San Francisco, California

The Ledger

Waiting for the moment when it all goes to hell is exhausting. In a relationship, I mean. Each bad joke and every forgetful act, it all has to add up, right?

I imagine it’s all counted in a ledger; every single one of their friends that you don’t get on with, each turn of phrase that failed. Every time you looked at your phone. Every poorly timed compliment. And one day the tally adds up in the wrong column. The charm and jokes and smiles no longer outweigh the forgetfulness, or the sex. And then suddenly it swings around again; there are smiles and hugs and everything. Without warning, out of nowhere, everything is fine. The ledger be damned.

Are you okay I want to ask when she’s happy or when she’s sad – are you okay – or even when we’re arguing – but are you okay – I want to ask when something mean is said (a comment with a little bite, a flash of teeth and a drunken glare).

Later, when I’m alone I wonder if that giggle in the car was too quiet. Or the silence too long. Was the wrong question asked at the wrong time? Did I misunderstand a comment and, in doing so, did something important glide right passed me? Every time I’m with her I worry, and it’s probably a mixture of low self esteem and self respect and a mix of other things that I don’t quite understand.

Where is the end, I wonder. And will I ever see it coming?