All the time in the world

Last night, I entered the house through the side door as usual. Immediately, I got the feeling that something was off, and only in the half-light did I see what it was.

It was as though a person who had been standing with their back to the laundry door had been eviscerated, leaving just their shoes behind, on either side of the threshold of the laundry and kitchen.

“Oh, whoops,” the bf said, when I asked him about his shoes.

These are things I'm getting used to again, after him being away for three weeks. Things like the toothpaste never being on the same side of the sink as I left it, the bathroom being a perpetual puddle.

And other things: less time to myself to read, listen to podcasts, work. No longer being able to watch what I want to watch when I watch to watch it. No more eating in bed, not just on the bed (I know – gross). Having to confer with another about meals, weekend activities.

From being single for five years to my situation today, I've basically gone from one extreme to the other. Virtual isolation, not having anyone to spend the holidays with, going many weekends without speaking to anyone aside from sales assistants - to cohabitation and rarely spending 15 minutes at home without being interrupted.

I can tell you which one's nicer.

Messy as he is, his mess reminds me that he's there. And as disruptive and time-consuming as our frequent little exchanges, verbal and physical, are at home, they're the pleasant ephemera that make up a relationship. It's the, 'I don't have anything particularly important to communicate, but I just wanted to say hi' – in the form of menial chit-chat, or a hug.

And maybe it is the most important thing of all to communicate. It's the constant reminder that, hey, I'm here. I like being here. And I like you.