When he is late I think the worst. I can’t help it. I try to watch the TV, to read, to cook, to tidy up anything to occupy myself, I really do! But I just can’t help myself, I keep thinking that somehow something terrible has happened and that is why he is late.
After so many years of marriage I should be used to his tardiness but each time is exactly like the first.
It would be fine if only he answered his mobile phone but invariably, he never does. When I
yell berate him for not answering when he finally deigns to return home, he looks bewildered and says inane things like
“Sorry it ran out of battery.”
“I had it on silent.”
“It was in my suitcase.”
“I was sleeping.”
“Paltry excuses!” I fume, but to be honest I am too relieved to see him home safe to take it any further.
I am not saying I worry exactly when he is a little late; it’s when he is hours late that I twitch. When he has told me he’s going to be home early and then he is late.
“I had to go for drinks.”
“I forgot to tell you…”
He obviously has no clue about what he is putting me through.
First of all it is the dread, and then it is the practicalities of a life without him. How will I cope? Will we have enough money? Will I have to sell our home? And I go into these in HUGE detail almost down to the last penny. For the biggest worry of course is money and being able to support the boys until they are old enough to support themselves.
I don’t dwell on how I would feel if he weren’t around anymore that is just too much to contemplate, a void. It has to be about getting things done and sorted and surviving.
There are times when he is late that I could cheerfully throttle him then and there on the doorstep for putting me through all the crap but then of course I remember that it was me not him that was doing the thinking and that is the problem…Dear Charlie just doesn't!
The first time he did it was on a Friday night and we had friends round for supper. We waited and waited and waited by 9 o’clock I was frantic with worry while trying not to let it show and laughing and joking and keeping everyone entertained.
He should have been home at 7pm to help me. Guests arrived at 8 and I just kept hoping and hoping and hoping. And getting more and more drunk as my nerves frayed.
Finally I admitted the truth I had no idea where my husband was and we started to phone round the hospitals and just as I was on the phone to the police he bowled up on his bicycle.
“Oh, hello!” he says to everyone with a broad grin, “didn’t expect to see you here!”
He’s done it many times since but it will always be like the first time to me…