Last week was a little strange or difficult in some respects. It was the last week of the semester and Tom had three exams and a busy weekend ahead, so he was nervous and preoccupied. He also got a cold, just in his nose, but he was very bothered by it. It was hard to feel sorry for him because in my eyes, it wasn’t so bad. If he didn’t feel ill, a runny or blocked nose was merely annoying. My nose is used to that for months every year because of allergies and it doesn’t seem like a big thing, but Tom was cursing and focusing a lot of attention on it, which I didn’t quite understand. I tried to give him helpful tips and be compassionate, but deep down I felt a little impatient.
I also felt rejected because he wouldn’t kiss me, or only give a short peck, saying he didn’t want to pass on his cold. This seemed like a lame excuse because you can’t catch a cold from kissing and he knows that. He still held my hand and slept close to me, anyway. No, I just felt unimportant to him. My rational mind told me he was in an extraordinary position and I just had to wait for the exams and the cold to pass, but I still felt rejected. He kept saying sorry, and that it wasn’t because of me, but still. The last time we had kissed with a little passion is two weeks ago. Of course a part of me immediately imagined he didn’t love me anymore. But I didn’t want to add pressure to his life by demanding a better explanation or having any wishes, so I suppressed them. I know this is bad, and the resentment soon made itself felt, but I accepted it and hid it. I went to ballet class on Monday and Tuesday and to a farewell party on Wednesday evening, and tried to consciously focus on myself.
On Thursday, Tom had his final exam and we had planned to look at rings and go to the circus. He went home to my flat at noon and took care of his nose and rested, so that he felt better when I came home. We drove to the station to look at the rings in the jewellery shop. The plain silver ones didn’t interest him, and the ones with patterns were too big for our hands, so we soon left again. Tom said he had looked for rings online and found a website that sold couple rings, with male and female versions including engravings, and at a good price. We ate grilled bratwurst for dinner and then had to go home to get the tickets before going to the circus. Tom showed me some rings from the website on his phone and they looked promising. He also apologised for not finding rings in that shop and not buying them today, but I hadn’t really expected it anyway. I think it was then that he said, ‘I really love you.’ And he added that he really wanted to give me a ring, or something along that line. It took me a little by surprise to hear that in the middle of my internal he-doesn’t-kiss-me-so-he-must-not-love-me sulk. But all my impatience and resentment vanished at those words, and we went out hand in hand. Tom hadn’t been to the circus for years and really seemed to like it. It has something magical, and I enjoyed oohing and aahing at the amazing performances and beautiful artists and horses, and laughed so hard at the clown. I haven’t laughed like that for a long time. When we came out of the tent, there were clouds and the last bits of light in the sky and I suddenly remembered vividly how I had felt leaving the circus last year, seeing groups and couples walking away, coming back to the real world, still tingling a little from the unfamiliar things the performance had made me feel, and being suddenly hit by intense loneliness. My fingers felt for Tom’s and squeezed them more than usual, and I told him about it on the way home. We also looked at more rings, and on closer inspection I secretly found most of them conventional or ugly. Tom surprised me by liking some with hearts on them, which I found terribly corny. He does have some tastes that seem ‘common’ to me. But we agreed that we would find a pair we both liked and there was no hurry to choose.
The next morning, we were both tired and Tom went back to bed after breakfast. He said his nose was still bothering him and he would see how it felt by noon, but would maybe report sick at the casino, in which case he would spend the night with me. I went to work and secretly hoped that his nose wouldn’t feel better quite yet, after wishing for the opposite all week. I looked at more rings during our lunch break. I had planned to finally go back to strength training classes that evening, and not having any excuses. But when Tom wrote to me, saying he had reported sick, I thought I would regret spending an hour less with Tom more than losing a little less weight or waiting a week. So, I only went to AS to ballet class and then did my usual cross trainer workout and stretching. I was looking forward to Tom, but still felt my old passion and energy and the joy I can give myself with music and movement, and that was very good because I didn’t feel dependent, and so there was no fear, no resentment, just happiness.
At home, I took a shower and we ate dinner and Tom had bought heart-shaped biscuits, so we had some of them with coffee. Tom’s nose was better and he kissed me a few times, and I said, ‘You’re kissing me again’, and he said yes, and apologised again for not kissing me before and said again that it hadn’t been because of me. I asked him why then, and he said he just hadn’t felt like it when his nose had been blocked. He still wasn’t truly well and seemed to want to make it clear that he wasn’t up to anything passionate, and it was ok for me. The moment earlier at AS had really taken away any secret expectations I might have had earlier. Tom was also quite nervous for his meeting next morning with many famous foreign professors he had to impress. Anyway, we sat in the kitchen and opened the ring website again and looked at rings. We eliminated most of them because of size, patterns, price etc. and finally found some we both rather liked. Here they are in the picture.
We chose our sizes, trying them out with cardboard rings I made. Tom wanted my name in his ring, flanked by two hearts. Hearts again. I would have liked stars beside his name, but there were only hearts or infinity symbols to choose from, which I didn’t want. Hearts seem too sweet and sentimental for what I feel for Tom, and the infinity symbol would make me feel pressure. After all, nobody can tell how long love will last. Tom asked me if I was ok if he chose hearts, and I didn’t mind too much so I said yes. And he said he was ok if I didn’t have hearts. Tom wanted to pay for both rings, but I would like to pay for his. They should be mutual gifts. Tom said that it was ok, but he would give me another birthday gift in that case. My birthday will be in less than a month and the rings should arrive in time. We are both looking forward to wearing them. Although, Tom wanted to wear them on the left hand, where most people wear wedding rings, so we will probably be asked a lot of questions.
We went to sleep late that night and it was lovely to have Tom for another day. A four day weekend without him always seems so long to me. On Saturday, we got up early again and I made breakfast while Tom was in the shower. We talked about fear of death, about Plato and also about mundane things like washing clothes and cleaning. Tom told me his mother was making plans for a barbecue in July, with his other sister and grandmother and aunt, and we both want to go. Of course the thought makes me nervous, but not only in a negative way. I also noticed that I feel still more at ease with Tom.
On the weekend, I cooked and cleaned and washed, but also slept a lot and watched some documentaries about love, sex and heartbreak. I want to watch them with Tom and talk to him about it. Especially the heartbreak one. Watching that, I became very afraid of heartbreak. I am lucky because I have never experienced it before, but it scares me. Would I survive it?
Now this week, I have a lot of work and it makes me a little anxious, but Tom has less work. It’s always one of us who is at ease and the other who is tense, it seems. We will meet tonight and I’m looking forward to it.