He didn’t want to talk to me because he was playing FIFA.
“Hiya!” I said when he picked up the phone.
“Hi.” he said, distractedly.
I know that tone. It’s the one he uses when he’s playing on the X-Box and I have had the audacity to call mid-game.
It’s amazing how somebody can say so much by saying so little. What he really meant was: “I don’t understand why you are phoning me. If you’re not in danger, please can we talk about it later?” but in the interests of brevity, he stuck with “Hi” and I figured out the rest on my own. I just laughed, asked if we had any peanut M&Ms left in the cupboard (which was the real reason for my call) and said I’d be home in 20 minutes (to eat them).
Now, you might think this is a post about how rude it was of my husband to put the X-Box before me or about my outrage at the fact that he wasn’t just sitting at home waiting for me to return and tell him about the exceptionally well-priced fish and chips I had for my dinner (seriously though, they were just so reasonable) but that’s not the case. I wasn’t offended at all. And that’s because I’d have done exactly the same thing to him if he’d called whilst I was participating in my own hobbies – i.e. watching Coronation Street or singing along to the Bee Gees whilst loading the dishwasher (‘Now you can tell by the way I wash my fork, I’m a woman’s man, no time to talk’ is the lyric I’m probably most proud of.)
If you are going to stay together, it has to be OK that sometimes (assuming the other person is indeed safe, well and not deprived of purse-friendly fried goods) you need to have a bit of time to yourself. Not everything you do is about the other person, sometimes it’s just about doing what you want – be it kicking an imaginary ball into an imaginary goal, or single-handedly improving popular music through the use of cutlery-based puns – whatever you need, that time is yours.
The alternative is to spend your entire relationship being offended by the other person’s actions. In a long term relationship, it’s not possible to keep up the perfection of the early days. People don’t always text back within five minutes because they have jobs and travelling and Sudoku to do. They don’t always want to hold your hand when you’re walking along the road because sometimes it’s boiling hot and a sweaty hand sandwich is not everybody’s cup of tea. You’ll also find that sleep is a lot more comfortable when everybody keeps to their own side of the bed. It doesn’t mean they don’t love you, it just means that lying like a starfish will always be more comfortable than spooning, I don’t care what anybody says.
It’s best just to not get cross about any of this stuff because it doesn’t mean anything. Actually, that’s not entirely true – it does mean that you’re comfortable, which is nice, and that you’re clear on your collective view about whose side of the bed is whose, which is pretty much as important as it gets.
With comfort and trust comes that lovely moment when you can both just chill the hell out. He can prioritise the performance of 11 little footballers for a while and I can see what’s been kicking off in Weatherfield without anybody getting offended.
That is, of course, until he calls me into the lounge to ask me to watch a replay of a goal one of his electronic men has scored. I always say they’re ‘great’ but I know he doesn’t believe I care.
It’s amazing how somebody can say so much by saying so little.