Love? It’s in the little things.
The ones that you do for each other without complaint, again and again.
And a-sodding-again until you realise that love is starting to wear pretty thin.
That you are getting mightily fed up of biting tongue or lip, of shutting up and putting up, picking up and putting down what isn’t either in its rightful place, or in the bin.
And actually, you have got to the place in your head where you want to take the latest inner tube of the loo roll left either to dangle, bare and bereft on its holder, or placed on the top of the loo cistern as if that’s more helpful, and you want to fold it into a neat little cardboard concertina and insert it somewhere your son doesn’t shine.
Why can’t your nearest and dearest see that all those little things you do for love, you only have to do because they don’t?
Take Bloke, for example; he is normally pretty neat and tidy. But he has these little puddles of habitual laziness. Take opening a bottle of wine, for example. He reaches for his special tools; this funny little thing that looks like a tiny nutcracker that ever-so-neatly slices off the seal on top of the cork. His gi-normous corkscew powerfully whips out that cork in one swift, satisfyingly macho movement. Then he waltzes off and leaves both cork and little foil cap on the work-top.
I don’t know what he thinks happens to them. That they evaporate, perhaps? Or the wine bottle fairy flits in and spirits them back to the Loire, or Majestic, or wherever else they hail from?
Though I suspect he doesn’t think, or care, at all. Once cork and top have been removed, they simply disappear from his consciousness and he gets on with glugging the wine.
He has a similar blank spot when opening letters. He never gets to the bit where you throw the envelope in the bin.
Why do I do it for him, then? Because he does so many big and good things and these are just little things; too minor, too petty to chivvy about each and every time.
Though, teabags... I actually went on strike over them. We have a little teapot-shaped dish we put them on once they’ve done their bit in a mug. And by some unspoken law, it appears to be my job to empty it.
I didn’t give statutory strike warning; I went for shock value. I left them and left them for as long as I could stand it. And still the soggy brown mountain threatening to avalanche did not cause so much as a blip on his radar.
All you can do is laugh, really. And on Saturday night, I kept the upstairs neighbours entertained with stories of the little things.
One of them began nodding in earnest recognition. Suddenly, he could contain it no more. “At this very moment, there are two little plastic discs on our kitchen table. And this time, I’m not shifting them,” he declared, arms folded defiantly.
Clearly, he was a man pushed to breaking point. By a wife who never forgets to remember what she did with the little round thing she peeled from that fresh pint of milk.