My girlfriend and I were lying on the couch last night. Exhausted both mentally and physically, huddling for emotional warmth was near all we could do. The past few months have been tough. While we’ve slept side by side each night, we’ve found ourselves leading inextricably separate lives. She’s been doing shift work split between mornings and evenings, while I’ve held a regular 9-5. Even when we’ve had free nights, they’ve infrequently aligned. I’ve been spending at least two nights per week on the Pawdcast, while she has regular choir rehearsals. They’re doing a concert with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra tonight and ramping up to that has meant even more preparation than normal.
We’ve somehow reached the point where we concurrently live together and miss each other constantly. On the rare occasions where we have a night together, it’s difficult to muster the energy for more than cooking a meal, catching up on TV and going to bed. The proviso has always been that we’ll get up to more when we have the time, but that hasn’t happened. Things haven’t yet reached the point of getting stale. We want to be seeking out excitement together. We’re still very much in love, but keeping the spark alive has been harder than it was when we were consumed by passion. Lying on the couch, it came to me.
“You realise that we’re not just busy for now, right? This is how things are. We’re gonna keep being busy, but if we want things to remain exciting that’s something we need to be intentional about. We need to make it happen.”
So today we went on a date. In between her rehearsal and call time, we went out and adventured. You know the feeling of reuniting with long lost friends? That’s how it felt. The warmth came back to our cheeks, which soon hurt from laughing. We were silly and goofy. At one point I picked her up and held her at my hip, while I withdrew money from an ATM. At an open bank, two fully grown adults acting like kids. We were handsy, sexy, grabbing at one another like teenagers. Butt touching all day. Kisses everywhere to the point of absurdity. Simply walking along the footpath with her was more fun than I’ve had in some time.
We brunched with friends and hung out, catching up spending stress free quality time. We ordered coffee and, after I’d ordered, she told the barista just how I liked it. She was right. We visited the IKEA retrospect exhibit, groped each other under the cover of the ball pit and staged a faux domestic argument in the picturesque IKEA catalogue photobooth. We sat on a park bench in David Pecaut Square and, in lieu of having the time or space to do so, told one another just what we wanted to do to the other had we said time or space.
It’s easy to forget who you’re really with if you don’t make a point of reminding yourself. It’s scary that you could lose what you have without tending to it. Like anything that grows, a relationship can stagnate and die off without the proper attention. Like anything that’s worth it, effort is required. Like anything that takes effort, that’s a choice you make.
I’ve made her my choice and that’s something I need to remember every day.
Isn’t that what love is?