To think that the crumbs in the butter had been third on her ‘cons’ list for him. She didn’t even notice them anymore, if anything she contributed to the crumb lined knife marks as much as he did. Number two had been the six thirty alarm every morning. It wasn’t so much the time that annoyed her, more the choice of ringtone. He found the fact that it started with the lyrics ‘wake me up’ hilarious, and now she did too. Every morning they chuckle together.
Following the crumbs at number four was his graphic and highly inappropriate mug collection. It’s a tradition with his mates, every trip they take together they buy matching ones. She could see the funny side of it, but still hadn’t quite lived down the day her mum had visited and opened the kitchen cupboard to be met with a row of exposed breasts and curse words. Why she made a grab for the one with the curved willy for a handle she didn’t know, nor did she want to. Number five was the sleep talking, a little further down the list as it’s not his fault. That being said 4AM really was a bit too early for his David Attenborough impression, especially when the only phrase he can do is ‘Planet Earth needs our help.’
Ending the list at number six was the fact he puts milk into his mug with the teabag before the boiling water. She was pulling at straws by that point, what did it matter in the grand scheme of things. Each item after number one had been added to the list as it happened, as she searched for more than one reason to leave. She couldn’t go on the back of that one night.
Writing the ‘pros’ list was a blur, everything before number eighteen had just fallen out of her. The fact he puts her cereal bowl out on the table every night before he goes to bed so that it’s ready for her at breakfast, number six. The way he tells his friends he wants to marry her when he’s drunk but denies it with a smile the next morning, his inability to sit through a film without asking questions and his, albeit reluctant, conversion to vegetarian sausages, numbers eight, nine and twelve. At number three was the way he called his mum every Sunday, even though he’d be talked at rather than to. The way he had apologised was number two, driving all the way up north when she had told him not to, telling her to take her time but calling every day, dropping off a selection of his t-shirts at her mum’s because he knew she liked to sleep in them.
She curled her hands around her coffee mug, fingers concealing the butt cheeks printed on the side. It was the only source of warmth she could steal from until they curled up in bed together that night. Worth it for the money they saved on heating bills. As she opened her laptop, screen illuminating to show images of picture perfect houses with petrifying price tags, she heard the front door smack against the wall down the corridor. Footsteps sprinted up the hall into the kitchen. He threw his arms up in the air, briefcase almost knocking him out as he did so, face flushed from the four flights of stairs.
‘I forgot to tell you I love you!’