Of all the relationships in this Venn diagram thing that make up our little family, Mark’s and Dad’s is the most complicated. I don’t think they particularly like each other, but keep an icy toleration going for the peace of all.

It was therefore amusing to see how the two of them reached a curious arrangement where Dad will give us a lot of money in order for us to upgrade our kitchen with new shelves and cupboards, and a new oven fridge and freezer.

On the surface, it seems such a dispassionate and cold calculation: we need to do this to maintain the value of the house, and as the oven and the fridge and the freezer are ten years old they need to be replaced.

We manage to forget that Dad owns the place, most of the time, and that he’ll be looking to sell it once we decide to move out of here. We still think of it as “Mark’s parents house”, or even, sometimes, “our house”.

At least Mark has grown out of the phase where he flatly rejects any help or dealings with dad in our lives. It seems my man can be not only obstinately prideful, but also calculatingly pragmatic. Maybe he’s grown up too?

***

We have been away for weeks, and have only been back for a couple of days. Most of that time we had a lovely time swapping houses with Mark’s parents. They came to stay here in our house for two weeks, and we went to stay in theirs for two weeks. Together with Auntie, Mark’s mum have ‘done’ West End and London, while us boys have sampled original Scrumpy and tried not to think too much that we’ve led a Wurzels’ life.

Of course, when we came home we found sawdust in the cellar, next to the tenancy flat. Mark’s dad have gone over the boiler thoroughly and have made sure it’s up to snuff. He’s also open some canals to dig out wires that needed replacement. He’s also done work in the tenancy, because it’s empty and has been for over a year. We haven’t ordered Auntie to find a new lodger, and Dad hasn’t seen to it either. So, that part of the house stands empty – which is a shame. I’ll have to talk to Mark about it, one day.

There was a receipt on the kitchen table when we came home from an electrician, and I’m not even going to attempt to read the crow’s feet there. It was for a couple of hundred pounds, so it can’t have been extensive work.

Not only does my dad decide to foist a kitchen redecoration on us, but Mark’s dad does a house check without asking. Maybe the two sets of parents aren’t so different after all. And then there’s little but still important cues, like when we arrived home and everything smelled differently.

***

The time in Wiltshire was lovely. We didn’t have internet, apart from that which we could reach on our phones. No socket in the wall with internet goodies. I remember thinking: what person in this day and age can live without internet? Apparently Mark’s parents can, because they don’t have it.

I mean, they’re not old. Touching the upper reaches of their forties. I don’t know anyone in that generation which isn’t as addicted to the net as us millennials. In fact, it’s that generation which still has a romantic ideal about the internet, and it’s that generation which perceives it as some kind of utopia of learning and freedom of speech.

But the lack of internet means that I’ve neglected this blog terribly. But then, I say that often, don’t I? I go away, feel guilty for not posting for ages, and then come back with a mea culpa about the blog. Truth be told, I don’t feel any pressure to perform. Not now. I just want this summer to be pressureless. I want this summer to be quiet before everything changes in September when I’m off on my work-placement.

***

We’re coming up on our second anniversary soon. August 16th it will be two years ago since we married. I don’t have any big idea, or big plan. Talking to Mark, neither of us thinks it’s a big deal.

Except, it is. And isn’t. At the same time. We’re queer folk, and I say that not in the LGBT sense. We’re the odd couple. We haven’t managed to fuck it up yet.

I’m writing again. I felt the urge to start a story while we were wihtout internet in Wiltshire. I started one morning with a simple paragraph that came into my head. In the spirit of pressurelessness I just went with it; didn’t try to outline; didn’t try to plan; didn’t try to guess where it was going. I’m twenty thousand words in, and enjoying the process.

The film in my head is playing, and I have no idea how it’s going to end. I feel strangely liberated by that. But my raw text looks terrible, and my inner editor is muttering and gargling and howling somewhere down at the bottom of my spine. I’ll gag him and lock him into the cage where he should be.

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