A Million Love Songs Later. This isn’t a post about misguided fashion. Has it been a decade?
I was looking through youtube for a good version of Barlow’s A Million Love Songs. I found one from 1992 which reminded me of why I destroyed every photograph I could get my hands on of me during that period in time. Teenage angst and the fashions of the 90′s were not a good pairing. For those of you who didn’t live through the ordeal, the video will give you a glimpse into baggy shirts and trousers, vests and hairstyles that were simply ridiculous. Anyway, this isn’t a post about misguided fashion. It’s about the passing of time.
Putting up pictures of the various (similar) colours we’ve painted the house over the years made realize just how much time has gone by with us living here together. Not like a regular couple who go out to work and see each other in the evening, but together all the time. Since we’ve been together I’ve travelled on my own once (Switzerland, 5 days, don’t ask), Mike too (London, 3 days, business). Then he fell from the stairs down to the basement once and spent three days in hospital for surgery on his elbow, but I visited everyday. We also separated once (2 days). I threw a diamond ring at his head and moved to the other end of the house. Mike’s mother, Renée, told us both to grow up after the 2nd day of separation. She also said she expected us both to pick her up for dinner at the usual time on Thursday. It was our weekly ritual. We’d arrive at her house at 7:30. She’d pour three glasses of cold dry sherry which was sitting on a tray on the coffee table and we’d catch up on the week’s events, then we’d go out to dinner. When I remembered I’d take a spreadsheet of the week’s sales. Ever the businesswoman, nothing made her eyes light up like good sales figures. When she married Mike’s father and moved to Britain she opened a lingerie store. It quickly became a chain of stores. Ten in total, I think. She’d ask me: How much did we sell this week? It was wonderfully encouraging.
Some people in Mike’s family were jealous of how we got along. There was no secret to it. There was also no trying. We genuinely clicked from the first day we met. That first day when we were leaving her house I gave her my arm to take her to the car, then I opened the car door for her. She turned to Mike and said ‘Now that’s how a man should behave’. Whence we were allies for the rest of her life. I loved her unashamed partisanship. If there was any dispute, anywhere, she presumed I was right. We grew up in similar circumstances, so we could understand each other’s behaviour and decisions in a very organic manner. I’m sure that played a significant role in the success of my relationship with Mike. It allowed the three of us to become a team. It also opened lines of communication between mother and son that had never existed. Before that point she’d never spoken of the fact that her husband conducted an affair that lasted over 40 years. Some didn’t like her newfound openness, but Mike did.
So here we are. Over a decade has gone by. More than a million love songs have played on the radio. We’re still together. We’ve only been physically apart for 8 days. On the average day we’re together for between 12 and 14 hours. The average couple spends between 4 and 6 hours together per day. So I guess it means we’ve been together for 30+ years in real terms. Renée died a few years back, but there are reminders of her all around the house. The Louis XVI silver candelabra and centerpiece on the dining table. The blackamoor. The two Defize paintings. The coffee table where three sherry glasses once stood on Thursday nights; But there’s no denying it’s just the two of us now- against the world.