Rowan '06: Bending

I'm a reasonable guy - more than most - a hell of a lot more than Larabee - but honestly, even I can be pushed too far. I admit I'm not the neatest person in the world, I can be a bit of a slob, but I'm not that bad. Okay, the guys used to joke and call the condo the CDC, but that was mostly JD. No, it really was the kid, if you don’t believe me ask Casey, she has to live with him now. Now Chris isn't, a slob that is, he's neat, he can even be more than a little anal about it. Well it is his place, so I guess I have to adapt to his rules.

Okay, so I know Chris likes things in their place, but do we really need to put the dishes in the washer the moment we're done with them? Just for once couldn't we just leave them on the table and kick back on the couch after a meal. It's Friday, we're tired, we don't have to work tomorrow.


Damn him! It's not much to ask, is it so wrong to want things neat? "Never put off until tomorrow, what you can do today" that was what my mother and the Navy taught me and it's stood me in good stead. If you don't keep things neat you end up with chaos.


It was a dumb thing to argue about, I wish I'd just helped him clear the table and be done with it. It's not like I don't know about him and his tidiness. He's always liked things tidy. When Sarah was still alive, I lived here almost as much as I did my own place. I used to baby-sit for my Godson, and Sundays, that was always family day, and I was part of the family. Being part of the family meant more to me than anything else. We'd have cookouts, go riding, watch football, do chores. It's funny, but Sunday is still family day, the day the guys come over, the day we kick back and relax - together, a family. I guess all that time I spent here then, I never noticed how much work Sarah put in keeping me tidy, so my slobbish ways didn't piss off Chris. I lived here once, when Adam was real small, just a baby and Chris had to go away - undercover - for a couple of weeks, he didn't want Sarah here on her own with a baby and all. I don't remember how tidy it was then, but I remember Sarah making me help her tidy up before Chris came home.

"He just can't relax if it's untidy," she told me.

Why didn't I remember that? Now that I think about it, he wasn't as tidy then as he is now, as he was before Sarah, at least I don't think he was, Adam's toys used to be all over the place. Isn't being tidy one of those things people do to regain control of their lives? If they can keep their things in order, they feel they can at least control something? It's not like he hasn't made an effort; he hasn't cooked mushrooms once, that I can remember, since I moved in. I hate mushrooms, even the smell of them makes me feel ill, who the hell wants to eat fungus - well Chris for one, he loves them. He doesn’t say a word when I watch American Chopper - and I know he hates it. He says nothing when I stay up late watching some old movie and fall asleep on the couch; he just switches off the TV and gives me a little shake.

"It's over, the good guys won," he'll say. "Come to bed, before you wreck your back." Can't tell you how much I love him when I wake up and see him standing over me like that. He just smiles down at me, sort of amused.

I guess filling the dishwasher isn't much to ask. Not in return for love.


He loves me, he says so, often, repeatedly, far more often than I say it, but I do. I love him so much sometimes it hurts, so why can't I bend a little? It's not my home anymore, it's ours. His and mine. Would leaving a few dirty dishes on the table really be so bad? God I'm tired, we're all tired, tempers are short, even Buck's and damn, he's got a long fuse. He clears the table with me every night, he picks up his clothes, he makes the bed and I know that is something he never did before, not unless he was expecting 'company'. It isn't like he's not trying; he's doing things that don’t come naturally to him, because he knows not doing them will annoy me. Can't I do the same? I used to be more flexible, when I was a husband and father, then I lost that and I guess I fell back on what felt safe, control, military discipline. Maybe it's time to let go.

He's out on the porch smoking one of those little cheroots. I hate those things, so he only smokes them outside now, and not very often, a hell of a lot less than he used to. Guess I should go over and apologise.



"I was thinking I should…"



"I was being childish."

"I was being…"


"Maybe it's time to change…"

"Don't you dare, I love you just the way you are."

He didn't know how to take that; I can see it in his eyes. "I fell in love with you years ago, you were a hard ass, neat-freak then, you still are and I still love you."

"And you're a slob."

"I am no…!


"Okay I am, but I'm not as bad as JD - honest."

"You were a nightmare in the navy, you were the most untidy cop I ever knew and your desk looks like a volcano went off under it - and I love you, every slobbish bit off you."

Well what is a guy to do? I grabbed the loveable neat-freak with the cutest ass this side of the Rockies and kissed him until his lips turned blue!