Tuesday 1 April 2008

Making Do

The sun streams through the curtains.

Gently, he lifts her off his chest and tiptoes down the stairs to the bathroom.

On his return, she purrs softly as he gets back in beside her. She is warm, that morning warm that only a woman feels.
Her hair falls into his face, her breath touches his cheek.

What need for words? They are not strangers.
It is loving and tender, why should it not be?
They sleep beside eachother, they eat together every night.
They argue and fight, they do not really understand eachother, she is a college lecturer, he sells phone systems.

He dreams of changing the world, she dreams of changing the wallpaper.

But that doesn't matter as their limbs entwine.

Afterwards, they hold eachother close. They talk, it is nothing talk, she giggles as a woman only does after sex. He speaks with that baritone lilt that only a sexually satisfied man uses.

He turns and smiles 'Up for it again if you are.'

And she?
She knows the cards she holds.
It is ten thirty. She just wants to pop to Wilkinsons, get a toilet roll holder for the bathroom. Just a quick trip. If they both go, there will be all day for love making.

Of course, the trip to Wilkinsons doesn't involve going straight to the toilet roll holders. Other items suddenly appear on the list. Pillow cases, bleach, a whole range of items not in the plan.
He thinks of the two hours of listening to music he could have had.

After Wilkinsons, other shops that can be visited are thought of. But it's OK. If he lets her go to those, he can go to HMV.
She knows how to play him.

By two o'clock, hungry and bag laden, they sit down at plastic tables in McDonalds. She smiles at him, that special smile a woman in love smiles, her man, doing what she wants. She wouldn't have wanted not to have him along. She hates every moment he isn't around, hates it even when he is late home due to drinking with work colleagues.

He says what's on his mind. 'I'm looking forward to getting back and fucking'
She tilts her head sideways: 'Oh, XXXX, can you put the toilet roll holder up first?'

He grits his teeth.

They get back. He puts the toilet roll holder up. She puts the shopping away.

At four o'clock, they have urgent, passionate sex. The sex that was there as his bribe the whole of the day.
They lie in soft silence for a few minutes afterwards.
She is happy.
He is satiated.
He looks out at the dimming sky.

The whole day gone.
He feels cheated.

He puts his shirt on 'Just going to the shop', he says.

He slams the back door behind him and strides up the path through the back gate, to the car park behind.
When he knows he is out of range from the house, he pulls a pack of ten from his jacket pocket and lights a cigarette, a cigarette he theoretically no longer smokes.

He inhales deeply and blows out.
Is this his life?
Her-Work, Work-Her?

A woman he has to lie to about smoking?

He feels caged, trapped, she is wasting his life before his eyes, and deep inside, he hates her for it.
Bribing him with sex, because she controls his sex supply.
And because she controls that, he has no weekend.

What he would give for one day without her.

And yet, he doesn't want to be alone.

She loves him, loves him with all her heart, clings to him as he sleeps, cries at the thought of losing him.
How can he let her down?

And as he pushes open the door of the Esso garage, the deeper truth, the deeper misery, the root of her insecurity, the reason she can never let him go, the reason she holds onto him with her death grip chills him, for they both know it.

She knows he doesn't love her, and he knows she knows.

They both make do, in their own way.

He makes do with a woman he doesn't love, because she loves him.

She makes do with a man who doesn't love her, because at least she has him.

Who is more miserable?

He pays for his items and leaves.

This is life, he thinks. This is reality. Life isn't dreams, it's making do. It's what there is. It works- kind of- so live with it. She'll never get him, never understand the things he says, just look on, eyes shining, chin in her hands, loving to hear him speak, but never quite getting what he says.
But will any woman?
Is that not an idle fantasy?

To be loved by someone, is enough.


If I learned anything in my life, it is that making do, leads to ruin, it leads to misery, it leads to devastation.

It took me years to realise this, that hope matters, don't write yourself off.

Fight for your beliefs, don't live in comforting apathy.

And don't give yourself to someone who isn't your dream.
And if the one you love isn't going to be yours, even so, don't make do. Don't have someone, just for the sake of having someone.

Don't make do.


Anonymous said...

Never settle for second best!

Anonymous said...

Although this is very evocatively written the sentiments are just so depressing.

If that is all there is then never settle for this. But it is one point of view, the man's. I wonder what she would say, her real inner self.

And going shopping as being together? Not in my books. I have always preferred go on my own, it's much more efficient, get it out of the way then do the fun things together.

Life is only making do if you let it be that way. So don't make do.

Anonymous said...

Well done!

I loved this :-)

Yes, I got together in my messed-up relationship before because he pointed out that if I were to keep waiting for the best, I'd pass on all the perfectly good offers that just weren't 'best', and never settle down. I shouldn't have believed him. It's all a mess now.

