And then there’s H.
It’s Valentine’s Day. H had to set off after lunch for a business trip, and anyway, we both agreed that Valentine’s Day was a heap of commercialised tripe and we were simply going to ignore it. Both of us. Ignore it.
So I sent him a highly witty and amusing e-card (it totally was, actually, and he laughed like a hyena), and he bought me a bunch of flaming orange tulips to ‘keep me company’ while he’s away.
And then we kissed goodbye on the station platform like teenagers, mildly embarrassing everyone else.
And I went back to our flat, which is annoyingly lonely, considering he’s only been gone a few hours.
Dear Readers, how can I praise H enough? He is gentle, and tender-hearted, and good-natured to the point of benevolent imbecillity. His neck smells delicious. His smile was almost the first thing I noticed about him, and still, to this day, after nearly 18 years, his smile melts my heart. He makes me tea, without fail, every single morning, and has done since the first time we slept together. He is funny, and clever, and sensible. He thinks I need looking after, bless him. He likes being needed, and, luckily, I am needy. He puts up with my temper, my awkwardness, my untidiness, my neuroticism. More than that, he adores them, as he adores my good qualities, because they are what makes me uniquely me.
See? And now you all quite rightly have jaw-ache from grinding your teeth so hard. It’s just all too cute and lovely.
And there are times when I feel quite guilty about even mentioning my relationship with H. Simply because it is cute and lovely*. I am aware that other people out there have partners who, though in many ways are wonderful human beings, are not, well, quite like H. (His habit of cheerfully doing the washing up and the cooking and buying tampons and filling hot-water-bottles and screening phone-calls and rubbing my back very nearly all at once on my ‘Special Lady Days’ seems to strike terror into the heart of men and rank, sea-green envy into the heart of women the world over (also, God, but he’d make a great Dad *weeps hysterically for some few seconds, pulls self savagely together*)).
I have done nothing whatsoever to deserve H. If anything, I gained an H in spite of myself. I never planned to get married. As a teenager, I thought of myself as fundamentally unloveable. In the early years of our relationship, I reacted to a bad patch we went through by behaving Spectacularly Badly, and yet H not only forgave me, but came back to me, learnt to be a better partner to me, and taught me to forgive myself. And yet there were still many, many moments when I thought ‘what the fucking fuck is he still doing here? Why hasn’t he dumped me for someone reasonable? Someone thinner and prettier? Someone with a job? Someone with functioning gonads?’.
(H even finds this sort of thing quite hurtful. He takes commitment very seriously, including the ‘for better, for worse’ bit. H says he’d rather have me with no kids, than anyone else and all the perfect kids he could handle. I told you I didn’t deserve him).
And so, I feel guilty. Maritally, I’m like the woman who landed boy-girl twins during the first three months of trying, had no nausea, carried to term, who gave birth in a tub making holistic whale noises, whose children are ‘very advanced’ and quite cherubic, and who has a flat and flawless belly to show for it. It’s… impolite… to boast of such things in front of the parent with tiger-bright stretch-marks whose pride-and-joy has just walloped a smaller child with a tricycle and is now in their nineteenth screamy melt-down of the week. It’s worse, to the point of cruel, to boast about it in front of the infertile.
And so, it’s Valentine’s Day evening, and I am spending it away from H, who I won’t see until Friday, and I want to shout out to the entire world just how much I love him, because I miss him (already! By Wednesday I will either be clutching the TV remote to my chest, happy as a clam, or having a nervous breakdown). I know I am showing off by doing so. I know it will sting, if any of my readers are looking at their own partner and thinking ‘gah!’, or have no partner and want one, and Valentine’s Day is quite unpleasant enough as is without me rubbing it in thank you. I know I don’t deserve H. I know that, like babies, relationships have very little to do with just deserts and a great deal to do with ‘eh, you know, life, random.’
I’m sorry. H is the greatest. I’m really sorry.
*(Disclaimer – Obviously, we bicker, because we are both humans, and though H likes his role as Angel of Light and Domestic Bliss, he can be spectacularly bone-headed when he chooses (and he sulks. Which would be fine, but I come from two clans both renowned for their shouty inability to sulk for more than seventeen minutes and I find sulking terrifying, infuriating, and just plain wrong. I am aware that this makes me unreasonable in the extreme)).