It’s been a while since Jack’s work has gotten him stressed. Or since I’ve noticed it.
It seems worse when we’re not together. Communication becomes voice only and the physical nature of it – the gestures and the expressions are missed. During these exchanges it feels like we miss each other by miles. And then when he’s talking on speaker phone, everyone else is listening.
‘How are you this morning, psychopath?’ he said to me this morning. Last day of dance intensive, two accidents counting – it’s been a unexpectedly tough week. His ‘psychopath’ comment was a joke, a probe, perhaps a celebration of my natural aggressiveness? One jibe went to another. Within five minutes I was getting a full-blown character assessment.
Time to end it. ‘Ok, thanks J. Have a good day!’
‘Why is he being so aggressive?’ my mum asked after I put the phone down.
Cause his dad used to do the same thing to him, I felt like saying. I have no pleasure in being drawn into the realms of rational reasoning. With my family as well as my husband. If someone else could please peel back a layer or two, I’d be grateful. Why do I always have to be the one holding the onion?
When we first got to London, I called Lulu so my mum could thank her for the present they’d bought her from Egypt. The perfume from the perfume debacle.
‘Thank you, Luli!’ my mum exclaimed. ‘I love it – it’s beautiful!’
Lulu didn’t answer.
’Lulu!’ I called to her.
‘What?’ I heard the grumble back.
Right. Was she on Snapchat? Not cool. ‘Lulu, your grandmother is trying to thank you. So, people say “You’re welcome” in this situation.
Next thing I heard was Jack’s voice. Defending Lulu. Telling me I must have misheard her. To give her a break. Hold on. Was this the same person who regularly jumped into her conversations to give her a harder time than she deserved? And now he was defending her?
After Delph’s injury, Jack tried to convince me to get an Uber from Green Park Tube Station back home. I was trying to tell him that Green Park was probably not the best station to catch an Uber from. A couple of harrumphs and click went the line.
‘Did you just hang up on me?’ I wrote to him.
My phone peeped back. ‘You just don’t listen.’
I stared at the message. How is disagreeing with him the same as not listening?
I know that life is short. I know we shouldn’t sweat the small stuff. In this moment I know I should keep my mouth shut and turn the other cheek.
‘I couldn’t do it,’ my mum said after he hung up on me. She’s told me this before. She has no husband – and even though it wasn’t her choice at the time – she can see the perks of her situation now.
‘I know – I should have been a lesbian.’
She pulled a face. ‘Well, I’m not sure that would have been easier.’
I shrugged. ‘I know. Still, it probably would have been easier.’ Surely I’m not the only one to feel it?