It is not the first time he’s done this and I’m sure it won’t be the last
My wife has started reading my column and complaining. “Hang on,” he says, indignantly. “Where were you in 2019 that was hot?”
“There was a heatwave in the UK,” I say, “You were there.”
“It’s been 40°C in Australia since then!”
“Not anywhere we’ve been.” He cannot deny this.
Sometimes he laughs while he’s reading. “Which bit are you laughing at?” I shout. “You need to tell me so I know what’s funny!” Always he is laughing at direct quotes of himself.
In contrast, the link that I sent to the family group chat back home has been seen but not opened. It sits at the bottom of the chat, a sad, lonely blue.
My wife and I are in a stand-off because he woke me up this morning, which is a Monday. Monday is part of my weekend, along with Tuesday and the other usual weekend days. I am especially tested because this week I have had to agree to work five days because the bakery is closing for a fortnight to give the baker a well-deserved rest. I don’t start work until Wednesday and already I am having to reason with myself about how this week will go.
Through the curtain that separates our bedroom and our kitchen my wife says: “Do you know, the other night I had a dream about the temperature control on this fridge. It’s not riveting so I won’t tell you about it.” I pretend I have drifted back into a deep and peaceful sleep and what I am hearing is some soothing Radio 4 that does not necessitate a response.
To give him his due, my wife is making me breakfast. I presume this must be because he is feeling guilty about flinging open the curtains and shouting “Welcome to the day!” at 9am, when I was having a nice dream, which I took humourlessly. He does usually make breakfast, but I still imagine this is today’s reason.
I can hear him rummaging in the freezer. After a few minutes I say through the curtain: “Can I have the brown bread?”
I hear him put the toast down. “It’s already down,” he says.
“I just heard you put it down!”
“Sorry, too late,” he says.
A minute later he says: “Did you put this halloumi in to soak?” Nobody else lives in our house so there are limited options. However, this time it was me, making an uncharacteristic journey through the kitchen while he was outside this morning, after he’d woken me. Now I think about it, maybe this was his intention.
“Wasn’t me,” I reply.
Later, while we are eating a breakfast of avocado and halloumi on sourdough, with olive oil and balsamic vinegar — the reason we will never afford a house — he says: “Thank you for soaking the halloumi, if you did somehow make that happen from bed this morning.”
“I actually made all of this happen from bed,” I tell him, gesturing at the table. “You’re welcome.”