She’s told me many times that she is more attractive in Spain. She says men stop and stare but she’s only been there twice. She says the hips she inherited from her father’s side of the family are not a problem in Spain. It makes me wonder if she should move there. Whether the place where you are most beautiful is the place you best belong. At the moment, she lives on a street that used to be army barracks, each house the same as the next. She has her own bedroom and her own bed but she sleeps with him in his. His bedroom has two doorways but now both doors are missing and they struggle to heat it. They keep the heater on, but the warmth just flows straight through as if the room was only a corridor.
The doors are gone because last week, two boys came to their house and asked if they had any doors to spare.
‘Asked for what?’ I say. ‘Doors,’ she answers, her face nonchalant. ‘Why did they need doors?’
She tells me it was something to do with a rental inspection. The boys did not say what they’d done, just that their mother had said they had one day to find two bedroom doors or they would have to pay for brand new ones. I imagine the boys wisp-thin and scruffy. I think of my brothers when they were young, an endless cycle of fighting and forgetting. Weekends of elbows, knees and hate followed by door-closed scheming, reluctant best friends.
‘So he took the two bedroom doors off their hinges.’ She smiles as she says this. She loves him for this. I love him for this. This one thing could be the thing that makes her love him forever. That makes her never move to Spain where she is more beautiful where maybe she belongs best.
What if the boys had never come to their house? Never asked for spare doors. And he had spent that Saturday on the couch watching football and drinking too much beer and antagonising her cat. She might have got fed up and said, ‘I can’t do this any longer.’
‘Did he help them put them up?’ ‘Not sure,’ she answers. ‘He helped them carry them up the street to their house.’
She shrugs as if the whole thing is nothing when we both know it’s everything.