Relationships—my relationship—are like a goodies-filled jar that’s sealed too tight: if both parts aren’t moving—in opposite directions, towards the same goal—that shit will stay shut. It’s a bleak, admittedly wobbly metaphor, but entertain it with me; picture that stubborn jar of delicious jam that—if you can manage to unfasten the top—promises to upgrade your dry, rapidly cooling toast to a wet-with-strawberry-rhubarb goddamn breakfast pastry.
If the jam is sweet (and the toast dry) enough, most days, you’ll expend the required elbow grease—you’ll sweat a little to unlock it. Other days, though, you’ll give up before you reach for a rubber glove—you’ll settle for the toast sans rhubarb, because you’re too self-satisfied to break a tiny, extended sweat.
I’m equal parts romantic and, like the jar, stubborn. And there are days—there have been, there will be—when I’m most inflexible with the people I most love.
* * *
Yesterday, my love-accomplice (trying to coin some hip terms for boyfriend/girlfriend/partner/heart-fucker) imparted some relationship theory:
“What’s shitty about relationships, I think, is that when you’re in one, it’s easy to stop trying to woo that person…”
He was quick to add a clarifying appendix.
“…but I’m still trying to woo you, don’t worry.”
He’s partial to Excel, less so to Word.
But sometimes, he crunches them numbers and puts ‘em all in a big ol’ spread sheet and his analyses are solid, if bare; relationships do breed complacency, right? Don’t they inevitably engender some toxic brand of comfort that, if the love-accomplices in question aren’t careful, might imperil long-term love-crime? Isn’t it true that sometimes, when you love somebody a lot and you know that they love you, you too-trust that they’ll be around for the foreseeable always? So that on those days when you’re too lazy to break that proverbial sweat, you don’t?
…Or is that just me and mine. (I think not, but ain’t no such thang as a stupid question.)
* * *
So, for all the times I am—have been, will be—guilty of taking you, for lack of a hipper idiom, for granted: I love you, and you make me happy. And since we define here by difference—by the ways in which here is not there—I know that I want to be with you (here), because I don’t want to be not with you (there).
Yes, I know that I fuck up, too—I know when I’m short, myopic, defeated, or—like the jar—immovable, and too vain to own or fix it.
I know I accuse more often than I concede.
I know I am—have been, will be—guilty of all the things I do—have, will—guilt you for. I know when I’m self-indulgent and smug and no, I don’t know which parent’s (more) to blame for my truculence (good word). No, I don’t know why I’m apt to perform anger when what I’m feeling is sadness. Yes, I’m consumed with self-ownership and no, I don’t know why, sometimes, I’m happy to meet your request for a glass of water and, other times, I respond with the spleen of a thousand disenchanted housewives. Emotions are lawless. You know how it goes.
And yes, if I think of a satisfying return to the jar metaphor, I’ll put it in the appendix.