I spent the last week of August at the capital, partaking in a seminar on imaging techniques. It was the last warm week of the year and I made the most of it by going out with friends for ice cream or taking pictures at the beautiful parks or having dinner with the Witcher on his balcony. I also did a little something for his reputation by dropping next to the Skeleton King and the Crimson King that the Butterfly and me would meet later that day, prepare some maki rolls and then have a private pool party on the roof of the Witcher’s apartment complex* (all of this was true, however totally innocent).
Never before had I stayed at the Witcher’s place for so long. We soon slipped into a daily routine, like I had always been there and was never to leave. Every morning the alarm clock would ring far too late for my taste and too early for his, I would wake up in his arms, then sit up and undo my braid in bed, while he rested his head on my thigh and put his arms around my waist. I would then get up while he stayed in bed for some extra minutes, which I started to make fun of towards the end of the week, though being rather sure he stayed there fore a somewhat uncomfortable reason. We had breakfast together on the couch and talked until I jumped up, made a fuss about being late, got dressed and styled and always managed to get to the seminar just in time.
After more than 2 years and many sleepovers, he confessed to me on the second day of my visit that he could not sleep well on the left side of the bed. I was a little angry at first, also because for all my life I have slept on the right side of beds, but softened soon afterwards. This little thing was just so charmingly mundane, such an average little couple problem. He has slept on the right side of his/our bed ever since.
This one week felt so much like actually being a couple, that I started to question the importance of us being not. Why keep on living a lie, when we both knew what we really wanted? And did it really hurt anybody? I never left my family alone, except for when I was away for work and couldn’t catch a train home. I called them every evening and told them truthfully that I missed them. Did it really matter what I did or who I was in the Witcher’s home? In what felt like our common home?
On the last day I had made up my mind on talking to him about it as soon as I got home. The seminar group had some drinks together in the park next the the University, but I left early, together with another girl from the Institute. I called the Witcher, telling him I would be home soon and sent him to the grocery store to get some things for me. This girl and me then had a beautiful walk through the capital, skipping two metro stations to enjoy the weather. It took rather long for me to finally get home and when the Witcher opened the door (for my keys where somewhere deep in my bag, underneath my labcoat and I just rang the doorbell) I noticed at once…
“You are angry at me.”
“Of course I am. You sent me to the store and then never answered your phone. I was in there forever.”
It was the first time he had ever been angry with me. My initial impulse was to laugh, because it had happened for such a stupid, unnecessary reason and at such a bad time, but that would have been terribly out of place. So I did what I deem the only possible thing in these situations.
He was already turning away from me, but I dropped my bags, took two steps that brought me in front of him, looked into his face and said with a firm voice:
“I am sorry. It was too loud to hear my phone. I should have checked it more often, but I didn’t. There is no way to give you back the time you have lost, so please, go on, be angry at me if it makes you feel better.”
As I built myself up while saying this, I could see him relax, so I hugged him, thus breaking the spell entirely. He went to the kitchen to prepare some snacks for me on my journey home while I packed the rest of my stuff, then he accompanied me to the train station.
“Why won’t you let me carry your bags?”
“I don’t want you to do me any favors while you are angry at me.”
“But I am not. Not anymore. I stopped being angry long ago.”
“Still, I will carry them myself.”
A bit of unnecessary drama because I was in a foul mood, for the evening had not gone as planned. We had dinner at the train station, he asked me how work at the house went – to change the subject, I guess – and I almost broke into tears at the thought of my never to be finished home.
I boarded the train and wrote to him, asking to delete the log files to all our conversations as I would do the same. We then said hi to each other as if for the first time.
On the platform I was awaited by my husband and our little daughter.
* No man in his right mind would be able to control his imagination when getting fed impressions of the Butterfly in a bikini handling long objects.