How do you like your eggs in the morning?
I like mine with a kiss!
It’s now 11 days since I moved in with Livvy and her flatmate, and already it feels like the best decision I’ve made for a long time. There are practical benefits, of course: my rent has halved, we no longer have to endure the Northern Line in order to see each other, and it’s brought an immediate end to all those interminable and dull logistical conversations about where to stay on any given night.
Beyond that though, the whole thing has just made me unbelievably happy – even more so than I was already. I’ve always had a complex relationship with happiness. For a long time, I wasn’t sure I really deserved it, and as a result I was suspicious of anything that felt like a genuine opportunity to better my emotional lot. I sabotaged relationships, shied away from commitment, and maintained a wary distance between my own life and conventional, nuclear, 2.4-children domesticity. These last few years – pretty much covering the lifetime of this blog, in fact – have seen that slowly start to change, and I’m now in a position where I at least believe on some level that I can love and be loved in this way.
Maybe I’ll come back to that another time.
Right now, even the smallest, silliest things are making me happy. Coming back from the shops with a pack of Livvy’s favourite chocolate bars. Bringing her cups of tea in bed on a Sunday morning. Cooking together with the TV on in the background and nothing to do except relax and enjoy each other’s company. Seeing my clothes next to hers in the wardrobe (or, more often, in a pile on the floor). Each time I open the bathroom door and find her gloriously naked in the shower. Kissing on the sofa. Kissing at the dining table. Kissing in bed.
Kissing full stop.
I kiss her so often and so casually that I sometimes worry it must be getting annoying. Then I think about how glorious it is when she buries her face in my neck and covers it with kisses, or how much I love being hugged and kissed goodbye in the morning, even when I’m half-asleep and curled up in the duvet. I think about smiling into her lips, and feeling them smile right back at me, till one of us has to break off because it’s all just getting too ridiculous. Where’s the catch, I want to say to her – to the world. How can something feel this perfect?
Half a lifetime ago, I was 18 and head over heels in love with my first girlfriend. I kissed her every chance I got, because I’d spent all those lonely teenage years wanting someone to kiss me, and felt like I ought to make up for lost time. Now I’m 35 and no longer have that excuse, but somehow I’ve come full circle anyway – we snog like teenagers and every kiss is a wonderful marriage of excitement and nourishment. Of comfort and joy. Like sliding into a hot bath at the end of a long day – only the kind of bath where at any given moment someone might just jump in with you and fuck your brains out.
I’m enough of a realist to know that this is very much a honeymoon period. It won’t all be rainbows and lollipops. We’ll piss each other off. We’ll get sick, or stressed, or just plain miserable – and we won’t always be our best selves as a result. I’ll forget to buy her favourite chocolate bars, and she’ll stop noticing when I remember. That’s just how life works – none of us can be on top form every day, and we all have periods when we retreat into ourselves or take our loved ones (and love itself) for granted.
But one thing I hope will never change is the kissing. Everything else could go to shit, and as long as I still want to kiss her at the end of the day – or the beginning of it, for that matter – we’ll be fine. Well, assuming she wants to kiss me too. It’s a barometer of so many other things, and right now everything is set fair – long may that continue.