Catchy title huh?
‘I’ll just pop out and grab a few things, write me a list’
I’m SURE this sentence must be spoken in homes up and down the country. Maybe by the woman of the house but in this case, always by Sam (cos I’m on top of my shit and don’t need no lists writing for me)
Sounds a simple, everyday task right? Not round here. This sentence signals the beginning of the end… the end of anything productive happening for the rest of the day.
He’s like a caged animal, as soon as he gets out the house on his own he doesn’t know when to come back.
Today I realized what follows is 10 ‘stages’ amounting to a right bloody palaver and me wondering why I didn’t just go do whatever it was myself.
Preparation. A fairly painless start, I write a list and add extra instructions if needed. ‘Salad’ will not do, in no universe would he return with a lettuce, a cucumber and some tomato’s. I’d end up with a mung bean and buckwheat salad in a light vinegar dressing or some other absurd thing I’ve never known to purchase or eat in my entire life. As he leaves I’ll make sure to reiterate the items are needed for lunch which is in approximately 45 minutes time.
Hope. I’m a fairly positive person so the next half an hour will be spent in a state of hopeful anticipation. I’ll set the table, tell the kids they can’t have a snack because lunch won’t be long, I might butter some bread.
Slightly sad, this is the window watching stage. Every nip to the loo or dash up the stairs with a pile of washing I’ll join the dog at the window for a minute and peer up the road to spot him coming into the street. I’ll become slightly annoyed that any other vehicle has the audacity to travel within hearing distance while I’m waiting for such an important delivery.
Hatred. I’ll start saying things like ‘I knew he’d do this’, as the clock ticks past and hour and a half since he left. I’ll vow to give him the smallest sausages when he does turn up, maybe refuse to make him anything at all.
After 2 hours I get replaced with Satan himself. I’ll mutter things like ‘He might as well not bother coming back’ as I rummage in the cupboards to placate the now starving kids.
Then comes the worrying. 2 and a half hours is a long time for a quick trip to the shop. I start imagining the worst, I’ll check the local police twitter account for accidents involving anyone matching his description.
Guilt. How could I have been so insensitive to actually feel annoyed with him when he has obviously been in what must be a very serious accident. He could have been clinging onto life as I cursed him, what kind of person am I?! Why did I send him, this is all my fault. I miss him.
First contact. Oh my God. Its the police, or a passer by. They’ve found the I.C.E contact and are ringing to tell me the awful news, deep breath, ‘Hello?’.. He nipped to his Dad’s, then his Dad took him to see his friends new car, they stopped for a drink, he saw a friend he hasn’t seen since school and they had a catch up, he’s on his way to the shop now. LIVID.
Second Contact. He’s lost the list, what did we need? I won’t be long, he says. I’ve lost all faith and accept the children and I will forever remain hungry (and am too pig headed to make an alternative meal from food in the house)
Reunited. I put the shopping away silently and look at the ham, the eggs and the juice a second too long so he wonders if they are the wrong ones. I pretend I’m no longer hungry because there’s nothing I like better than cutting my nose off to spite my face.