Understaffed

– I’ve been thinking about something

– What is it?

– I wanted to talk to you about it.

– You can talk to me about anything, anything you want.

– I’ve been thinking about it for a while.

– If you’ve been thinking about it, it must be worth saying. All your thoughts are –

– Okay.

(sits up in bed)

– I will listen to any thoughts you have to share.

– I like you a lot.

– I love you too.

– And we have a great time together.

– Every second is precious, I agree.

– And but it’s like, we’re so young. We’re young. It’s good to be young.

– Even if I were old, being with you would make me feel young.

– Aha.

– And feeling young is as good as being young, is it not?

– Right.

– I love you.

– But it’s like, I don’t want to lose that. I don’t want to lose what we have together.

(slight frown on his face now)

– Me too. I don’t want to lose it. Why would we lose it? Let’s not lose it.

– Right.

– Why might we lose it?

– . . . You know?

– I’d never let you go.

– Being together is great, it’s amazing.

– Yes, correct.

– But there’s also this pressure. It comes with it.

– . . . What do you mean? I love you.

– There’s this there’s this pressure. Two people when they’re together, there’s a pressure.

– What kind of pressure?

– Just a pressure. There’s a pressure. It can be hard for two people to make it work, sometimes.

– I don’t feel any pressure with you.

– There’s a pressure.

– A pressure.

– Yes. Two people, to do everything, to do it all? That’s a lot of responsibility for two people.

– A lot of pressure.

– Think of all the things we do, things we wanna do. Go out to eat, go to the cinema, go shopping, stay in bed together, have sex, cook stuff, hang around, go to our jobs, have sex, you know, watch tv, wash the dishes, do the laundry, have sex. It’s a lot. It’s a lot of stuff for two people to manage.

– . . . For you, I’d manage it all and –

-Think how many things we do together, divide that by two, that’s how much we have to handle, ourselves. It’s a lot, isn’t it? Isn’t it a lot?

–  . . . You’re talking about a workload.

– Right!

– A division of labour.

– Exactly. You know, at work, my actual work, they would never put that many tasks on just two people.

– . . . But is it work? To be with us? Is it work?

– It’s not work exactly but . . . You know what I mean?

– There’s a pressure?

– There’s a pressure.

– Resulting out of how there’s two of us doing all those things.

– All those things, just two people. No wonder couples find it hard to stay together.

(trying to control the rising panic in his voice)

– . . . So what are you . . . are you saying –

– I’ve just been thinking about something.

– What are you going to say?

– Listen.

– What are the things you are about to say?

– It’s just something I’ve been thinking about.

– Please.

– . . . That maybe, we could maybe ease our burdens. Just a little bit.

– . . . How? I love you.

– Don’t you agree it’s a lot for two people to manage?

– How would we ease –

– Did your parents stay together? Mine didn’t. they couldn’t manage the load.

– Where’s the burden? I don’t see a burden.

– Divorce rates are sky high. It’s an issue of personnel.

– Being with you isn’t a burden.

– It’s not a burden, its not what I’m saying. You’re not listening to what I’m saying.

– I’m sorry.

– So do you agree or not that a relationship is a big thing, that can be tricky for two people to navigate?

– I, uh, I –

– Do you disagree?

– . . . Relationships can be tricky.

– Exactly. I agree with you. Relationships are hard. Especially when you’re understaffed.

– Okay.

– So my big question is, why do we have to face it alone? Just the two of us? Why do we put that pressure on ourselves? Why does everyone do it?

– So . . . You’re suggesting

– It takes a village. We need bodies.

– . . . You want to invite someone?

– I’m saying we don’t have to go through this alone. We can make it work.

– . . .I don’t know how I’d feel about –

– Don’t you want to make this work with me?

– . . . I, of course, I

– Don’t you want us to be happy?

– . . . Yes. I do. Of course I do.

– I’m not talking about getting anyone to live here. I’m not talking about people moving in.

– What are you talking about?

– Just, a sometimes thing. Outsourcing. Like if I meet someone somewhere, or need a change, or if I’m feeling that pressure, and just need a –

– If you meet someone?

– Listen. This is all because of how much I like you.

– . . . Who are you going to meet?

– Well I don’t know that yet. Its not like I have plans! You’re not listening to me!

– I am. I’m listening. I’m sorry. I’m listening.

– This is all because of you. This is all for you.

– Yes. I see that. I . . . yes.

– I’m not doing this for me. I don’t want to do this.

– . . . Okay. So, do I understand you then that –

– I’m saying a place to go, sometimes, when the pressure is there, you know, a place to go with someone. Someone to cover, to lighten the load. Extra staff.

– . . . You want to see . . . Other staff members.

-Our business has grown. We need to hire.

– . . . Recruitment drive.

– Yes.

– When do you think –

– There’s no meetings set. Okay, it’s not like that. I haven’t arranged anything. I just want to have the conversation, to allow me the freedom to –

– How long have you been thinking this?

– This is for you, remember? Don’t you want us to stay together?

– Of course, I –

– I don’t want to do this. But I have to. It’s a sacrifice I have to make, and I’m prepared to make, for you.

– . . .

– I could’ve just not told you about it. I could’ve just kept it to myself. Would you prefer I’d have done that? Don’t you want us to be open?

– Of course I do. You’re right. Thank you.

– Do you want us to keep secrets?

– No.

– Right.

– I’m sorry.

– I’m doing this for you.

– . . . Okay . . . Okay . . .

– Let’s leave it for now. I just wanted to start the conversation. For you. I’m doing this for you.

– But . . .

– What?

– I just want to . . . Before we . . . Can I just clarify –

– No, don’t worry, I’m not going to start seeing lots of people right away. It will take time.

– Just that . . . So if I see someone –

– you?

– . . . Me. You’re saying that we can –

– I never said anything about you.

– . . . Didn’t you?

– Oh my god. Do you want to see other people?

– No, I don’t –

– Am I not good enough for you?

– You are, you’re amazing, I love you, you’re –

– Why do you want to see other people?!

– I don’t!

– You just said, if you see someone.

– I thought that’s what you . . . Isn’t that what you were saying?

– I wasn’t talking about you. I don’t want you to see other people. How could you even say that, you know how much I like you. How could you be so selfish?

– . . .

– I cant believe you even thought it.

– I didn’t, I was just –

– You promise?

– Yes. I’m sorry.

– . . . Okay.

– . . . But if you want to see someone, then –

– Look can we just move on? We’ve had the conversation. As far as I’m concerned, the conversation is over. We both know. We both know the problem, and how to solve it. It’s fine.

– . . . Okay.

– Let’s just go to sleep.

– I’m sorry.

– Okay.

– I love you.

– Goodnight.

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