Julie and I have an untraditional relationship. Julie is my hunter gatherer going out to work everyday whereas I spend half the week at home tapping away at the keyboard, doing the washing and making myself pretty for when she comes home. All this is totally fine with me, even if Julie and her chums call me her “man bitch.”
Our untraditionality (new word—look out for it in conversations near you) took on a different phase the other week. Julie was out of town on business leaving me at home to fend for myself with only Royston and the cats for company. This should have been celebration time. I could be me again. I could do what I liked, when I liked. We have hardwood floors, so I could reenact the scene from Risky Business where Tom Cruise bounces about in his underpants with Bob Seger blasting. I could even get involved in some Risky Business style high jinx involving a hooker and Porsche I didn’t own. Anything could happen when Julie wasn’t around. My underpants and I are unstoppable!
But it didn’t go down like that.
The house was eerily quiet and foreboding without Julie. I lived alone for a number of years before Julie invaded my life, but I felt very vulnerable being on my own at nights.
The animals didn’t help the situation. The cats kept going outside, activating the security lights and when I told them to come in, they were nowhere to be seen. Royston’s ears would prick up at the slightest sound and I’d think—intruder. In the end I got the feeling Royston was messing with me. At any moment, someone (not Julie) was going to burst in and ravage me. It was all very scary. Who wants to be ravaged on a Tuesday night?
It wasn’t long before every clichéd horror movie churned away at the back of my head. I expected a series of threatening phones from a woman with a husky voice telling me to check on the kittens. The cops would trace the call and tell me it was coming from inside the house!!! Eeeeeeeeeeeekkkkkkkkk!!!!!!!!!!!
I have no idea why I was so jittery. Why the frady cat thing now? I’ll admit I’ve had a lot on my mind, which has left me agitated. Was it that—or something more systemic and more frightening?
Am I losing my manliness?
I’ll be first to admit that I’m not the big, rough, tough type. I’m a bleeder not a fighter. One of the things I look for in a woman is a slower runner. I want to be the one sprinting away from trouble, calling out over my shoulder, “I’ll never forget you, my first wife. Put up a fight for me, my love. Taxi!”
Now that Julie’s back to protect me, I’m taking a philosophical look at our relationship. Have our non-traditional roles changed us? Is she becoming the tough guy in the relationship? Am I getting in touch with my feminine side? I don’t think so. Julie still shrieks at the sight of ants and I still can’t do that towel turban thing that all women seem have genetically programmed. We are still ourselves. Now I must get back to my needlepoint and Julie has to sharpen her chainsaw—that redwood isn’t going to cut itself down.
Yours with soft edges,
PS: I’m not here. I’m in Toronto for World Horror.