It seemed a good idea at the time

It was stupid of me, really.  But I did owe it to them (A & F2) and it seemed such a good idea about a week ago.

So, today, went horribly wrong.  Well, horribly is probably too strong a word.

First, instead of moving the rest (well, nearly) of his stuff from S’s flat to his new flat, last night, we did it this morning.  It was snowing last night and F was really tired. However, that wasn’t in my plan.

Then there was the shopping to do.  I required the meat, the vegetables, the stuff to make desert, some cold meat for starters, etc.  Then, I had to get tins.  I only brought one roasting tin with me and, for what I am doing, I need at least 3.  And then, finally, I had to get scales.  I just couldn’t go on any more without them.  Especially if I am to make a half-decent Treacle Tart.

I mentioned that to F last night or the night before.  He seemed a little jealous but I promised to keep some for him.  And I also bought some mince to make him Cottage Pie so that, this week, if he feels he wants something other than sandwiches, he can have that in the evening. It is his favourite English dish anyway.

But I explained that I was doing Roast Beef and it seemed a good idea to invite A & Fr – especially as Fr has returned from down South only today after some operation she had to have.  And I said that it was a good idea as F didn’t eat meat (well, not like roasted or grilled meat – meat that looks like meat) and, as he was going to be working it was the perfect time.  I did get the impression that he was a bit disgruntled by it but, as I said, I promised to keep him some Treacle Tart.

So, first we will have prosciutto crudo and coppa, then these peppers stuffed with tomatoes and anchovies (which is really nice), then Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding and then Treacle Tart – maybe with custard too.  And I got a really nice bottle of Barolo to go with it, which I know A will appreciate.  Oh, and I have cheese (Stilton and Cheddar) and some Port for after.  Mmmmm.

And now, as I write this, sometime after 6 p.m. I have not done the ironing nor cleaned the flat nor anything of the things that I simply had to do.  I have put the new pans in to be washed in a moment and I will do some ironing in a minute and then I might make the treacle tat or, more likely, I shall do it tomorrow.

I used to be quite good at preparing.  Now I just leave everything to the last possible minute.  It’s not that I don’t care but I do think, these days, that there is so much more to worry about than if everything is ‘perfect’.  Normally it all works out OK in the end.

And F is sorting out his flat.  He will still be staying here for a bit though and I am really happy about that.  I really like having him around; I like his presence, his ‘being here’.

And, as I write this, he arrives.  The hot water at the new flat not working.

And so I save this for later.

And he had a bad headache so I made him Camomile Tea, gave him an aspirin and he’s gone to bed.

Anyway, so now I have not done the things I should have and I will be rushing in the morning and so, what seemed like a good idea at the time (inviting A & Fr round for Sunday lunch) now seems so much more difficult.

And, remember, this is the oven that I hate.  No numbers on the dial just High, Low and Off.  Not my perfect kitchen.  Still, we hope it all turns out all right in the end.

Oh, yes, and one of the new pans that I bought is too large for the tiny oven. Hmmmph!

Yesterday, we became four.

I am at the computer.  I’m standing but bent over.  It’s not the most comfortable position but, given the lack of anything I could use as a chair, it’s the best I can do.

The screen springs to life, suddenly showing the background at the same time as it makes the sound.  Great.  The usual Skype message comes up.  It should be upgraded but it’s not mine to do.  I tell it to continue anyway.  I select the Skype account I want to use.  Best Mate may be online.

I go type in the password but nothing happens when I type.  Then there is a new window that comes up.  I don’t really read the screen so don’t know what it says.  I am busy trying to get into Skype.  As I am closing this very annoying window, I notice something about Bluetooth.  As it closes, I realise that this keyboard has no connection lead to the computer and, therefore, must be Bluetooth.

I need to find this window again.  This utility.  I start searching.  the problem, other than I don’t really know Macs that well, is that it is an Italian machine and everything is in Italian, of course.  I go for Finder, since the icon I would use on my machine is not in the right place (or, rather, non-existent) on this computer. I look for the obvious thing.  Something called Bluetooth or Connections or something similar.

