When Liam and I first set up home together, certain concessions had to be made. I’d spent a lifetime developing a neat demeanour – a place for everything and everything in its place. This stemmed from the rich chaos of my early years in a large family, when competition for the bathroom was fierce and you’d do well to find matching socks during the Monday morning scrum. Liam’s approach to organisation had always been a little more laissez faire. During our salad days I would come home from work to find a shoe on the mantelpiece or a pair of Calvins in the fridge (freshly laundered ones, obviously). This was his way of telling me to lighten up. I listened to the gentle provocation and over time, saw the light. Down the years, Liam’s raised his game and I’ve lowered mine: we’ve arrived at contented compromise. All except for one small thing. When Liam retires for the night, he just slips effortlessly out of his clothes and leaves them in a concertinaed heap on the floor by the bed, collapsed in a series of folds like a deflated accordion. Slippers poke out from under the crumpled jeans that sit tidily beneath a discarded tee shirt. It’s as if he’s disappeared through a trap door. All that’s missing is a puff of white smoke. It’s quite a trick.
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