Boyface and I were enjoying brunch one Sunday, sitting at a rickety table on the pavement outside of our favourite café. We enjoyed things like brunch, having finally embraced the fact that we were both middle-aged and middle class and deciding between us that there was nothing wrong with eggs benedict on a lazy Sunday morning.
As our waiter skimmed passed us, turning sideways between two tables situated dangerously close together, Boyface turned to watch him lithely negotiate the space overcrowded with patrons and then turned back to me.
‘Did you check him out?’ he asked.
I mulled this question over a minute and then decided to answer honestly. We’d been married nearly a decade and after that amount of time with one person, and hearing your partner endure explosive diarrhea through the thin walls of our apartment, there’s really no reason to be anything other than honest with each other.
I took a sip of my bloody Mary and replied, ‘Yup.’
He nodded. ‘I don’t blame you. He’s hot.’
It was my turn to nod, and less than a minute later, I said, ‘Do you think it’s ok that we look at other people?’
‘Of course,’ he replied, ‘You don’t expect me to daydream about just you, do you?’
Kind of. But I could see where this was going. ‘No, I suppose not. Do you expect me to daydream about you?’
He pretended to flip the table over in mock disgust, ‘You must always daydream of me and only me!’
I giggled and innocently sipped more of the bloody Mary through my straw. ‘I don’t have any actual desire to do anything about it though,’ I said contemplatively.
‘You don’t want to maybe have a one-night stand with him?’
‘Why not?’ he asked, playfully.
In my younger days, a one-night stand was the easiest relationship to have. The only problems were getting the lover out of the house early enough in the morning so I could spend the rest of the day indulging my hangover in peace. It was either a choice of pretending to be asleep so that he could quietly slip out of the apartment, or getting up and vacuuming to ensure that he was awake.
Vacuuming always worked a charm in those situations because it came ready-made with a host of excuses as to why he couldn’t stay any longer:
- my parents are coming for a visit
- my landlord is dropping by for an inspection
- I’m having a friend to stay and she’ll be here in about an hour
Nowadays, however, not only would I not have patience for the charade of a one-night stand, there was also another very good reason why not:
‘Because Sundays.’ I replied.
I watched the incredulity and curiousity drift across his face like a cloud. I sat in silence and watched him try to work out what ‘Because Sundays’ actually meant, teasing him with the answer I kept inside until he finally broke down and shrugged his shoulders, and gestured for me to continue.
‘I love Sundays with you. We can go out on Saturday night, and spend all day hungover on Sunday and there’s no judgment. I know that if I’m craving some dirty takeaway food on a hangover Sunday, then chances are, so are you. We stay in our jammies, and we watch all that crap TV and drink tea all day. Dating is so tenuous. It took me ages to eventually reveal to you all of my little quirks until I felt comfortable being ‘plain ole me’ all of the time.’
Boyface looked at me with amusement and, trying to suppress a smug ‘I told you so’ smile, replied, ‘Wasn’t I supposed to be a one-night stand?’
I huffed; a little annoyed that he would bring that up now. ‘But you wouldn’t go away!’ I protested.
‘I know,’ he smiled.
‘I kept trying to get rid of you,’
‘…and you just kept showing up at my door!’ I was getting exasperated. Nearly a decade later, and I was still smarting from being bested at a perfect score in the game of ‘one night stands’.
He blithely sipped his orange juice, not taking his eyes off of me. I calmed a little, remembering that throughout my ‘loss’ at the game, I had actually ‘won’. I wiped my mouth with my napkin, even though there was nothing to wipe off.
‘Anyway,’ I sighed, ‘I love our Sundays. And having a one-night stand, even with a guy like that,’ I nodded in the direction of our waiter, ‘would mean starting all over again. He wouldn’t get Sundays. I’d have to train him.’
‘Train him to understand why you keep a copy of The Dharma Bums on your bedside table, even though you’ve read it hundreds of times?’
‘And to understand why you always leave a little bit of tea in the bottom of your cup?’
‘And why you always try to get the escalator railing to move faster than the steps before you alight?’
I feigned annoyance at him, but inside I was secretly pleased that he knew all of my quirks and yet still sat across from me.
‘And what about you?’
‘Hmmm?’ he replied as he sipped from his cup of coffee.
‘Would you have a one-night stand with some hot waitress?’
‘Nah,’ he replied.
I struggled to conceal my pleasure at his response. ‘Why not?’
**Only slightly true