How necessary is a relationship? We're looking at the proposal in a severely limited, Hollywood rom-com kind of way, an internet dating kind of way, a mortgages and dogs kind of way, a him and her kind of way, a lead and a follow kind of way, a black and white kind of way. Coupled up or singled out, that's the way I went in, and I came away with a new set of potentials. Not either or. Not binary. Not this or that. It expanded my thoughts on the matter for the first time in months.
I walked back from the recycling bins, noticing the detritus on high balconies, the leaves on the trees, and just felt like I had a lot to be self-satisfied with. I sat in the kitchen with delicious soup heated by the new perfect porridge pan, a warm bowl of romance for one, and it's not sad actually, it's fucking perfect and if anyone else was here it would be actually slightly ruined. It's no fun when they're not enjoying the film as much as you are. It actually ruins it for you. Romance is not dead, and it's not just for two. At all.
You're lucky you caught us, she said, as I checked the sign and clock through the glass. I pretended I hadn't done this pre-check, fully believing the 'open' sign, (unlike the confusing sign earlier, 'Sorry we are open'). We shut at five but we've just been chatting, she said, and I could see how eight hours together wasn't enough for this pair, after we'd talked moth prevention for over fifteen minutes I didn't want to leave either. Eight years of dry cleaning, seven years of sale rail, twenty minutes of moth tips, six part-eaten admissions, two amazing friends. I wondered whether they talked dry cleaning all day, because with them, I certainly could've.
They said on Wednesday night that good friendships, like theirs, seem to continue way back before you literally knew each other, and continue to some infinite point long after death. I watched them watching each other read, a glow from both. To see two people in respect and awe of each other is quite voyeuristic heaven. Contrast this with overseeing a romantic couple merging into one; bodies and styles locked, a street pair that fuse into ultimate dullness, two separates amalgamate into a waste. Fit them one body with four limbs, rolling down the street, two wholes rendered new useless.
How necessary is a relationship? Necessary enough to connect with other humans but not lose yourself. Necessary to support and nurture but not hold up or drag down. Necessary to inspire and spur on, help fill in the gaps, not fill them with selfish glue. The romance is all about you. Not yous. Relationship does not mean sex. They don't have a class called How Necessary Is Sex, but maybe they should. Relationships are free and all over the place, and you can make them in the dry cleaners at 5.29 on a Saturday. Or indeed take up the 84 year old's offer of the role as his part-time girlfriend.