“What went wrong?” I asked him.
“I just wanted to watch the football on a Sunday and she kept nagging me to go to a fucking flower market. The realisation came one morning when I came out of the bathroom and stood in dog shit and thought; 'I need to get the fuck out.'”
A long pause followed before he added; “Who the fuck goes to a flower market?”
More than a year later I discovered the answer to this question, which once burnt so deep into a grown man’s soul it marked the final shovel of earth thudding down on his coffin of circumstances.
Visiting Columbia Flower Market at the weekend was an experience which silently screamed a thousand truths. Engulfed in a swarm of dangerously high levels of human traffic, I was swept along amid a current of couples laden down with miscellaneous floral purchases wrapped in brown paper. Expressionless couples seeking to add colour to their mundane existences, laced with underlying hatred fuelled by a morning argument and an unwatched football match.
Initially I did think that perhaps a one-off trip to a flower market wasn’t exactly fair grounds for the termination of a live-in relationship. Yet as I forced my way through the crowds my friend’s wise words haunted every stride.
“Who the fuck goes to a flower market?”
It’s not the flower market but what the flower market signifies. Sullen-faced couples parading an array of colourful Sunday attires by way of compensation for their lacklustre lives.
These are the nice couples. The sort of people you visit for tea and cake and come away saying; “Wasn’t that a nice afternoon?”
The people who, on a Saturday evening, settle down in their separate chairs to watch Murder Mystery box-sets while she simultaneously knits to alleviate the chances of either admitting that they have fuck all left to say to each other.
Non-descript, plain old nice.
But it isn’t arbitrary that entering the realms of couple-dom must mark the obliteration of prospective partner’s personalities and mass-sacrifice of any personal interests.
After sticking two fingers up to ‘nice’, my friend is now a prime example that you can have the best of both and he is an example I wish to follow.