On the way to finding this I see some things that I have an urge to see.  Some photos; some other things.  I resist the urge.  It would be like spying; like looking into a private diary; like reading a blog that you’re not supposed to know about (whoops!).  I want to and don’t want to at the same time.  I don’t want to more than I want to and so I don’t.  I give myself a self-congratulatory pat on the back for being good.  It makes me feel good even if I am still intrigued.  But I have no reason to doubt and, therefore, this is something that should be left alone.  But, still……

I don’t find what I want.  I close down the computer.

I switch on the computer again.  The same window/utility appears…..eventually.  I am right!  The keyboard is not being ‘seen’.  I look at the keyboard.  I see that there is a screw thing at the side and open it to find batteries inside.  I know this was all working as he had used it a day or two before when he proved that the telephone line had been installed and everything (including ADSL) was functioning.  I decide that, maybe, one of the batteries is to blame.  But there are no more batteries that I know of.  And, so, I swap the two from the mouse (which IS working), taking two from the keyboard in exchange.

I try all again.  No difference, although the mouse still works.  It is unlikely to be one battery.  I look all over the keyboard, eventually pressing, by accident, the switch that turns the keyboard ‘on’.

Everything now works but a) I am standing and b) I have almost had enough and so, instead of writing a blog post, I play ‘the bloody game’.

The men arrive with the wardrobe and bed.  I don’t really like them.  I was hoping for the three that came to my place.  That would have been just fine.  I don’t really trust these guys.  I smoke and am aware that the smoke seems to fill the flat much more quickly than it does mine.  I think about the time, in the very near future, when we are here, at the computer together or watching a DVD or sitting on the brand-new, white, all-(simulated/something)-leather sofa – smoking and it being difficult.  This worries me.

The windows are slightly open, as they always are.  I notice that, the flat, seemingly so warm every time I have entered, seems quite cold after a couple of hours.  This may not be so good.

The men finish with the wardrobe.  Well, not quite.  I do not know what the man says but I think he says that he has another set of drawers and where should they go?  I don’t know.  I knew where the wardrobe was to go, I had asked F the night before but the second set of drawers?  I phone him and get no answer.  He is working, of course.  The men need an answer as they are now building the bed (which won’t take long).  I send a text explaining that I need an answer and hoping that he has the phone on him.

He calls me.  They should be shelves and not a set of drawers.  I realise I could have got it wrong.  I say yes they are shelves – hoping that I am right.  But where are they to go?  He tells me they are to go in the middle part, above the set of drawers, equally spaced.  I tell the guys.  They tell me what they can do.  I tell them that is OK.

They finish.  There is some discussion about the payment that is to be made.  I cannot pay him the exact money as I don’t have 33 cents.  He has no change.  I know that, in the UK, there would be no money given to the delivery/installer people and I wonder at how this can possibly work properly in Italy.

I change what I have given him.  Now all he has to do is give me 17 cents change.  He only has a 20 cent coin.  I explain that I don’t have the 3 cents to give him and that it’s my money we’re talking about (he already knows that it’s not my house, nor my furniture).

He huffs and puffs.  But, reluctantly gives me the 20 cents.  I don’t care.  I’ve noticed that the guy in the supermarket that I thought was a good guy regularly charges me for an extra plastic bag.  I don’t go to his till any more.  It’s only 4 cents but the Italians, with the old lira in mind, take less notice of the small coins.  I am English and I don’t.

When they have gone I decide that the room is really smokey.  I have only had about 5 cigarettes but I know that F won’t like it and so I open the window wide in the lounge and the bedroom to try and get rid of it.  There is no breeze and so no air through the flat and so it doesn’t disperse.

I get much colder though and, from a starting point that is quite cold, this is not pleasant.  I have texted F to say that everything is fine and that I would go and do some shopping and go home shortly.  I also added that I would come back to the flat whenever he wanted as, of course, I have the keys!

I close the windows and the shutters.  The smoke still seems to hang in the air.  I know my sense of smell is terrible.  I go out of the flat and come back in.  I can still smell it.  If I can smell it, I muse, then it will be a hundred times worse for him.

