Here is my day after Valentine’s Day column from the Irish Examiner. How was it for you?
Welcome to February 15th, a day where couples everywhere are either madly in love after a romantic Valentine’s Day yesterday, or in serious trouble after one or other got it very wrong.
My sympathies if you are in the latter group, yer man and myself have been there several times. I recall one Valentine’s Day when he lavished me with gifts, a meal out and flowers. Wonderful you might say, and you’d be right, but all I’d bought him was a scratch card! Another year I insisted I wanted nothing, then went into a serious sulk when he got me nothing, which greatly amused him and further annoyed me. Despite these Valentine’s Day hiccoughs we’ve made it through three decades. What’s our secret you may wonder? Well listen up and I’ll tell you…
Lies. Our relationship has flourished on a bed of lies.
Don’t tell yer man, but hardly a day goes by when I don’t lie to him, and before you bite my head off may I add, he does likewise.
He tells me I look great. The dinner I overcooked was lovely. I haven’t aged a day in thirty years. My hair is not a mess. My column last week was most entertaining.
I tell him I bought my new expensive jeans in Penny’s. His old faded t-shirt must be in the wash (it’s thrown out). Assure him I’d no idea how his car got that scratch. Insist he did a great job “fixing” the still broken step and my night away with the girls was so tame it was almost boring.
Every day a multitude of such lies pass our lips. I’d go so far as to class us as quite the experts in the field of deception, although I suspect I’m a little more expert than yer man. While a lie trips off my tongue without a trace of hesitation in my voice, yer man has a bit of a stutter about him when he is being less than truthful. His face is also a clear give away.
Take, for instance, the night last year when yer man wanted to sit down and go through our finances. We’d been together years, but he was suddenly in a panic about my less than A+ knowledge of our affairs.
“What if something happens to me?” he said.
Having managed to dodge him and his orderly folders for many nights I finally gave in. Sitting at the kitchen table I struggled to pay attention, wondering if the clock had stopped and what I was missing on Greys Anatomy?
Now and then he’d look up, to be met by my best listening face, with what I hoped looked like interest written all over it. To ensure I’d never have to do this again in my lifetime I’d occasionally interject with a remarkably apt question hoping he’d not heard me stifling a yawn. Given half a chance there were only three questions I’d really wish to ask,
“Are we broke?”
“Can we pay the bills?”
“Have we enough money to keep me in wine?”
I resisted the temptation to ask any of those and as he closed the books, I assured him the half hour had flown and was well worth it. My lie that night no different to the many times he’s followed me around a garden centre pretending not to be bored, or said he enjoyed that romantic movie, or insisted he didn’t mind missing the games highlights to bring my friends and I home from a night out.
Yes, so many lies between us, but I wouldn’t wish to lie with anyone else. Honestly.