It’s been about eight years now since I first got together with Apple. I’d fancied her for a while but I thought she was a little out of my league and I found her sycophantic, hipster friends a bit alienating.
To be honest, my initial attraction was entirely superficial. She was gorgeous and turned heads like a magnet turns iron filings. I didn’t know much about her then (though her genie party trick of slipping into a laundry-hamper was pretty sexy) but I knew enough not to be able to stay away.
One day one of her moustachioed friends went off in search of boutique coffee and left her and I to get to know each other. It didn’t take long for me to realise that there was much more to her than just a pretty face. She was crazy-intelligent, interested in everything, always eager to have fun and even more heartbreakingly beautiful up close. She could talk everything from Homer’s Iliad to Homer’s Duff but what she loved most was design.
Her father had been a designer and she loved to quote his aphorisms. One in particular grabbed at me, “for most people”, she said, “design means veneer. It’s interior decorating. It’s the fabric of the curtains of the sofa. But to me, nothing could be further from the meaning of design. Design is the fundamental soul of a human-made creation that ends up expressing itself in successive outer layers of the product or service”. I loved her for that.
Happily, it turned out that she liked me too. She seemed to know what I needed even before I did. And so it began and we flung ourselves into a romance together. We went everywhere together and did everything together. She was alway game for anything, we’d go rock climbing, skiing, touring around Europe. It was wonderful. She was so pretty and intriguing that complete strangers would make excuses to come over and talk to us in coffee shops.
Even early on, the signs were there of what was to come. She wanted to do everything together but she was delicate and would too often get hurt. When she was ill, she switched off completely and it was never easy to make her well again. Most people would take a paracetamol but she was odd about her health and no matter how small the problem always had to see an expensive specialist.
At first I didn’t mind but gradually the bills got bigger and it began to put pressure on us. She tended to get poorly pretty regularly. I hated seeing her ill but also I hated the fact that extra doctors visits meant extra hours at work as I put in the overtime to make our rent.
It wasn’t just the health though either. She loved looking good and she always wanted new outfits, new looks. £2,000 for a coat here, £1,000 for a dress there, she’d look at me with those doe eyes and I knew how good she’d look in them.
I could just about justify the dress but then there were the accessories. There would always be shoes or even just a scarf - £100 for a scarf?! Those stores are incredible and have everything you need to make a purchase without even leaving the fashion rail. Everything except a seat to sit down on afterwards. They’d swipe my card with a smile but I felt like fainting. The receipts literally made me feel sick.
At first I loved buying her things. They’d always be wrapped so beautifully. Bringing them home was like Christmas - we’d carefully unwrap their gorgeous packaging before she tried them on. They say that Christmas is for children so perhaps I’m too old now because more often than not when we unwrap something new now I just feel hollow.
Over the years there have been several children. I love all of them very much but I hate to admit that sometimes I resent them for their neediness too. They are like little mini versions of Apple, perfect, beautiful and brilliant and the youngest are still so tiny. I think some of our teenagers may even eclipse the success of their mother (although we weren’t sure about Tony-Victor for a long time) but like her, they too have expensive taste.
Something changed in her after her father died. He was an incredibly strong influence on her and you could see both the best and the worst of him in her. It was so hard for her when he left and there was a time when I thought she’d never be the same. She recovered though and in some ways she’s stronger now than ever.
Some of the light went out too though - occasionally I fear she’s forgotten some of the passion, the obsession that made her who she was. Sometimes I feel she’s become clinical: the money used to be the means to an end, it was what we needed for extra equipment or to make her look beautiful. Too often now I feel like money is the end in itself.
She came into a lot of wealth over the years. It’s hard to hide a light under a bushel and her’s shone strong. We got so wealthy that we even have staff and she chose awesome people although even that got a little strange. As with everything she obsessed over choosing exactly the right staff - brilliant but also friendly and capable of anything.
She wanted our staff to do more and more and it’s got to the point where I can’t even do the basic things in my own house without going through them. If I break a glass during dinner I can’t go to the shelf and get a new one, I have to ring downstairs and wait for someone to come up to serve me. She used to think of them as geniuses. Neither they nor I feel very smart when I’m waiting for them to hand me a carton of milk. I think we both just feel irritated and demeaned.
I spoke to one of her ex-boyfriends the other day. It was like speaking to my alter-ego except he made a different decision. He said that he went thorough the same thing. He too loved her very much but one day he realised he just couldn’t afford to support her. She spilled something on a leather coat and told him she needed £1,000 to get specialist cleaning. He’d only just bought a new car for £800 and so told her to clean her own coat and left. I think he sometimes misses her but he’s been very happy with his current wife ever since.
For all of her faults Apple is still extraordinary. She only seems to get more beautiful with age and the children are amazing. I want to stay with her and love her but there are too many moments when I just feel foolish: less like a partner and more like a walking credit card. I wish she’d stop the bloodletting of cash. We are in it together now, I’m not planning on going anywhere. I’m sure there are still good times to come but she has to learn that there is give and take and that as tolerant as I am, even the most dedicated of us can still snap.