Alan Bennett play.
This is wonderful and all well and good. But I feel terrible, because he left on a bad note. Not a real, quantifiable or tangible bad note. No plates were smashed or insults administered. I didn’t cut up his favourite suit, and he didn’t tell me that actually my bum does look big in the purple dress.
Rather, he left on the worst kind of bad note I know. I went out to the shops to buy bacon, and then I cooked poached eggs and bacon on English muffins. He thanked me and kissed me and said goodbye.
Although it sounds like a perfectly normal morning, it wasn’t. You weren’t there. You didn’t feel the tension.
It all began at 8.30am.
During my boyfriend’s first lie-in of the week, I let the kittens in. They walked on his head. Having amused the kittens for three minutes to enable my boyfriend to have his lie-in, I decided that I was sleepy and so closed my eyes for a moment. Kitten number one decided, at that moment, to show his affection for the man of the house and scratched my boyfriend on his back, drawing blood (he has a lot of affection for the man of the house). My boyfriend turned over and growled loudly shouting something about kittens and open windows and throwing technique. He batted his hand towards the kitten. Instinctively and reactively I smacked his arm. “Don’t hit the fucking kittens”. I hissed.
This was a Big Mistake and resulted in much early morning swearing.
I took the kittens out of the bedroom and we went back to sleep. I curled up behind him. He seemed cold. When we awoke, we hardly mentioned The Incident. Had I just treated my boyfriend like a naughty child? Or was it just a natural tap-away, to be immediately forgotten? We “discussed” the kitten’s early entrance. He explained that he needed a lie-in; I explained that they needed love and attention. We both assumed that the other was angry with us. We dealt with it this in the way that our great British Ancestors have done so for centuries: by stiffening our lips, drinking tea and eating poached eggs and bacon on English muffins. In silence.
We had breakfast, he left, and now I’m here, with furrowed brow and nervous tummy. Because until he returns and reassures me with his lovely smile, I shall assume, naturally, that every mouthful of my cooked breakfast was like a smack on the arm.
Assumed damage to relationship: Blown it.