He’ll never quite figure out how they came to live together.
If someone asks him – not that he can think of a reason anyone would – when they decided to become the kind of couple that lives together, he wouldn’t have a single clue what to say.
Maybe it’s because it had turned out he isn’t the father of Josephine Cousland’s child. Or that trip they went on, Sarah and he. Hiking in the woods, making out in the cabin and challenging each other to throw axes and other stupid things like that.
Maybe it’s because he’s tired of being lonely. Because at some point you can’t place another human body between yourself and reality any longer, can’t hide in a successful pick-up line or a one night stand. At some point you wake up exhausted and lonely and miserable because everything is empty around you. Some people manage to fill that crappy void with work or friends or hobbies or travelling or whatever. A dog, perhaps. Maybe a dog is enough for some.
But Michael wants human company.
And he has more or less figured out by now that the only person he’d stand in the long run is Sarah. For a short period of time he can be with anyone. Truly anyone. He’s not picky with looks or traits or whatever. He likes women. Full stop. But Sarah is the only one who can make him picture what life might look like in ten years. There’s something calm about her, about the way she has slowly moved into the centre of his life and made a space for herself there.
They’re not monogamous, at least that’s the deal. He hasn’t been overly interested in other women since Sarah became a regular thing in his life, however, so it’s mostly a deal that matters on principle.
Romantically he’s always faithful, probably always will be, he thinks to himself every time he watches Sarah go about her daily routines in their tiny little home. Seems odd how anyone could ever want someone else if they could have her.
Maybe that’s why he suggests they get married. On a whim, and yet somehow not because the thought isn’t as unfamiliar to him as he might have thought it would be and it’s not as strange when it lands between them, not as impossible.
It’s an ordinary day, neither of them have work so they hang out in Old Town, strolling between bars and shops in the warm autumn sun and they manage to become pretty drunk when Michael drags her away.
“We should get married,” he says, breathless with the insanity of it all. There’s a glint of the same sentiment in her eyes when he locks their gazes. “Right now. You and me. I love you.”
“You love a lot of women,” Sarah says – laughs- but the protest is not a strong one, he can tell. Mere formalities.
“Not the way I love you.”
They don’t really take it apart beyond that.
Instead they run into a shop to get proper clothing and Sarah kisses him and he’s suddenly terrified and wants to take it back, but they don’t. They get rings and paperwork and a stray flower from a flower stand and then they are married.
It’s the strangest thing he’s ever done.
But it feels strangely wonderful, too. It feels like he’s becoming someone he isn’t but kind of wants to be.
The first thing Sarah does when she moves in properly and for good is to replace a lot of his furniture with her own. She puts up new wallpaper and re-paints a few wooden chairs and soon her paintings are on the walls as well and it looks really different but he can’t complain because it suddenly feels a bit more like a home. Like people live here.
She works as a receptionist at a nearby beauty parlor – Nails and Stuff – and doesn’t make a lot of money but she works hard and takes various classes in the afternoon sometimes, hoping to be working with the clients instead of sitting behind the desk at some point. Michael likes the way she talks about her work and wishes, sometimes, that he felt the same way about his own.
He can’t say how this thing came to be, but now that she lives here with him and they share an everyday life that he’s never shared with anyone before, he knows that he doesn’t want to be without it.
He wants this sort of life, only a little bit better. A bigger place, a job he likes a bit more, more money. Sarah has said that she wants children but it’s not something she pushes and it doesn’t seem like something that’s more important to her than everything else. Michael’s not complaining about that – the low-key approach, that is.
The rest of it he considers bridges they will have to cross when they get to them.
* I think I forgot to tell you that I was sneaky and rolled a ROS for my hood. My first ROS! And of course it was a pretty big one: shotgun wedding. 🙂 Michael was a prime candidate (well, pretty much the only candidate).