But I cannot stay.  Or, rather, I cannot stay and not smoke!

I leave.

Later he phones.  He is still at the office.  He has got the company car tonight.  He will go and collect his clothes and take them to the flat.  I offer my help.  He says that I have done enough already (having taken a day’s holiday to be at the flat for his wardrobe and bed).  I reply that it is really no problem and I really don’t mind.

All this is true.  All this is in my interest.  And, anyway, it means we are together and I am helping him and it makes me feel good.  And, also, I want to be there when he opens the flat door – to see the reaction to the smokey smell, for I feel as guilty as hell.  And I have weird thoughts that go through my mind like a) he won’t want me in the new flat or b) he will insist that I stop smoking or something along those lines.  If I were to be there I would know, immediately, if it were a problem.

I wait at home.  I am anxious.  I feel useless.

This is like those times when you were a kid.  You had done something wrong and you knew, as sure as night follows day, that your parents would know.  Perhaps they were out and would know when they came back.  Perhaps they were there and it was one of those things that they would find out about and you just didn’t know when.

And it’s the waiting that is the worst, of course.

And this is how I felt.  I also worried that, after a full day at work, he was going to be doing lots of moving stuff to the car and from the car and it would be so much better if I were there to help.  And it would be quicker.

And then I thought that, perhaps, he didn’t want me to be there because he wanted to spend the night at the old flat.  The previous night had been restless for him.  Apparently Dino had been restless and walking to and fro and playing and crying and other things.  And then I thought that perhaps he just wanted to have a night apart.  But why?

It got to 10 o’clock.  I had heard nothing.  I hadn’t taken a shower wanting to be ready, just in case he called for help.  But now it was time for the dogs to go out.  By now, after all my thinking, I had come to the conclusion that he was not going to be coming here for the night and didn’t want me to go to him and that was why he hadn’t phoned until now – leaving it too late for me to do anything – presented as a kind of fait accompli.

I decide to go out with the dogs; I won’t bother with a shower.

As I’m walking with the dogs I think about going to bed but staying fully dressed and lying on top of the bed so that, if he calls, I will be ready to go.  Maybe the flat stank of smoke?  Maybe he’s just had enough – with not having enough sleep the night before?  Maybe I’m just being too much for him?

I hear the phone ringing in my pocket.  My gloves mean that I can’t get the bloody thing out.  The phone stops ringing just as I get it out of my pocket.  I look at the missed call.  It was F, of course.  I phone him back.  It starts ringing.  Dino, just at this moment decides he must do the biggest poop ever.  This means I cannot hold the phone to my ear, put them on short leads, open up the bag AND pick it up and dispose of it all at the same time.  Something has to go.  It is the call.

Not because I want to but because the poop is more, shall we say, pressing.  Damn Dino!  I pick it up and, as we are only a few minutes from home decide to wait until I am in the lift before trying again.  We get in the lift and I take their leads off and try calling again.  He answers.

‘Can I call you back in 10 minutes?’, he asks.  Of course, I reply – I can tell he is carrying stuff.

He calls me back.  I explain I was out with the dogs and why I called but couldn’t wait for him to answer.  I ask him where he is.  He explains he is in the car and is trying to find somewhere to park and then he will be with me.

‘But I still need to take a shower’, he states.  I breathe a sigh of relief and tell him that I, too, must take a shower.

I finish my glass of wine.  I feel guilty about having a glass of wine (well, in honesty, two).  I don’t know why.  But it’s like when I eat a bar of chocolate.  It’s not that I’m lying about it and it’s not like it’s such a big deal that I feel I must tell him; it’s just like I don’t want his disapproval – like I am a child.  I wonder why this is.  It’s my house and my wine and I can drink it if I want.  Still, even that doesn’t stop the feeling.  It’s like I haven’t told him the whole truth – even if I have or had.  I rinse the glass and stop myself from washing it up.

I start to undress.  I notice that Dino and Rufus are making for the door.  They have heard something (or, rather, Dino has heard something and is very excited – Rufus is just going along with it in that confused kind of way that he has now – that old people have when they know something is going on but have no idea what it is).

