I have been thinking about companionship a lot recently. If it was not society’s insistence, it was mummy’s health that got me to think about sharing a life with someone. And I realized that for a stage in life that seems inevitable, hardly anyone ever taught me anything about it.
I vaguely remember being that girl who believed she was ready for it, as long as the right guy showed up. The right guy was made of a set of ambiguously defined characteristics. K would say of me “she wants to be with a fun, jovial, no baggage guy who could rub off his happiness on her”. As one guy passed after the other & as I started questioning my relationship with my parents, I thought maybe if he had baggage, he would “get me”, if he read the same books as me, if I took care of logistics (where do you want to settle? what do you want out of life? kids?) before I get my emotions entangled with this guy it would work. To cut a long story short, it doesn’t. Frivolous details started welting: the kind of sense of humour, his theism, our shared hobbies. I kept scraping the surface till I come to what now feels like the bare basic of companionship to me.
To have someone to think of when you see a beautiful place, eat good cheesecake or read a heartbreaking poem, to have someone to tell when you bump your car. Someone who looks over at you in a big group to make sure you got onto the bus, who can tell the host that I won’t take sugar in the coffee while I am in the toilet, who’ll notice if I am not present for the group photo. Just that.
The unquestioned partnership like ribbons tying us together when we try to be our individual selves, while avoiding stepping on each other’s toes, which is difficult in small homes & low bank balances, but which through trampled-on toes exists still. & from this partnership, I realized I do not need common interests or compulsory differences; but that we can pick a tv show to watch together & try to watch it even though my patience for binging is lower than yours, that we try to read a book together even if we fail. To sit on my bed crying alone at night & know I have the option of calling you, to tell you about it later. You may not say the right thing & we will fight over it, but I will never worry that you will leave. Just that.
S says this is a low benchmark for love, maybe even inspired by my abandonment issue, & I guess it is, but this is what it has come down to, for me, after good and bad relationships, after shifting home, after getting a puppy. That companionship is not one size fits all. That there are people who will need logistics before emotions, matching movie preferences, but I will figure shared hobbies, ambitions, travel styles; as long as the ‘being there’ exists. I can’t say enough of how having one stable companion, in love & hate, has helped me navigate other relationships in life, to land square on my feet when I have fallen from the peak of my abandonment issues into the arms of well-meaning people who have had to leave.
I may call naive or juvenile this attempt at defining companionship when I look back on this next year, but anything worth doing is worth doing badly. So here, this is how I have defined companionship for myself, for now, the having of an option of you by me as I watch the sun go down. Just that.

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