“It’s true that for a long time I dreamed of revolution, of a great uprising of which I would be, if not quite the head, then at least one of its vital components, a fearless second-in-command, an indomitable right-hand man. I had expected unconsciously all through my teenage years that I would have someone to represent, someone to speak up for, that the purpose of the education my parents had fought to give me, my existence in the world, was on someone’s behalf, and it has taken a long time for this sense of mission, however vague, to fade, for me to accept that there will be no great transforming moment in which relations between men are permanently altered.
This, then, is who we are, I tell myself, this is what we have become. We eke out our little lives here, on the other side of the river, in the shadow of Canary Wharf, grateful that we don’t have nothing. We save what money we can, we try not collapse under the boredom and futility of it all, we prop each other up, search out the kindness in each other’s eyes. She is a good, good woman, she’s strong and passionate and patient. Doesn’t she deserve more than this, something a little less limited, less hedged in by worry, less constrained? I wish I could have shown her things, things I myself have never seen. Corny stuff, passé things to others, things she would known the value of, that she would have treasured. The pyramids at dusk, an air balloon drifting over teeming plains. To have driven fast in a car with her, the top down, the wind whipping past us and the sea coming into view around the next bend. But instead we have this, we have each other, and it’s within each other’s orbit, within each other’s store of memories, hopes and needs that all our journeys will have to be taken.
She was standing at the kitchen sink when I came home from work today, one hand on her belly, three months gone now, lost in thought, the sun warm in her hair. I paused there in the doorway and watched her for a moment, total stillness, barely a sound from the street, all the love I bear for her, all the love I have for life, tumbling against my ribs. Who can I give all this love to now but her alone, even though it burdens her? Where can we look for any joy in this world, if not in each other?”