Filled with a familiar sense of foreboding, I steal myself as I gingerly push the door open. He doesn’t greet me and I don’t hear him so maybe, hopefully he’s still asleep. My tensed-up bones relax as I step into the hallway. If I’m very quiet, very lucky, he might not even notice I’ve come home at all.
It wasn’t always like this. At the beginning we couldn't get enough of each other. I remember imagining half the time that I must be dreaming. There was no way I could be quite so loved and love so much in return. George and me. Me and George. Always together. And so happy together.
I don’t know what changed. Maybe it was something I said; I can be a little snappy at times, a little hard to get on with but whatever we went through, however we’d been with each other, we’d always be curled up on the sofa together at the end of the day. And I always got to watch whatever I liked on the telly. George was happy if I was happy it seemed.
Seemed. Oh how things can change. These days I’m lucky if I see him before I go to bed. I hear him come home some nights but he just goes straight to bed without waking me. Sometimes in another room. I don’t know where he goes, he never tells me and there’s no point in asking; I hate atmospheres. It’s like he doesn’t think I deserve to know. Maybe I don’t.
Some days I’m afraid I’m losing him completely. He stares at meals I lay before him as if I’ve put poison in them. But I’d never do anything like that; I couldn’t bear to live with the guilt for one thing. Often I’ve thrown his food away – making sure he’s watching - and given him something else just so he can see there’s nothing to worry about. But it’s too late by then, his eyes narrow and he looks at me as if he’s made the biggest mistake of his life – choosing me to share his with. It’s what he doesn’t say that hurts the most and lately it seems I just can’t satisfy him however hard I try.
My breath catches as suddenly there is a noise on the stairs. He’s woken up. My heart picks up speed. I check myself in the mirror. My eyes flick nervously to the door; maybe I have time to get out again before he sees me. But it’s too late. He’s here, standing in front of me now, his eyes demanding to know where I’ve been.
‘It was a bit rushed at work,’ I swallow, hoping that this will placate him. His eyes darken and I wait for the familiar rebuff.
His head turns to the shopping bags still by the door where I dropped them. Then his gaze returns to me and we lock eyes. I can feel the heat rising under my arms. Perhaps if I show him want I’ve got then maybe he’ll be nice to me and his demands might not be quite so severe.
Edging round the kitchen table, I slide myself along the wall to the shopping bags. I bring one back with me, feeling his eyes on me all the way. Nervously I reach into the bag and pull out something I hope will placate him. Make him love me again the way he used to; unconditionally.
‘We all deserve to be treated sometimes don’t we?’ I say sweetly.
He lifts his eyes and follows my hand as I start to peel back the wrapper.
When he’s finished eating it I wait for a sign of thanks, something to let me know that he still wants me; needs me in his life. But nothing comes. Instead he wipes his mouth and then walks straight past me as if I’m not there. He stares out through the French doors and I wonder what he’s thinking. Probably wondering when this incessant rain will stop so he can get back outside and chase the birds again.
|You talkin' bout me?|