My partner had never been a fan of parties, especially dinner parties in the country, which involves socialising and making polite chitchats with people he does not know.  It took a lot of effort to get him to agree to come to one with me, and he was in a foul mood even before we arrived.  I resolved to make the best of the evening, and vowed never to involve him in my social life again.

I avoided him most of the evening, choosing to immerse myself in my friends’ company instead. After a few glasses of wine, I had almost forgot about my partner as I laughed and joked with old friends.

And then I caught a glimpse of an unusual-looking man standing alone by the window – he was somehow different  from others; there was a rawness about him – and I thought, hmmm, he’s very attractive, definitely the most beautiful man in the room.

Of course, it was my partner that I was admiring.

From a distance, I saw the beauty of him, instead of our fights and squabbles. I saw past the stormy eyes and the sneering lips, the products of our earlier argument before we left the house. From a distance, I saw instead the beauty of a man who talks animatedly about orphans halfway across the world, about esoteric studies, about my daughter’s medical school entrance exam, and yes, about me. I saw our years of loving, where he cared for me in that stoic way of his, a debt I can never repay though I occasionally forget. I saw his steady hands, the part of him I first fell in love with, years before I faced up to the fact that I was in love with this difficult man. He could sense my eyes on him, he turned around and we smiled at each other.

Which makes me think, sometimes people in long-term relationships need to take some space, in order to see the things that matter most about someone ❤