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Relationship Member #1 has a cheat sheet. A list of wishes. Improvements. For the relationship. Observations. Positive goals. For the relationship. Suggestions, or, wishes. Wishes for the relationship. Member #1 will put forth effort. Member #1 wishes Relationship Member #2 would do the same. Here is the sheet, torn from an unused memory journal. Member #1 hands the paper to Member #2 before they begin their evening. Member #2 recognizes the watermark in the corner of the paper.

“This is from my journal.”

“You’ve never used it.”

“It’s mine.”

“I didn’t steal a sheet.”

“You did.”

“But I wasn’t being sneaky. It was for a good cause.”

“I know.”

“You agree.”

“I know you saw ripping out the sheet from my journal as a good cause. How did you know I hadn’t used it?”

“I opened it.”

“You read my journal?”

“There was nothing to read. No memories.”

“You opened it.”

“To get a sheet of paper. That was all. That was the only reason, and that was all there was. In the room. I needed a sheet of paper to write down my thoughts before they were lost. This is important. And it’s a good memory, good use of the paper.”

“I know.”

“These aren’t judgments.”

“Is this a list of demands?”

“No. Well … yes. I’m not demanding anything, but I believe our relationship demands our attention. From my point of view.”

“Is this a list of what I do wrong?”

“No, but I don’t list what I do wrong. That’s what I’m trying get away from. Self-ridicule. And I’m not ridiculing you, either. This is what I believe we need to concentrate on in order to be like our old selves. Not that those older versions of ourselves are ever coming back or need to. But on here is what worked, that I remember, in comparison to what isn’t. Currently. I think you remember what worked, too.”

“I do.”

“And what isn’t working … is on that sheet of paper. I would hope …”

“Okay, I will do my best.”

Member #2 places the paper on the refrigerator.

Dan Jones

Author Dan Jones

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