Diary of a Widower

Daily entries by a husband, who stayed behind with his two sons

Crying and sobbing by ourselves

SATURDAY, February 13 – Irritations pile up. Between the au-pair and the children, between her and me, between the children and me. There is something more than time needed in order to accept a woman into this house. I call a meeting and we compare notes on the first few weeks. Her physical and mental presence is overwhelming and she also wants to know what we think. Communication is the key.

Am I going to tell her what we think, how we feel? Not always. At most I give her a few vital details about the kind of fucking life we’ve been leading. She’s right here in the middle of everything, but can’t seem to grasp it all. She can’t see, let alone experience the pain that once again swept so mercilessly into our living room  this afternoon. It started with a clash between Sander and me. The trigger was the homework which he refused to do and which I in turn ordered him to do.

Of course, that wasn’t what it was really about, but the two of us need to thrash it out. A knock-down, drag-out fight over nothing; but fury at the reality of Jennifer’s death. The powerlessness of the situation. The frustration and the hatred, genuine hatred towards him, that bastard who has all this on his conscience. Frightful arguments, really, with Eamonn as unwilling victim along the sidelines. We ended up on the floor, all three of us, crying, sobbing, and cuddling.

Totally defeated, I was the first to get myself up again. I took a chair, placed it in the middle of the dining room, tied a pillow to it and told the boys it represented the motorcycle cop. I took the lead and started swearing at this empty chair, save for a pillow. I ignored the idiocy of the situation. No blows, just words. Shouts. Then the boys took turns. One at a time, we faced the imaginary motorcycle cop and gave him hell.

It didn’t solve anything; but, we felt better and after that we went go-karting. When we got home later that night, we were in high spirits and E looked at us a bit puzzled. She’d been downtown all day. Still, peace reigned once again and we didn’t say a word about our temporary breakdown that afternoon. That was between just the three of us.

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