Sunday, 9 September 2012

Love songs 3: Perfect pairs

I'll admit it, I'd been inspired by Jessica Ennis. Proof that long legs are not always better than short ones. And despite my desire for a perfect pair I was prepared to settle for perfectly functioning, after this injury and that. This morning it felt as if I might finally have got them back - not a perfect pair by Olympic standards, but good enough to do the distance.

So I was out on my test run, when I suddenly found myself swerving to avoid a pair of swans sitting together on the path. I turned back to look at them after I'd passed, hoping their bills would touch and they would form a heart shape with their necks (because that sort of metaphor pleases me). They didn't oblige, but all the same they looked the perfect pair: utterly intransigent, together, peaceful, while the world and its runners revolved around them.

The sight of them caused me to wonder how nature is deliberately designed to the power of two. The powerful grace of the swan, the gentle romance of the turtle dove, the patient, enduring penguin - all steadfast pairs. And yet, apparently, so are the wolf and the vulture. Not exactly cuddly by reputation, but as it turns out, reliable in the field of lasting relationships.

After lunch, K and I were caught in the act of having a cheeky snog in the kitchen by the Impster. 'You two are a good combo,' she said.

'Thanks,' we said, taken off guard by her surprising 5-year-old mode of expression. And then she nestled in between us and that was that. Another reminder that these days it's not about quality time, but seconds grabbed; not about grand displays, but tiny signs - the two empty wine glasses from the night before always waiting to be washed up; his two lips that speak our domestic shorthand.

This evening we watched our two children playing in the bath together, larking and laughing together with outrageous confidence. We shared a joke and all at once he kissed me again.

And into my head sprang Ira Gershwin's words: 'who could ask for anything more? Who could ask for anything more?'