Then I hear it too.  It is F, outside the door, making the slurping sounds that gets Dino so excited.  I laugh.

I go and open the door.  F is there, shirts on hangers in hand, a bag over one shoulder, with other bags and things. I keep Dino away from him so that the shirts will remain dry and not get wet from the Dino-slurp.  He explains that he thought he would bring a few shirts and stuff so that he doesn’t have to worry about it for the next few days.

In spite of all the crazy child-like thoughts that have been going through my head all night, at this point, the child inside of me is jumping up and down and clapping my hands and shouting in sheer happiness – whilst the Andy on the outside just smiles and says of course that’s fine and why don’t you hang those in the wardrobe – which is what he does.

I go over and hug him and give him a kiss.  He unpacks his bag.

‘This is for the bathroom’, he says as he hands me his washbag.  I cheerfully take it there, whilst feeling stupid.  Stupid for being so happy and stupid for having thought all those stupid thoughts all night.

Later I ask him about the smell in the flat and explain why.  He says there was no smell other than ‘new wardrobe and bed and paint’.  I am relieved, to say the least.

We have tea, showers and go to bed.  He is cold, he says, as he is in bed before me.

I cuddle him and take his hand and put it on my stomach.  He withdraws it and I ask why.  He explains that his hand is so cold (which it is) that he doesn’t like touching my stomach, knowing it is so cold.  I tell him it is fine and take it and hold it there, getting it warmer and making him feel better.

I resist the urge to tell him that I love him – even if it is true and even if I really want to tell him so that he knows.

And, he hasn’t moved in at all.  He’s just staying with me for a few days although, he said, it could be for all of next week too.  I think I curb my enthusiasm for this quite well.  Or, at least, to the outside world.  Or, rather, to him.

A habit that I like

I know he’s awake.  Well, when I say ‘awake’ I mean semi-conscious, at least.

People have habits.  Each person has different habits.  Things they do that are not necessarily strange in themselves but are done to excess (comparatively) or are fashioned only by some ‘freaky’ way that their body is built or their mind works.

I have the ‘habit’ of washing my hands.  I do it a lot.  My hands feel ‘dirty’ often and I take every opportunity to wash them.  Well, that’s not entirely true.  I am aware this is some sort of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and so I actually stop myself from doing it quite often – aware that, in fact, it is not really necessary.  But, for instance, when I put hand cream on (which I have to do since the end of 2008, at least from time to time) my immediate thought is that I want to go and wash my hands.  Which I don’t do, obviously, since it would negate the effects of the hand cream and, anyway, it was because of prolonged ‘wetness’ that they became like this in the first place.

I am sure I have many other annoying or funny habits.

F has, for me, very peculiar (but quite beautiful) feet.  If I say they are similar to the Hobbits feet from the Lord of the Rings films – but less hairy – that would give you the wrong impression.  But, in some way, they are.  Not large like Hobbits feet, nor, as I have said, hairy but he really has no ‘little toe’.  I mean to say he DOES have a little toe it’s just that it’s not so little.  In fact it looks the same as the other toes and almost as big.

But there’s a thing about his feet.  When I move my toes, including the big one, they all move together.  they are not like fingers.  What F can do and does subconsciously, I am sure, is move them individually.

And so, in bed, if his feet are pressed against my leg or feet and he is semi-conscious (i.e. as he’s waking up), he will (and this is the only way I can really describe it) drum his toes against my leg/foot.

And, like almost everything about him, I love it.  It’s a peculiar thing to him (as far as I am aware although readers may put me straight on that, I suppose) and, so, ‘special’.  And, every time it happens, I like it and think of his feet and feel safe and warm and comfortable.

Thank goodness he doesn’t actually read this blog!

Hair today………….. ; All change; Doubly dippy

“I’ve just got to clean my teeth and do my hair”, I say.  He is lying under the covers.  I have just brought him a cup of coffee having been out with the dogs and drunk mine and now about to get dressed to go to work.

