So M. and I had another old-couple quarrel this morning. We go through patches (well, they last for months at a time, so I should call them phases, shouldn't I?) where we don't disagree on a single thing. And then for weeks and weeks and weeks, it seems that we rub each other up the wrong way. Focus only on each other's cracks. Stamp over each other. Misunderstand. Snap. Scream. Walk away in the middle of the street with a sharp BYE!!
Today, I turned into Accessorise and he continued down the pavement. I switched my phone onto Silent, fuming all the while that he wouldn't call. But just to be perverse, hah! the phone's on silent so I wouldn't be able to pick it up anyway! I made mental lists of all the shops I could go to, to kill time and make him wonder where I was (knowing full well that he wouldn't wonder, he'd just assume I was still out shopping. Which thought made me fume even more, but no matter...)
And as I was walking to River Island, the winter sun bouncing off the golden trees in the churchyard and people swarming around me with their lovers, friends, babies, families, shopping, laughing, smiling, holding hands, I suddenly thought: Well this is nice. What if one day after I do that sharp-as-glass BYE, my words suddenly turn into my reality and bye actually turns into GOODBYE?
And you know how, when you're a kid, and you think about losing your parents for the first time, and are surprised by how quickly that brings tears to your eyes? I thought about my bye turning into a goodbye and suddenly felt tears pricking the back of my eyes, all on their own, instantly.
And all the rubbish about my tone versus your tone, our juvenile differences of opinion on God, the nature of the universe, the nature of people, the role of dancing in a happy existence, the right way to walk down the street, the right way to be a boyfriend or girlfriend just... disappeared. And all I wanted to do was run to Sainsburys and hug him and say sorry.
So I did. And the next time we part ways sharply in the street because one of us has an attitude or a tone, I hope I remember what I felt this morning and back down, say sorry and just hold his hand and shut up.