Relationships are complex and fascinating. What makes one couple stay together for life and another couple’s relationship self-destruct in a few weeks? If I had the answer to that I’d not post it here! I’d be selling a very expensive book, or course, or self-help DVD series.
I know what keeps Suze and me together, no not sex, we understand and love each other in a way that neither of us has experienced in previous relationships. I have witnessed a number of bizarre relationships in the past that seemed stable despite the odds, one I had forgotten about until I sat down at the PC tonight.
Before we moved to our current property we had a terraced house in the student quarter of the city. Every other night a middle-aged couple would walk past, arguing. We never saw their faces, by the time we had dragged ourselves out of bed and pulled the curtains open a crack all we could see was their shambling, drunken silhouettes receding into the distance. That wasn’t such a loss. To see the orators of what I’m about to relate might have spoilt it for Suze and me. We used to image what they must be like as a couple, how they “socialised” and how on earth they kept from killing each other.
The conversation was always the same. We’d hear raised, drunken voices in the distance. This was always in the small hours of the morning, they indulged in at least three lock-ins each week at the local working man’s club. As the voices got closer their drunken rants became discernable. What follows is not a verbatim transcript of what was said but a distillation of numerous night’s arguments.
M: I saw you looking at him again.
F: No I wasn’t.
M: You were, I’ve warned you.
F: I wasn’t looking at him. I don’t do that any more.
M: What like you didn’t do it at Christmas?
F: I was drunk.
M: You were fucking legless, and knickerless, you slag.
F: But …
M: I looked like a right twat. Ian and Andy calling me outside to see you over the bonnet of his car. And what for, just ‘cos he’d let you win the first prize in the tombola.
F: It was only the once.
M: Bollocks. The year before it was the [club] treasurer on the back seat of the coach on the way back from Skegness.
F: Anyway, what about her?
M: Fuck off.
F: Don’t you fuck off me …
M: I was helping her with the crates …
F: Yeah, right. The only bar work she had done before the club was being shagged over it. Tart.
M: Don’t call her a tart she’s a good friend.
F: She’s a whore, she’s not choosy who she gets friendly with. Get your hands off me.
They were still at it when we moved house …