Every relationship is a mountain, they say.
I don’t know who says it, but they’re right. We are merely the mountaineers, you and I; the brave souls striving to reach the top first… so that we can look down upon our counterparts and smile.
When it comes to me and the girlfriend, I was there this weekend gone. For one shining moment I stood at the summit of our particular mountain, like Zeus atop Mount Olympus, my bare chest thrust out proudly to the heavens, while thunder and lightning erupted in mark of my victory.
Yet it was no easy feat getting there.
The journey began on Saturday, when, selfless as I am, I promised Jen I would accompany her on a perilous journey over the treacherous waters of the Mersey, into the very heart of the dark, forbidden land she calls “Home”.
Though I knew the dangers of such a crossing, I made just one request: that when the clock struck 17:30 Jen would make sure I was sitting in a place where the Liverpool match could be streamed directly into my eyes. Preferably with a cool, refreshing beer in hand.
Needless to say, as I stood on the World Foods aisle of Sainsbury’s at 17:40 watching Jen trade life stories with a long lost friend, I knew vows had been broken and promises forsaken. By the time we reached our destination and found the match 25 minutes in, the first and only goal of the game already scored, Jen knew it too.
The climb was on, and in her guilt ridden grief, Jen had given me a bump up to the first ledge. She spent the rest of the weekend apologising, while I looked down at her with a carefully blended mix of pity and bitter disappointment.
On Monday, not satisfied with the head start she had already given me, Jen provided a ladder to ease my ascent. Back at our home in Liverpool she realised she’d left her make-up bag at her Mum’s, a make-up bag that was apparently essential to her continued existence. Once again, I selflessly agreed to accompany her back to the dark side.
On the way, we made a scheduled stop at the tip… only to find that someone had forgotten the keys to her Mum’s flat, preventing the rescue of the make-up bag without a return trip home. After retrieving the keys our next scheduled stop was to hit the shops for some curtains. Unfortunately, the curtain measurements Jen had promised were in her bag were in fact measurements for picture frames. Undaunted, we got the curtains, rescued the make-up bag and finally got home.
Jen could barely see my backside now, so high had I climbed, yet she still felt the need to heft her ladder up a little higher and prop it on a stepladder below. So, while demonstrating the fancy pull-string-thing curtains have to make them bunch up like curtains, Jen decided to pull the string all the way out and effectively ruin them.
And there I was, standing atop the mountain, basking in the sunlight of the promised land. I was the Rightun and she was the Wrongun. Whenever I caught her eye, I would flash the smuggest smile of satisfaction my fleshy face could muster. I would strut about the house with an air of superiority that was, for once, completely justified.
I was untouchable.
Until about 19:30 the next day…
‘Have you got the tickets?’ she asked.
It was a silly question, asked more to fill the silence than anything else. We’d been in the taxi for fifteen minutes and were about to pull up outside Anfield. A silly question… yet my heart sank.
‘No,’ I said, feeling myself falling from the treasured peak.
She didn’t believe me at first. And why would she, when I was the Rightun?
Each time I told her ‘No, I don’t have them,’ it felt like my body struck the mountain side as I fell. Until, finally, I submitted to the shame and asked the taxi driver to take us home.
Only then, with my broken body lying at the foot of the mountain, did I look up to see Jen grinning down at me from far above.