To say he was looking forward to going home was to put it very lightly, almost imperceptibly so. It had been the main thing on his mind all day, whenever something went wrong he had resumed his ‘I can go home soon’ mantra and it had made him feel the littlest bit better. The thought of ordering dinner in, blending in to the sofa, and putting something mindless on the television was all that was keeping him going. Of course, in true bad day style, it was nearing on two hours past the time that he should have been finishing work when he finally hid the remaining paperwork underneath a file on his desk and trudged out of the front door without a backwards glance. He would happily take all the berating for his slacking off that he could find, as long as that occurred tomorrow, when he could face it with some sleep under his belt, and an evening of sitting gritting his teeth and sorting through his thoughts in a nice orderly fashion.

So imagine his displeasure when he was face to face with his promised takeaway, settled in the gloomiest corner of the living room he could find, and the doorbell rang. Comedically irritating, as if someone was playing a very cruel game with him, or he was being taught a very important lesson today, not that he could tell yet just what it was. The plan to sit very quietly and pretend he was not home did not last long. The television was making too much noise, he was too hungry to have the will-power to prevent himself from dishing up his meal, and even the lights were on. He was very obviously home, he could perhaps pretend he was in the shower, or he had slipped on some washing-up liquid and died, but the best response was probably to answer the door. Like ripping off a plaster, do it now so that the food is not too cold by the time he has sniffled and coughed in the doorway enough to convince his unwelcome visitor he is very ill and they should go away right now.

Upon opening the door, he was unsure whether to be relieved or not. At least this was someone he did not have to sniffle and cough for, he could just tell them to leave him alone and he would not have any issue shutting the door in their face and forcing them to do so. However, there was the distinct possibility their presence at the door meant there was work to do, or even worse, that he needed to put his Good Friend hat on and provide some kind of punching bag or become an emotional teddy bear for his partner experiencing some kind of negative emotion. Work seemed to be off the cards, and simply shutting the door was looking more likely by the second. His partner was carrying two bottles of beer, still covered in condensation from the shelf, so obviously recent purchases. That did not bode well, purchasing beer for the occasion meant that he was most certainly in the mood for company and that he would fight for the right, was probably intending on stealing some of his dinner and taking over the television remote whilst he was at it. We could not have that.

The door was shut, but by this point actually ringing the doorbell or knocking on the door was just to be polite, to give warning of their presence. So as soon as the door was shut, it was opened again with that dreaded spare key that he very quickly regretted ever giving to his partner. At least that boundary had been crossed now, his partner had let himself in when very obviously not welcome and he made a new file in his head for ideas on how to utilise this power in the future. Stealing food sounded like a nice idea, using all the hot water, interrupting dates by crashing on the sofa. The possibilities were endless and currently, very very tempting. He supposed now was not the time though, now was the time to hide the television remote, become very protective of his dinner, and begin yawning dramatically every two to three minutes.

His partner did not seem deterred by his aversion to company or any disruption to his plans tonight, instead he appeared to be enjoying annoying him, which he certainly was. He entered the house with exuberance that made him seem like some kind of television character on a children's channel, too over the top to not be slightly concerning. The bottle opener was located instantly and the two beers were placed on the coffee table, both of them very neatly sat next to a placemat, dripping condensation onto the poor wood. His coat was wet so he removed it, but then flung it over the back of the sofa anyway. Acting like he owned the place, impressively frustrating.

The takeaway that had been so lovingly purchased earlier was getting colder and more forlorn by the second and we could not have that either, so he left his damp and infuriating partner to his plotting on other ways to become a nuisance, and he retreated to the kitchen to place it all on a plate. There would be no eating it out of the boxes now, much too easy for home invaders to steal some. Instead he would place it all on the one plate and he would guard it with his life. His partner may not have been factored into the plan, but he seemed to have become part anyway. He was well practiced at ignoring him, and he was determined to stick to how he had envisioned his evening. There were no compromises to be made, he needed to do some serious thought evaluating in a dark corner with gritted teeth whilst eating food he did not have to make, and he could do that with or without an extra human on the sofa waffling on about something.

July 25, 2021 22:47

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RBE | Illustration — We made a writing app for you | 2023-02

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