Before the new year, my weeknights were spent lounging on the sofa, a glass of wine in one hand, a piece of dark chocolate in the other. My partner would sit hunched and slack-jawed at the dining table, hovering over his work laptop.

“Come sit with me and watch Frasier.” I’d say.

“Just a minute. I’m almost done.”

“You’re going to miss Family Guy.” I’d plead.

“I have to send this one email.”

“Letterman is doing his monologue.” I’d nag.

“Babe, I’m busy. I’ve got to work.”

I’d stare out at the yellow lights on the Kowloon side, the ships in the harbor, the men working late in the high-rises across the street and think, “Well, at least my man’s home.”

But he wasn’t. Not really. And so I decided to turn the second bedroom into a home office. A proper desk, a proper spine, a proper partner. Boy was I stupid!

It all started one morning in mid January when I was in full-on resolution mode. We had just returned from New York and I didn’t have to teach again until February. I had plenty of idle time to plan, scheme and execute. I waited until my partner had left for work to start the heavy lifting.

I folded up the futon and hid it neatly out of view. Bookshelves and books were moved and re-arranged. As a hyper neat-freak/perfectionist, I was careful not to mess up my carefully thought-out cataloging system which focuses primarily on genre and color but also takes into account whether or not the book is hardbound or paperback. Finally, I moved the desk from the improper place it had always been to the proper place it had always wanted to go: in front of the window facing the Hong Kong skyline. Then after some careful tweaking (lamps, picture frames, chair placement) I was ready.

My partner opened the door and immediately saw what I had done.

“I thought I told you not to move anything again without me?”

“I know.” I said.

“Where did you put…what did you do with…so where will I…”

“Do you like it or not? I figure you need a proper office for when you work from home.”

“Yeah, but I would have helped you move.”

He was starting to really piss me off. He may be bigger, but we both know I’m stronger. I work out regularly and run almost daily. I bust my ass to look good for him but also so that I don’t age prematurely. I watch what I eat. I run errands, do chores, pre-clean before our housekeeper arrives, cook dinner and scramble eggs. I buy the wine, the flowers, and the occasional cupcake. I light candles every night. I have special relaxation mixes on my iPod for when he gets home. I arrange our social calendar, plan our vacations, and am a damn good partner in social situations. You’d never guess I hate most people.

And now. Now I’ve turned the second bedroom into a proper office and he’s going to give me shit!?

“Look, do you like it or not!”

He could tell I was about to turn into the Mexican Incredible Hulk so he said, “Yeah, Babe. It’s going to help for when I work from home those mornings.”

“And at night you can concentrate, finish up and then come into the living room to watch Family Guy on the sofa with me!” I’m so damn cheery sometimes it scares the fuck out of me.

Today my partner hovers over his laptop, still hunched and slack-jawed, but further away from me and in another room. I’m still on the sofa, glass of wine in one hand, dark chocolate in the other staring out the window with the television on.

Advertisements