Astonished, when he told me it was over. Nho! I exhaled, genuine dismay. For the 'would you like the tour' of their Big Project at the time (she'd been away); a fat pale north Belfast detached double-aspect; he took me proudly through every lovely room. I even remember the name of the matt emulsion Milk White, up to the high ceilings and over and down again. It was the perfect white paint, I'd never encountered such a white. I envied it, admired the sheer coverage.
The wide (white) hallway, airy bayed reception rooms, a duke into bedrooms, startled by one of my Singapores framed on the first landing. I applauded a clever bolt-hole for coats and commended their dedication to cabinetry. He would ready the back by summer for barbecues but otherwise they were almost done. Quare pair this couple. In the awkward intimacy of their bathroom the sunken-tub-for-two, we just stood and stared at it. I didn't quite know what to say, embarrassed by soap, averting my eyes from a flannel. He conjured up steaming back-scrubs and cosy yabber-jabber at the end of a hard working week; getting drunk and dancing in the kitchen which sounded just grand to me. We had some tea.
Months later, 'I've left her' (Or rather as it was his house, logistics dictated he request she leave him) -But! I protested (as if the very reason two people ought to stay together) 'what about getting drunk and dancing in the kitchen?' Oh. We never really did it that much. That might have only happened once.
The photograph is from the milk white Raffles Hotel in Singapore. Curious, prescience. Havent seen the person who inspired this post in over two years, yet an hour after completing the first draft I was extremely startled to bump into him in the street.