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Monday, May 15, 2006

 

Bit of a domestic

Last night was a bit fraught and I’m still feeling a bit shaky. Dear lady wife got totally stressed out and for a couple of hours I was convinced I was going to be out on my shell like. Turns out she’s been suffering from the exact same condition (Need for wide open spaces etc.) as my good self and chose last night to blow her stack. Breaking plates, slamming doors, shouting and screaming, my first reaction was to go “What on earth?” and head towards the sound of the disturbance. God alone knows what the neighbours thought.

Now I’m used to dealing with people who go off the deep end, but this episode came straight out of left field and completely wrong footed me. For those of you who are not married, this is quite an unnerving experience. I’ve never seen the love of my life as bad as this and quite frankly it scared the living hell out of me. At one point I had my bags out and halfway packed while Mrs Sticker railed at the injustice of life that keeps her where she is. It was that bad. The dog ran out of the house and it took me a good two hours to coax him back in, all the time a little nagging voice in the back of my head was telling me to get out and not come back.

Quite frankly I didn’t understand what was going on at the time. Was this one of those ‘sounding board’ episodes that I’ve learned to cope with or something that really had to be dealt with right now?

Mrs Sticker was out in the back yard, silent and unresponsive when I caught up with her. “You okay?” I asked her. Not your usual witty opener Bill, you’re out of practice.
“No.” She’d been crying and wouldn’t look me in the eyes. Oh bugger, this is serious.
“What’s up love? You’re scaring me.”
“This bloody house.” Was all she’d say. Only one we’ve got until I write a bestseller or we both win the lottery.
“I know. You know. We’re stuck with it for the moment.” I tried to be the thoughtful husband, but she just turned on her heel and picked up her coat on the way out of the front door.
“It’s not good enough.” Boy she sounds tense. “I’m going out.” Then the front door slammed with what sounded like an awful finality.

Now let me explain; I’ve learned that a woman, when she ‘goes off on a rant’ does not always want answers or have something fixed. Half the time you start fixing what’s broken only to get your head bitten off for doing so. The other half of the time you just have to stand there and take it on the chin, because all she wants is to get it off her chest. Either way you cut it, the experience is upsetting. It’s a no-win scenario.

At the time I made the mistake of taking it personally. The latest rewrite of my latest novel isn’t finished and no one seems to want it, the last five story submissions have met with reject slips and I’m still unable to find a better job. So yes, I thought she was railing at me for being a loser. Hence the bag packing exercise. Loser maybe – doormat never.

An hour later, I’m still fizzing with anger because she won’t tell me what the hell is the matter and her mobile phone has been switched off. My bags were half packed and I’d started to wonder who will look after the dog when I’m gone. I can’t hack this. The kids were keeping well out of the way – I have no idea what they thought of it all.

Two hours later the doorbell rang and I opened the much abused front portal to find a very tearful Mrs Sticker standing there in the rain. “God’s sake love, get in.” I said. This is bad, this is very bad.
“No.” Mrs S is standing there getting soaked. “Come out Bill, walk with me.” There are times when a little discomfort should be ignored, so I stepped out into the rain and went for a walk around the block, trying to figure out what to say, what to do. “I can’t do the house any more Bill. I just can’t do it.”
“I hate it too, but you know we’ve got to hang in for another two years.” I responded, wondering when I was coming up on the list of disposables.
“No.” I know that tone, it’s end of the tether time. Time for me to say what’s on my mind.
“Give me forty-eight hours and I can be out of your life.” I said bluntly. With nothing to show from this relationship but a busted business and a broken heart. Jesus wept.
She stopped dead. “Is that what you think this is?” She demanded.
“Well isn’t it?” I snapped back. No sense in being a doormat. Get it out in the open so’s we can deal with whatever it is. Roll those dice, sucker.
“Don’t you go running out on me Bill Sticker.” She cut back at me. “I need you more than ever right now.”
“So it’s not about – oh sod it love – I’m sorry.” I took her hand and put my arm around her and let her cry.
“I can’t go back in that house Bill. I just can’t.”
“Let’s get the car keys. I’m driving.”
“Don’t make me go back in, I can’t.”
“Okay, okay. Let’s go out for a drive.” It’s half past ten and I’m on early turn in the morning. I really don’t need this; but she needs me more, nagged that awkward little voice of conscience in my head.

There are times when I would cheerfully put a bullet through my brain to stifle that insidious little voice. I’m sure having this conscience stops me from being a ruthless multi billionaire with a string of mistresses and a mansion for every day of the week. I put it down to listening to older friends Clifford T Ward songs during my formative years. Especially this one, which never fails to move me. Soppy old bastard that I am.

I got my tear and rain dampened wife into the car and we went for a midnight drive. Something I haven’t done since my contracting days when I often had to get from one end of the country to another overnight. We must have visited half a dozen service stations looking for my wife’s favourite sweets before fuelling up the gas guzzler and heading off into the night.

Two hours later we were giggling like a pair of naughty schoolkids in a motorway service area. The coffee shop staff seemed to take us in their stride and after a few moments decided we were going to be no trouble and went back to their little gossip group.

At one time, the wee hours of the morning were all part of what I did. Tell you the truth I used to thrive on four or five hours sleep every twenty four, but you get older and you get out of practice burning the candle at both ends. It was three by the time we got home and got to bed. A more relaxed Mrs Sticker brushed her teeth while I hurriedly dumped my half packed bag into the cupboard. Then I just crashed and burned until half past six. Don’t ask me why I’m still awake and moving around twenty four hours later because I don’t know.

Now she who must not be ignored has summoned me, and I must go. Goodnight.

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Exasperated expatriate expostulations all the way from British Columbia, Canada. As if anyone really cared. Oh, I also watch Icelandic Volcanoes and seismic activity. Don't ask me why.

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