We do not like you to socialise without us. Why would you want to be anywhere other than by our side marvelling at how brilliant we are? Why on earth would you want to spend time with someone who is clearly inferior to us? What are you up to by going out with someone else? You are clearly being disloyal and that does not please us. Moreover, you are not providing us with any fuel by asserting some form of independence and that is a terrible and selfish thing for you to do. We do not like you to spend time with other people since we fear that they exert some malign influence over you. We know they will be trying to undermine us in your eyes and turn you against us. We know it is because they are jealous of what we have together and rather than be pleased for you, they are smearing my good name. You want to listen to them as well, otherwise why would you be going? Our careful and structured control of you, our calculated isolation of you, all stand to be damaged by your socialising with those who we have not control over. We tried but for some reasons there are two or three of your friends who proved immune to our charm. I should feel sorry for them since they are selfish, bitter and twisted, but I don’t feel sorry for them because I don’t feel sorry do I, only for myself. I want you with me, where I can keep an eye on you and control you. I want you here where you are supplying me with fuel. This is your rightful place and by organising to go out for your meal with these friends you are telling me that I am not good enough to spend time with. You are criticising me and that wounds me. I have to stop you wounding me. I have to stop you going. I have to maintain the upper hand. Thus because of your selfish behaviour the Battle of Going Out is joined.
“You never said that you were going out,” I begin as I see you getting ready in the bathroom. You halt applying your make-up and turn to me.
“Yes I did, I told you last week and again this morning.”
“No you didn’t.”
“Yes I did, I remember.”
“No you did not. I would have remembered if you had told me,” I answer.
” I put it on the calendar.” You walk to the kitchen and return holding a calendar with the words ‘Girls meal out – Leonardos’.
“See?” you ask and jab a finger at the words.
“That? I thought that was referring to your nieces, not you, you never said.”
“Seriously? Come on, why would my nieces be going to Leonardo’s on their own?” you ask.
“You’ve just written that in when you were fetching the calendar. Look, the ink is still dry.”
You sigh in exasperation.
“I told you about it, it is in the calendar. I have not been out in weeks.”
“Well neither have I,” I comment.
“What? You were out last Friday,” you answer voice rising.
“That was with work.”
“It was still going out,” you reply.
“That is not the same. You know I have to schmooze clients, it is hardly pleasure. I have to do that for business reasons so I think you are being unfair by saying that is a night out for me.”
“Those clients you were out with are your friends, it was a right piss up.”
“Oh sorry, I forgot, you were there weren’t you, you know all about how I conduct my business don’t you?” I declare.
“No I don’t but they are your friends.”
“So I am not allowed to have clients who are friends now am I? Jesus, why don’t you just stop me from having any friends at all eh? Why not stop me going anywhere? You would like that wouldn’t you? Just having me stuck in here all the time.”
“What are you talking about, I let you do as you please.”
“No you don’t. You are determined to keep me on a leash. My friends take the piss out of me for how little time I get to spend with them.”
You halt your application of the lipstick.
“Who has said that?”
“Several people. Jim, Richard and John. They say I am under the thumb.”
“Huh, they have a cheek, Jim is completely under the thumb of Jessica.”
“No he’s not, but you just change the subject why don’t you. You should be staying in with me you never want to do that anymore.”
“Don’t be silly, I am with you most of the time. Look it is just an informal meal with a few of my friends, it is no big deal.”
“If it is not important then why do you have to go?”
“Because I want to,” you answer.
“Where are you going?”
“You know that Leonardo’s.”
“Really? Who with?”
“Jane, Sarah, Mary and Stephanie, oh and Carrie.”
“I don’t believe you, you have just made that up.”
“What? No I haven’t.”
“You are meeting a man aren’t you? Come on who is it?”
“No you are being stupid.”
“Don’t call me stupid. I am not the one going out and leaving their other half on their own,” I begin to shout and you jolt at the sudden change in volume.
“You are up to something, you have a different perfume on. Who is he?”
“Seriously, you are paranoid, I am meeting the girls.”
“No I am not, who do you think you are saying that to me, you are messing around. I know you are. You have been acting strangely the last few weeks. I know you are. Admit it,” I move towards you and stand over you barking into your face. You back away, eyes widening fearfully.
“I haven’t, honestly, I haven’t.”
“I should let you go anyway you whore, I don’t know I bother with you. I was planning a pleasant evening in for us. I was going to cook you your favourite and I have a delicious bottle of Chablis chilling but as usual you are being selfish.”
“Please don’t shout at me, I am just going out with my friends, I am allowed to have some friends aren’t I?”
“Not those harpies, they have it in for me, I hate them. I hate you.”
“Oh please don’t be like that, look I will be back by ten at the latest so we can still have some time together,” you suggest.
“Is that supposed to make me feel pleased? Why would I want to spend time with you, you slut. I see, you want to have your way with him and then rub it in my face. You are such a bitch.”
You have backed away from my tirade, wincing with each bellowed sentence. This allows me to snatch up your clutch bag.
“You can’t go out with no keys and no money,” I say holding the bag aloft.
“Please I only want to see my friends, I rarely see them as it is, please give me my bag back, why are you being so horrible?”
“Because you are cheating on me. I am not having you spend our money on some other man.”
“There is no other man, how many times do I have to tell you? Please let me go.”
“No. You are not going. You are staying here with me.”
“I can’t cancel, not this late,” you say in dejection.
“Of course you can. He does not matter.”
“There is no he. It is the girls.”
“So you say. You are not going. If you do that is me and you finished.”
“What, just because I want to see my friends?” You slump on to the bed, shoulders hunched and your head in your hands.
“You don’t need them, you have got me.”
“Why does it always have to be like this, every time I try and do something you do this,” you protest and your voice breaks with the first sob of frustration.
“No I don’t stop trying to blame me when you are at fault,” I growl.
“You always do this, make feel guilty or do something to stop me going out.”
“Rubbish, you are making things up again. You are just trying to make me feel bad for you. It won’t work you know that.”
You begin crying as I stand power surging through me.
“Here,” I order as I pull your phone from your bag and throw it down on the bed besides you, ” ring them and tell them you can’t make it, say you don’t feel well or something. I will pour the Chablis.”
Still sobbing you fumble for the phone and pick it up before dialling the number. I stand triumphant drinking deep of the fuel you have given me during this exchange. I have won the battle once again and this time I did not even have to escalate it like I did last time. I suppose that was just as well really seeing as how you had only just replaced those mirrors I smashed.