This post is one I almost could have written; I feel the same way. Cheated, at the end of a day where I was just hanging around for sex/love (depending on the time of month), and then didn't get it (at least you got it, but yes, after that it can still feel 'not worth it'... that brings up a question- how would you like to spend your weekend? perhaps these things should be discussed before falling in love... lol)

> To be loved by someone, is enough.
Yeah, I used to think so too. Remind me, if I ever forget, that it's not enough, even if the person loves you wholeheartedly, and sees you as perfection (I haven't found anyone like that since, though, and i do think - if you were to settle with someone who saw you as their way of 'making do', it'd be a big mistake too)

Anonymous said...

Cherrypie- And yet we do, so many of us, because we feel we have to. We are encouraged too.
There is this idea everyone must pair off, and people feel that they should find someone before they get left on the shelf.

And so you settle.

jmb- Depressing, but reality. I'm sure it's not unique.

I actually think she was very unhappy, in fact I know she was.
But people feel they have to soldier on, that too much is invested in it. They feel that maybe, round the next corner, it will become the relationship they hoped it would be when they started. That this is just a rocky period.

I agree, you shouldn't make do. But sometimes we get trapped into it.

Eve- Thing is, you'll always know, always think of the best, your best, which isn't other people's of course.
The person you are with will always be measured up to your best, in your mind, and found wanting.

To be honest, I don't think you have to spend every waking hour in eachother's pockets. It should be natural. You spend the time together which you want to spend together.

It's not enough for someone to love you. Someone can love you and still make your flesh creep. In fact, if they are quite intense about it, they will guaranteed make my flesh creep.
It depends how they love. Do they love your dreams, or do they just love having you?

There needs to be a true connection, a real merger of minds, otherwise, it will ALWAYS be making do.

Anonymous said...

She makes do with a man who doesn't love her, because at least she has him.

What a depressing thought.

Anonymous said...

A brilliant piece of writing Mr Ingsoc and you are right of course... I have realised this as well but I had to be pushed as I would never have jumped. Now I am trying to puzzle out what is good enough and first best....

Anonymous said...

Sex as control isn't a new idea, obviously. The femme fatale is a staple of literature, after all. Then again, so is the gigolo.

In other words, control via sex doesn't just happen in one direction. Sometimes I wonder if courtship is nothing more than the negotiation of power and identity.

I don't think people make do so much as they negotiate unsucessfully. By unsuccessfully, I don't mean that they take advantage of the other, or are taken advantage of. Rather, whatever settlement there is, the bad negotiator still feels screwed--in the bad sense.

Anonymous said...

Oestrebunny- A lot of people- of both sexes- will do that.

It is depressing, yes.

But she hopes, you see.

What happened, is he did think, once he would love her. She was falling in love with him, and he could see that.

So he thought, let's give it a try, surely if she loves me, I'll love her back.

But it doesn't happen. She loves him, but she loves her version of what he should be, not HIS version.

And he ends up resenting her for it.

I didn't learn from the situation described above.
I was 22 then, the story has repeated itself many times.

Better to wait forever for the one you want, then keep accepting the love of ones you will soon discover you don't.

Mutley- It's a bit like gravity. Once you're in, it's hard to escape.

In this case, and I remember talking to a work colleague, there were two factors. Firstly, I did worry about her. I worried about her on her own. She was always threatening to kill herself if I walked out the door.
Once, I actually dared her, and it was terrible to behold.
I could se her with the knife to her throat, tears and her eyes, she didn't want to, but couldn't lose the bluff. I could see she really would do it, just to prove the point.

The other factor, was if I decided to leave, how do you do it? I could see her just destroying my entire music collection in rage.

Seriously, this stuff is what keeps people together.

I seem to attract this sort.

x-dell- It's all bargaining, I think. But we sem to go for the wrong bargain.

Sex, you can get anywhere, so it shouldn't be part of the bargain. This is why I don't like the monogamy-fidelity obsession. You can't base love on a sex deal.

Of course courtship is a negotiation.
But if we go to the right shop in the first place, we'll find what we want.
I think what I want isn't for sale, but hell, I'm sick of making do with what I don't want, so to hell with it.

I've got good mates, and quite a few girls in my local pub are decidely generous in their favours, on the occasions when a man must do what a man must do :)

Anonymous said...

Goodness me, at the end of the post I find I agree with you!

Anonymous said...

Had to comment as I know the real story here that you never really tell on your blog.
Funny how you ALWAYS justify your fake and over the top sentimenmts as being under duress of fear of a women who just won't /can't/ would rather DIE than let you go!
If you don't want to be with the wrong one- then stop making out you love every girl, want to marry every girl you meetand the begging her tobelieve your two penny sentiments are sincere and asking for a hundred second chances!
For your own ego you do this a lot to see how many women you can attract with your insincerity.
You should be put to sleep you fraud!

Anonymous said...

Welshcakes- You learn, eventually anyway, I think.

Ubermouth- How do you know the real story? You werhidden in our house were you?

We got together because one day in the pub, she told me she loved me. So I gave it a shot.
I tried very hard to love her, and in a way, I did. Just not romantically.

And I didn't manipulate you either. I made a mistake, and you wouldn't let me back out of it.

Yes, I'm very susceptible to flattery. It leads me to make bad decisions.
Such as you.

Which is of course, what I'm saying in the post.