And, to prove he is not as asleep as he would have me believe he comes out with ‘which hairs?’

Now, I know I don’t have much hair on my chest and, unfortunately, my hair is thinning on top but…..
‘Bastard’ is my response.  He laughs.


The wardrobe came last week.  It has mirrors.  It is big.  It is fabulous.  Not all clothes are sorted yet but they will be.  Soon.  The bedroom already looks much tidier and less ‘dirty’.

There are many things to put away and they will be done, mostly this weekend.

And I took the opportunity to have a bit of a move around.

So the TV was moved to the bedroom.  This has pleased F no end.  The night before last, as I hadn’t yet got a long enough cable for the aerial, we watched a video – during which he fell asleep.  Last night, having got the aerial and a digital decoder (as V couldn’t be bothered to find the remote for the one he eventually gave me back) and F having tried to sort out the getting of channels, we watched TV.  F is happy, there is no doubt.

The desk I have moved to where I thought I would have put the Dining Table.  On it is the computer.  Being an iMac, it is easy to move having only the power cable to worry about, the keyboard and mouse fitting snugly under the screen/computer to enable carrying.

I don’t think I like it where it is.  The table/desk, I mean.

I go back to my original idea of having the table near the window.  I think it will be better there.

A agrees.  He was round on Sunday making all sorts of suggestions as to how it should be changed.  It was nice of him but it’s not really for me.  And, anyway, he didn’t really understand that I wanted F to come up with ideas – it would make him feel more at home in the same way that the telly is now in the bedroom.

It all makes me sound rather wicked, perhaps?  But it isn’t meant to be that way.

So, undoubtedly, the table will be moved.  Maybe, even, this weekend, we shall see.

That means moving the ceiling light or, as A suggested, getting a cord by which to hang it across the ceiling.  Then there’s moving the other things around and, hopefully ending up with an acceptable living room/dining room.

Then all I shall need to complete it is a proper dining table and we’re done!

But I shall ask F, when we have time.  I would prefer if he were ‘involved’.


Finally, I’m pleased for all you UK readers to learn that the UK is out of recession.  You must all be very pleased

Of course, here, in Italy, Buzz Lightyear was saying that Italy and the Italians wouldn’t be affected (oh, yes, apart from those businesses that went out of business and the people who lost their jobs).

I do worry that, for the UK, the house prices are still far too high and wonder how long it will be before ‘double-dip’ is added to the word recession by the UK media.

I hope I’m wrong.

Proof. I’m sure of it.

Google’s announcement made a big splash across China. On the day, many net users voiced their support for the company and some even demonstrated in front of the company’s headquarters. Local people were showing their respect for a company that will finally apply its global motto “Don’t Be Evil” to China, treating it the same as other markets. I am sure traffic on doubled, if not tripled, on that day as Google removed the content filtering. This proves how eager Chinese users are for an unfiltered internet environment.

I’m not sure that Google are all that wonderful.  After all, they did agree to a form of censorship in the beginning and there was a lot of criticism at the time, I seem to remember.  So now that they’ve decided they don’t want to do it any more, how does that make them something great?  Something great would have been to not have agreed to it in the first place.  Although, being as cynical as I am, it would not have grabbed headlines for so long.

However, that’s not why I have posted this quote from here.  No, the reason is that I was shocked to read that it is now ‘proved’ that the Chinese are eager for unfiltered access.

What proves it? You may well ask.  Well, apparently, it’s the doubling (or, even, tripling) of traffic on Google on the day they removed the filtering.

I say ‘apparently’ because, in fact, it is not a fact.  However, the author is ‘sure’ this is the case.

I am sure that I am the most handsome man, ever.  Therefore this proves that I am.  Aren’t I just lucky?  (It’s OK, there’s no need to comment, folks!)

Streets paved with…….what?????; Ironing what?????

It’s cold.  We’re all wearing thick coats and hats.  Mind you, there’s not that many people around.  I guess, partly, because it’s still lunchtime.

I’ve had my hair cut and am walking to the cigarette shop.  I go down the street with the fantastic Art Noveau buildings – something to be seen in Milan, one of which is pictured at the top of my blog.

