I’m snoozing on the sofa when the woman who chooses to spend time with me – innately highly perceptive – she walks in through the front door, home from work, and she says:
“You look like you’re dead, laid like that.”
I say, “What do you mean, laid like that. Laid like what, exactly?”
“Laid with your forearms crossed over your chest, it’s like you’re laying-in-state, ready for a viewing, waiting for the public to pay their respects.”
“Jesus!” I say. “I’m just laid here having a snooze, how else am I meant to lay?”
“Well, not like that, you look like you’re dead. Can’t you curl up, over onto your side?” She flumps into an armchair, pushes off her trainers using only her feet, grabs the TV remote and begins scrolling through the channels.
“That’s a waste of time.” I say grumpily, still grappling with an image of me looking like I’m dead. “Anyway, I can’t curl over onto my side, I’d fall off the sofa.”
“No you wouldn’t.” She says matter-of-fact.
“I would! It’s an unusually narrow seat, this sofa. Look, watch, allow me to demonstrate.”
I turn over onto my side, draw my knees up and despite my efforts, decidedly do not fall off the sofa.
“There, see?” She says in a manner mixed with tiredness and triumphalism.
“But it’s not comfortable,” I say, “it feels like I’m going to fall off.” I rock gently, testing, seeking out the tipping-point, hoping she won’t catch me at it.
“Whatever.” She says, her interest in my comfort status is waning rapidly. She settles on a channel, an outside broadcast features two presenters enthusing over the joys of the autumn season in Britain. They are doing their level best to ignore the low temperature, rain and wind whipping all around them.
A few moments later and I reposition myself flat. She turns her attention back to me, takes in a breath; I sense she is annoyed.
“What’s with this woman-who-chooses-to-spend-time-with-me business?” She says. “Why can’t you just say girlfriend?”