We Stupid Apes

Entry by: jaguar

25th August 2016
Sometimes he thinks it’s a shame she has the power of speech. He tries to understand what comes out of her mouth but it’s candyfloss vomit – all bile, sparkle and emptiness. He would dearly love to tape her mouth shut and see what happened when she was full of her own stupid rhetoric. Would she spin like a Union Jack glitter ball the moment before she imploded into thousands of shattered baubles? His mind winced away from the memory of their tree last Christmas, his heirloom pieces overwhelmed by her pound land overkill.

It wouldn’t matter if it didn’t hurt him that she could be so banal. If only there wasn’t that gap between his heart and his head that yawned wide with hope. When she was sleeping he wanted to take her hand and help her through all the tiny little steps she’d need to make to become a proper human being. The sort of person who didn’t need to endlessly justify their arguments because they were like his - solid, well thought through, supported by research and knowledge. She wouldn't even admit that he knew more about it than him, just kept saying he was stuck in the past.

Her eyes sparkled as she jammed her finger into his chest, childishly prodding her speech in as she always did when she thought he’d stopped listening to her. His anger reared up in a roar at the pain, a shouty shield to disguise the fact that she was right. He was shouting over her but he didn't expect the flash of fear that illuminated her face. He wasn't ready for her eyes shadowing with the secrets she kept from him, his sense of how separate she was. For a moment her fear possessed him too, made him wonder what he might do, how animal the core of him might be. His fury collapsed around him like an empty net on a boat’s deck, clattering, inappropriate, pointless, smelling faintly of salt and rot. This row wasn't showing either of them in their best light.

She stepped back instinctively, away from the stretched tendons in his neck, the spit of his anger, the way he was looming over her. What was it with men that they needed to reinforce their physical advantages like gorillas beating their chests? With him he didn’t stop at physical size, it was a constant drip of his perceived superiority. If she raised her voice to try and get heard she was hysterical, incapable of managing her emotions. If she admitted feeling scared or unsure it was because she hadn’t read up on the subject. If she had done her research but still disagreed with him it was because her brain hadn’t quite grasped the implications of x, y or z. Silly little brain whose hold was so slippery, she'd heard it so often from him, from her parents, from her teachers. So often she'd almost begun to believe it.

Something in her always felt so alone in relationships as if she was a different species from her partner. Maybe that was why it bothered her less than it did him that they couldn’t agree on this issue, that they wouldn’t be voting the same way. They’d gone over and over it but there was no common ground. They made decisions differently. She could see that he was using the past as a guide for what might happen in the future but he couldn't see the past was unreliable. At least she could admit that her response was more emotional, a gut feeling, a sense of getting clear of something rotten at its core.

‘I’m sorry,’ he said, ‘I didn’t mean to frighten you. You must know I wouldn’t ever hurt you.’ He said it in his most grown-up voice, the one he used with on the edge teenagers, that might, or might not, go for him every day at work. He said it like a mantra he needed both of them to believe.

She hesitated, reading his non verbal communication, balancing how she should react. ‘OK,’ she said and reached for his hand, ‘shall we go and get this vote over with?’

‘Even though we disagree?’ There was something childish in the question, a need for reassurance even he could hear.

She grinned at him. ‘The whole point is no one really knows, even those annoying politicians.'

His eyes crinkled at her. 'So whatever we decide is based on biased guesswork and supposition.'

She caught her breath in relief and nodded. 'At least this way we cancel each other out.’

He hugged her to him and danced them round, rubbing the tension out of her back. ‘At least this way, we stupid apes won't be responsible for remaining or for brexit.’

'Which some might say is really rather clever of us.' She raised their held hands above their heads.