When we were in university we used to keep a swear jar. Lara didn't swear as much back then, but there's no way that it could have filled as fast as it did with just me. One month, there was a hundred pound note in there. We always used the money to treat ourselves to something nice but I finally broke down and asked her why. It was that hundred pounds that did it.
She'd been studying and looked flustered when I asked. "Why do you want to know, Sam?"
"Because you don't swear that much. So I want to know where the money comes from?" Duh? It was obvious. She was so dense sometimes. I loved that about her but back then it hadn't really clicked just how much.
She'd given me this smile. That goofy dorky smile that I kept falling heads over heels with. I keep falling head over heels for it, even now. "It's for every time I think about throttling my best friend."
Oh. Well I suppose that made sense. I'd want to throttle me too for all the antics I pulled.
I accepted that answer at the time, but now that we're settling into our lives together, we started up the swear jar again. Don't get me wrong, Lara swears a lot more now, but it's not filling up as quickly as it used to.
So one day I decide to ask her about it, draping my arms over her shoulders while she's doing yet more research. I think she's looking at a map of Peru but I can't quite tell. "Sweetie?"
"Mm?" She doesn't look away from her notes but I catch the hint of a smile on her lips.
"So you don't want to throttle me as much as you used to?" I ask her, pointing towards the swear jar.
She follows my finger with her eyes and then blushes. Deeply. Oookay. I slide around to her side and look at her. "You're hiding something. Spill."
"What's so embarrassing about wanting to throttle me? Sometimes I want to strangle myself."
"That is a common reaction in anyone who's met you, Sam. But back then, I didn't really put money in when you made me want to throttle you. It was when… other things."
The truth comes out! At least partially. I sit on my knees in front of her for story time and give her my most expectant look. She seems to resist at first but I'm not at all prepared for what she actually says.
"It was for every time you turned me on or made me jealous." She sounds so sheepish saying it, but it's adorable. It's easy to forget how dense we were about our feelings for each other. Oblivious, especially on my part.
But all I can think of to say is, "Wow… So what did I do to deserve the hundred pounds?"