After the honeymoon is over, sometimes it can feel like marriage is a state of constant irritation. Living cheek-by-jowl with another human being, especially during COVID-19 isolation, has been particularly trying. I’m pretty sure I drove Rhys up the wall and yesterday it felt like he was wearing through my last frayed nerve. Then I found peace from an unexpected quarter.
It was one of those nights when you tuck yourself up in bed with a large glass of wine, turn on a chick flick and hope your husband keeps watching cricket on telly so you can have a moment’s peace!
As luck would have it, Rhys showed up just as The Book Club was getting good. Knowing Rhys would rather be eaten alive by maggots than watch a chick flick, I usually defer to him. But not this time. I needed my chick flick and if he didn’t like it, he could lump it.
I needed to ‘talk about boys’ with my new girlfriends played by Jane Fonda, Diane Keaton, Mary Steenburg and my favourite, Candice Bergen. I needed to be the fifth, invisible member of their book club to vent about my man too.
Then I heard a chuckle from Rhys’ side of the bed. Then a guffaw and finally a shout of laughter. Soon we were laughing together as we watched those four women who are ‘not spring flowers…more like potpourri’ try to rekindle the flame with their long-time spouse or dive back into the dating game after years of being single. That’s when it all came back to me: the horror of dating.
Maybe you enjoyed your dating years. Dating is fun, I’m told. My pathetic attempts at dating were unequivocally horrible. Just the word ‘dating’ brings a shiver to my spine.
Of course I wanted to date the handsome bloke all the girls were drooling over. But he knew he was the lad and had his pick of the ladies. This small, shy photographer/writer with a tendency to stutter when nervous didn’t even crack his top ten.
When I was asked out, no, let me rephrase that. If I was asked on a date, it would be by the gauchest bloke with no clue how to treat a girl and engage her in conversation. They meant well but I rarely got a word in edgewise. Before meeting Rhys, I had zero good experiences in the dating game. Each date was worst than the last. One horror after another.
Watching The Book Club brought it all back. The nerves. The boredom. The tears. The loneliness. Finally giving up on love and accepting spinsterhood. That’s when Rhys bumbled into my life.
As Jane, Diane, Mary and Candice (re)discovered love, I looked over at Rhys shaking with laughter, quite enjoying the chick flick he claimed to hate. And suddenly all my irritation melted away.
I saw again the Rhys I fell in love with. I remembered what made this man so unique, so special. Unfettered by day-to-day stresses and strains, our chemistry sparked into flame once again.
The Book Club put things in perspective. It was a much needed wake-up call to reignite my gratitude. Gratitude that Rhys is sanguine enough to put up with me and my petty dramas. Grateful that even on his most innocently annoying day, living with Rhys is a zillion times better than the horror of going out on a date.