I’m following this guy, rather rotund, wearing one of those hats with the fur flaps that come down to cover the ears – like a deerstalker a bit but I don’t remember the proper name.

He didn’t look like one of the homeless guys. I mean he was only carrying one plastic bag which looked like it only had a couple of things, at most, in it.  But his next action was quite surprising.

He suddenly stops, looking at something on the ground, then stoops and picks it up.

Not as you might think, a coin or something that might be of either value or interest.

No, he picks up a comb.  An ordinary black, plastic comb. On the street. Probably used.

Puts it in his pocket and continues to walk on and around the next corner.  As I am going straight on, I turn slightly to glimpse someone who is probably around 60, grey beard, not untidy chap.

What a strange thing to do, I thought.


F has changed me in many ways.  Or, rather, I do some things now that I would never have done in the past.  One of these is ironing sheets  For me, what was crucial was that they were clean.  Now, yesterday, because my bloody cleaner is so slow I find that all the clean sheets are still to be ironed.

So, as a couple of weeks ago, F, who had been really busy was so apologetic about the fact that he had had no time to iron the sheets, I ironed sheets.  Never really saw the point of it myself.  I mean, you put them on the bed and by the end of the first night they are never perfect.  So why bother?

Yet here I am, ironing sheets.

OK, so I admit that they are better having been ironed.  But still.  As someone who loathes ironing, this was really going over the top!


Hang on, my jewelry is escaping…….!

I’m sorry but this is a little disconcerting for me.

Pets are one thing.  I don’t really like the idea of dogs with coats, cats that aren’t allowed out of the house, etc.  But……..

Encrusting your pet beetle (?) with jewels and then wearing it as a brooch?  Now that they’re stopping the docking of dogs tails and the slicing of their ears, I would have thought that this, too, would be considered wrong.

I can understand a pet beetle, kept in a tank and in an environment that, at least, can be made similar to the real one – but on your jumper, pinned as some sort of jewellery and, even worse, encrusted with jewels?

The world has gone mad.

On being putty

‘Can you do me a favour?’

Well, that’s more or less what he said.

This is, after all, quite a difficult period for him.  Working 12 hours or more per day with, maybe, one day off a week.  It’s the same every year.  Well, that’s not quite right.  This year they have planned to have one day off per week.  Whether that will actually happen is another thing and depends on customers respecting the fact that Saturday is not a show day.  We (or, rather, they) shall see.

He’s lying in the bath.  I’m standing just inside the bathroom, trying hard not to be too obvious at looking at him.  I do point out that he doesn’t have so many grey hairs on his chest (I’m trying to make sure he doesn’t shave his chest come summer).  He replies that it’s because it’s wet there doesn’t seem so many.  Still, I have a few months to work on this :-D.  I still can’t help staring.  It’s embarrassing.  I just can’t tear my eyes away.  From his chest, his stomach………….well, all the parts that are, generally not available to view.  I want to crouch down besides the bath and stoke and caress and…… who knows?

But I don’t.

‘I’m going to Florence tomorrow’, he says.  It’s just for the day.  He should be home at 9.30 or 10.30 or so.  In any event, he will be late.  Well, later even than usual for this period.  He’s doing stuff for some show they have there.

Then he asked about the favour.

Would I mind coming up tomorrow night to stay at S’s flat.  Of course not, although I had thought about staying at mine, alone.  But it makes me feel a bit guilty and it’s the first time he’s asked so directly.  It’s because he will be home so late.  And, then, tomorrow, he will be back in the showroom and wearing different clothes and staying at mine just makes it all that more difficult.

So, even if my plan was to stay at mine I say that I would come to him.  Secretly, of course, I am delighted that he asked and that he wants me with him.

I leave the bathroom but not because I want to.  A few minutes later he calls to me to hand him the towel.  I want to rub him dry but I don’t.

Later, as we lie in bed, watching the telly, he touches me more in the way that I usually touch him.  Stroking and caressing.  It’s important for me as he doesn’t normally do this.  It thrills me in that it makes me feel really wanted.  I say nothing.  And, of course, it doesn’t last so long.  I am, apparently, too hot, even if I don’t feel so warm.

