Going our separate ways

WELL that’s it then.

We are going our separate ways. We cannot live with each other because neither of us does anything right, or because both of us are always wrong, or because either one of us has disgusting habits, like not closing the toothpaste tube, or closing the toilet seat.

You can guess, I’m not talking about dog and me.

This is serious domestic stuff, and yet the strange thing is how civilised we’ve been about it. Having agreed that we are bad for each other and we should live in different houses, she asks me if I want tea, and calls me darling. Tonight, if she can’t sleep, I’ll rub her back to help her relax.

The tea may contain strychnine, of course. And if I happen, during the course of rubbing her back, to touch that special nerve centre somewhere in the neck that causes instant death, it will be accidental.

So far, though, we remain friends. But then… we’ve always been friends. This is harder than you think. Friends are people you meet at work, or in the pub. You listen to them for a very short time, and then go home again, where they are not, and it’s easy to like them from a distance.

If you doubt this holds true try taking a week’s holiday on Cape York with some friends, and tell me afterwards whether you were still friends when you came home.

It’s not so easy to remain friends with someone who subjects you to involuntary farts at random times of day or night or who spends their waking hours cataloguing a list of debilitating ailments.

And yet we have! We have weathered these ghastly idiosyncrasies (well, up till now anyway) and yet we can’t seem to maintain the team spirit that saw us through five children, two businesses, a sailing ship, and nearly 30 years of marriage.

“I still love you,” she cries.

“And I you.”

“I just can’t abide living with you!”

“Nor I you!”

Standing where I stand now, I can see that it’s a miracle of faith that anyone ever does!

I mean, what are the odds on two people who are not deaf and blind actually maintaining patience with one another for more than half a lifetime?

They say the price of freedom is eternal vigilance, but that’s the price of love, too.

The angel of death comes in many guises as far as love is concerned, and it appears they include such random and inconsequential forms as picking your nose, or cutting your toenails on the bed.

But can that be true? Surely by the time you want to take a hatchet to your partner because they pluck their nose hairs at the breakfast table, the love has already fled?

If there were love lurking somewhere in the room’s shadows, the plucking of nose hairs would seem cute.

I know this is a quantum leap in credibility, but believe me, it’s true. We don’t find our partners’ habits unsavoury until after the affection has gone. So we can assume it wasn’t the farting that did it, and I don’t have a mistress.

If you have any ideas I’d love to hear them.

I’m buggered if I know what’s going on.