There are nights when I can’t sleep. Too many in the last while, but that is down to other matters outside of what I like to call “the science bit” of my life.
The insomniac dialysis patient has few options for the slow hours that follow after midnight. You can’t go out for some air or wander about the house very much, because you are attached to your machine, and for those eight hours of treatment, your world is bound and limited to however far your patient line can stretch.
One can only spend so much time reading, so when any other night-time distraction comes along, it is a blessing. Like last night, when the couple next door got into a massive fight.
I have been following the difficult relationship of this couple for the last year or so, because everyone loves to eavesdrop, especially on a good row. Once the shouting starts, I drag my pillow into the hall, sit down and listen to the sad song of their broken strings.
It surprises me that they are still together. While I would like to think it is because they are very much in love, I fear they are one of those twosomes who are a couple of habit rather than by any design of Cupid’s arrow.
The woman in this couple fascinates me. She has a voice that sounds like it was honed since the day of her birth for extensive nagging. It is the kind of voice that scratches at you, that travels through the wall that separates our living spaces with a clarity that confounds me. Having never actually seen her, I admit in my mind, she has manifest herself in the likeness of the Wicked Witch of the West.
For many months, the voice and the image automatically had me taking the side of her boyfriend, he being in possession of a more dulcet intonation.
But recently, I have developed some sympathy for the girl. She is plagued by that brand of insecurity that hampers the relationships of many females in an era when it’s becoming more and more difficult to look perfect and be perfect. She accuses him of flirting with other girls and of not finding her attractive anymore.
She has made the mistake of believing that by stating her fears, she will be gifted the reassurance she craves, and has also made the mistake of believing she can make this man love her in the way she wants and needs to be loved.
This saddens me. While he may accede to her demands that he call her more often, or check with her before he makes plans, or include her in his view of the future, I always wonder how she can count these small steps as victories. To nag him into submission; to berate him until he agrees and responds. Is that any achievement at all?
But don’t feel too sorry for this guy. He too is guilty. He is a cocky man, sure of himself and of his hold on this woman, and he has his own demands. He speaks about the way she dresses - that she doesn’t make enough of an effort. He has even in the past criticised her for not shaving her legs.
He is one of those guys who is not grateful for the love in his life, but who concentrates on the dressings and accessories. He is arrogant enough to spend his time commenting on how well-kept and socially acceptable his partner is, rather than appreciating her, protecting her and being proud of her. Too caught up with making comparisons and casting insults, he does not deserve to have a hand to hold.
It is difficult to see a future for my couple next door. But what do I know? I’m just the single girl on the other side of the wall, attached to a machine to stay alive and passing time until I grow tired enough for sleep and escape from another day.