But still, it makes me feel that he does really want me there and that, given the time at work and the new flat and stuff, he does feel some support from me.

And terrible as it might sound, part of the reason for me planning to stay at mine was that he would be able to miss me.  But now I can’t.  Now he’s asked if I can do him this favour.  This small thing to make him happy.  Now, although I want to know that he misses me and I want him to know that he misses me, I just can’t do that to him.  He asked, after all.

I wonder if he has any idea that he only has to push the right buttons and I would be putty in his hands.

Late last night………………..

…………….it came to me as I was lying there, in the dark and the heat, unable to sleep.

I had been asleep.  We had ‘made love’ earlier, in spite of us both being tired.  And it was good and he makes me feel good.  After, we lay on our sides, me with my back to him, he cuddling me – ‘spooning’ as it is called.  He likes that and it suits me fine.  I must have fallen asleep.

I wake up.  Suddenly.  Unexpectedly.  I don’t know why.  I know it is not just before the alarm but I am, almost, wide awake.  I turn over.  He is lying on his back.  I don’t put my arm across him both for his sake and mine.  I am too hot, half of me outside the bedclothes already.

He does the pfffff sound that Italians make.  It is peculiar to them.  They make it, it seems, to express displeasure or annoyance or exasperation at something.

I ask if he is OK.  He says he can’t sleep.  I ask if he has been awake all the time and he says yes.  I think (but do not say) that it is he who, probably, woke me up.  I turn over so as not to succumb to the urge to put my arm around him to say ‘everything is alright’.  I know the sound of the pfffff.  I know what that means.  He asks what time it is (as I have just looked).  I say it is a quarter to twelve.  He makes the pffff sound again.

He asks if we should go for a cigarette.  I say yes as I am not close to sleeping and, anyway, I quite like the idea of a glass of milk.  I get up.  He changes his mind and says he’s not coming.  That’s OK.

I have my milk and cigarette, taking my time, cooling down and hoping that, when I get back to bed, I will feel much better – more like sleep.  It is not a quarter to twelve.  I realised that as I was getting up.  Anyway, it cannot be a quarter to twelve.  We only switched the light off at 11.30 something and then we had sex.  No, it was a quarter to one.

I creep back to bed.  I am still too hot.  I burn, as normal.  His flat (well, S’s flat) is too hot.  He keeps the heat on overnight.  It’s a nice idea but with my metabolism, it plays havoc.  I lie as still as possible, not wanting to wake him if he is on the verge of sleep.  But you know how it is.  When you need to be quiet you feel the urge to cough, or scratch, or sneeze or move because it’s uncomfortable.  Even your breathing seems as loud as an express train going full belt.  I do all these things, except the sneezing.  We touch legs.  We both need that; some physical touch but just not too much.  We both suffer in the same way although I am, generally, hotter than him.  He didn’t know anyone could be as bad, let alone worse!

I turn over to face him.  His knee, crooked up, fine whilst my back is towards him, not so fine when I’m facing him.  I still cannot sleep.  I open my eyes and look at his face.  The dark not so total that I can’t see anything but, still, I see no detail.  But I know what it looks like.  I smile anyway.  I’m tired, exhausted really, but happy with this, with what I have, with what we have.  I try to figure out if his eyes are closed but I just can’t tell.  Not in this light.

Or, rather, lack of light.

I turn again.  and that’s when it suddenly comes to me about these life-changing moments.  And, for just a split second I wonder what they are.  Then I think of the camp.

I also think about the time when I promised to marry someone.  Her name was Gilly.  Gilly Gaskell or Gaskill or something like that.  I remember, holding hands in the garden.  Her garden, the bottom of the garden.  I remember it as if I am watching it on a film – I’m not there but here, behind the camera, watching – but I can’t see my features but I remember her hair.  Blonde.  The fringe tied back with a clip.  I promised her that I would marry her.

It should have been one of those life-changing moments/events.  But it’s not.  Nor was it then.

We were five.