It’s sometimes difficult to write about relationships without constantly referring back to your own. Mine involves somebody who strikes into me the deepest of fears and at the same time, something intangible and safe. The safeness straightens me into myself, like an anchor I didn’t know I was missing. A few weeks ago, he moved in. Such an occasion was marked by a day spent at the charity shops acquiring jointly-owned house items. I’ve never owned things like that before, things expressly to be shared and used together. Strange.
We bought square ceramic jars with cork stoppers, for coffee and tea; discoloured brass plates which we will nurse back to shiny health and then use for hosting plants; a painted ceramic pot for the aloe vera; a red wooden tray decorated with golden birds – the perfect size for a one-person breakfast in bed; books for reading (A Winter Book, Around The World In 80 Days, How I Live Now, The Visitor) and books for trips, or daydreaming in bed (guides to New York, Greece, Mauritius); white cotton tablecloths for dinner with guests, and picture frames, for the adventures yet to come. The most expensive item was the green frame, for £2.50, and the cheapest was 20p for each of the brass plates.
The best of all these new things in my home is Ryan. Living with somebody you love is a strange and wonderful thing; there is such a huge sense of relief as this reassuring, comforting presence seeps into the very roots of your life. Like watering a plant that until now has only known the sparse summer rain. It is less exciting, and more a huge, thunderous relief that life has adjusted and adapted in exactly the way it was supposed to. Now we are bedfellows every night. Ryan leaves for work before I wake. Instead I wake daily to missives of shared secrets and future plans and warmth. Sometimes a post-it note on the pillow, sometimes torn A4 on my desk. At night we overlap and whisper to each other, talking about the future, our plans turning to dreams as we fall asleep.