Every evening when I get home from work, after Guido turns the café kitchen lights off and we climb up the fire escape steps to our loft apartment upstairs, he’ll always do this weird silly thing. I’ll use romantic licence here and call it an, “us” thing. He’s done it for years ever since we started living together. He’ll stop right next to our refrigerator. He’ll pull open the freezer compartment door. He’ll peer inside. Then he’ll pause for a moment, slam the door shut again and spin around and say – “Did you eat all the chocolate chip ice-cream?”
Whilst opening your freezer and discoverng a tub of chocolate chip ice-cream in there should not be completely unexpected, we never, ever, have it in our fridge. This is on account of the fact that I’m always on a diet. By the way the only food I’m eating this week is bananas and so far I’ve lost another 3 pounds. At this rate I’ll practically be The Invisible Man by the time we reach Christmas.
“How often do I have to tell you,” Guido will ask me with mock shock, “do not finish the chocolate chip ice-cream, okay?”
No matter how many times he says that, it still always makes me laugh out loud.
Sometimes, if Guido knows I’m going to be home very late because I’m stuck on the midnight train back to London Bridge, he’ll leave a handwritten note taped to the refrigerator door. It’ll usually read something tantalisingly provocative like – “Sorry, but I ate the last of the ice-cream.”
When I find it I’ll smile and take my clothes off and get under the sheets and climb into a warm bed with him and trust me it’s not a chocolate chip that’s the first thing going through my mind.
“But you don’t usually eat dessert, dear” said my mother when she once heard that conversation between us.
“Oh it’s just an “us” thing,” I said dismissively. And poured her another gin. No matter how many men my mother has dated over the years I doubt she and they ever had an “us” thing.
“Why, for the love of God,” said Ted with raised eyebrows when he opened a kitchen cupboard in our loft earlier this week, “would two middle aged gay men have two whole shelves stacked with jars of mayonnaise?”
We buy bulk.
“Oh it’s just an “us” thing,” I said dismissively, “when we have nothing better to do on a wet Sunday evening I usually get out the Hellmann’s, a spatula, and spread Guido’s big hairy feet.”
I often wondered if it was only us who did weird or silly “us” things and I don’t just mean with ice-cream and my husband’s feet. Then, the other day, I found a website devoted to sentimental vintage photographs of gay couples, all captured decades ago. There was one touching photo which particularly caught my attention. At the bottom of it was a single, handwritten, word. And it summed up the image completely. If you click on it below you’ll see exactly what I mean.
I couldn’t possibly begin to guess what these guys might have gotten up to on a wet Sunday evening, but I could tell they were definitively just like “us”. And there was nothing weird or silly about that at all.