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Cooking and I, well, let’s just say we have a complicated relationship. I mean I do love her, I do. But when calling up descriptors of us as a couple, clichés like absence makes the heart grow fonder and familiarity breeds contempt seem to fit better than, say, you’re the light of my life or you make everything make sense when you’re near me. What I like, as I’ve noted in a previous post about good intentions, is planning. I like thinking about Cooking and planning what our time together will be like, but once the day finally arrives to actually DO something with her, well, I have a harder time with that. We work better long distance, I think. Do you know a couple like that? They’re fine as long as they’re not together all that much? Maybe you ARE part of a couple like that, so maybe you know exactly what I’m talking about. I mean there are occasions, when we’re together, and especially when we’re alone, that I can really get into her. And it’s those occasions that I try to keep in mind on days when a meal I’ve prepared rather tanks, or days when everyone in the house is suffering from some spat of sorts she and I have had. I feel like defending our relationship by saying, Hey, it’s not always like this! Sometimes we’re really good together! You don’t know her like I do!
We spent a very sexy evening together before the holidays, making gifts for some friends, mixing it up, rolling it out, you know, things were getting pretty hot. Lots of attention to the details, if you know what I mean, not rushing anything. My hands all up in that business, taking the temperature of things, taking a taste now and again. A little sweet stuff, a little instrumental holiday music playing in the background—some Celtic and some jazz, and boy was I ever in the mood. We just stretched it out like that for hours. Not a single thing on my mind but Cooking and whatever she needed to make things work, you know? I don’t mind saying that I was pretty exhausted by the time the evening was over, but I was surely satiated. Some of the positions I had to stay in for long periods caused me some aches the next day (she likes this one thing I do…well, nevermind). But wow, the memory of that night will sustain me for a long time. I store that memory as evidence that I really do have the capacity to enjoy her, that we really can be quite good together. It’s hard though because you can’t have a whole relationship based on separation from the rest of your life, you know? I mean there are other responsibilities—work, children, friends—that keep you from your love and that have need of you. You really have to find a way to integrate your love relationships into the rest of your life or you’re always going to feel torn. But. It’s complicated.
The thing with Cooking, see, is that she wants the kind of attention I was able to pay her that night like all the time! And when I try to do something quick, like drive-through or takeout or something, boy do I feel guilty. I convince myself that these options aren’t “good enough,” that Cooking is what’s “best for me” and my family. I mean she could really care less about how exhausted or stressed out I am. She wants me attending to her like constantly! As if she’s the only thing I’ve got going on in my life! She’s too much work, finally, in the end, you know? And it’s not like love means never having to say you’re sorry, because I’ve apologized to my family plenty of times for my ill-temper when she and I aren’t in a groove and nothing I do seems to work and we’re all sitting there looking at a plate full of fallout. I mean they’re good about it, my family. They don’t talk about it much. They know I’m going to move in and out of that relationship in a troubled way and that, though selfish, she isn’t mean to me or unkind anything. She’s just so high maintenance. I wish we could have more time alone together, when I’m not exhausted from life so we can give each other the kind of love and tenderness we both deserve. I always feel like we’re just throwing things together.
When I’m sitting by myself with a cup of tea, looking through our photo albums or journals or relationship manuals or whatever you want to call them (I affectionately call them “cookbooks”), our relationship feels so promising. So adventurous. So fun and rewarding. And every once in a while and sometimes more often, it really is all of that. Besides, it’s not like I could leave her, so let’s just get that off the table, as it were. I suppose I could be near her if she hooked up with someone else in the house, you know, if you love something set it free…. But honestly, I don’t think I could bear it, being second like that. We’ve been through too much together and nobody knows her like I do. So I guess we’ll just keep plodding along, doing the best we can despite how complicated we are. Besides, I know lots of women who have very complicated relationships with their own version of her; maybe that’s just the way it is with Cooking. I mean no one said it was going to be easy.