Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

LAURIE Taylor

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

LAURIE Taylor

Article excerpt

I have never been able to end a relationship by slamming the door behind me, not even now

have had some excellent rows in my life, and have come up with one or two devastating last lines, but I've not yet mastered the art of slamming the door behind me. At times, I've even allowed myself to think that the somewhat complex emotional life I endured in York for nearly 25 years might well have been more orderly, and considerably less indeterminate, if only my capacity to move from the dyadic claustrophobia of the back kitchen to the relative existential freedom of the hallway hadn't been subverted by the vagaries of a sliding glass door.

The case of Francesca leaps to mind. Over breakfast one Sunday morning back in the late Eighties, I finally managed to engineer the type of argument that I knew could have no other outcome than the severing of our brief but vexatious partnership. "Don't you think that there's something rather depressing about the way in which we've settled so quickly into a routine, after all our romantic chat in the early days about the terrors of conventional domestic life?" I murmured, as I tucked into my full English.

"I haven't really thought about it," she said. I speared the largest of my three sausages and dunked it in the plum tomato sauce. "Then don't you think it's time you did think about it? Haven't you noticed that we're staying in nearly every night of the week and watching television? Aren't you aware that we've not been to the Arts Centre for nearly two months, despite taking out that five-year membership? Hasn't it come to your attention that we've settled into exactly the type of comfortable life that you once said -- in that cottage in Brittany -- was totally incompatible with the survival of eroticism?" She looked up from her cottage cheese and gave me a perfect example of the disdainful smile that I had confidently anticipated in my mental rehearsals. …

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