W is for Wankers


NB: This post contains offensive and inappropriate language. As does the picture. It's the way it is.

I got back home to find Brendon in the kitchen cutting into a T shirt.  Not any t shirt but a brand new Lacoste polo shirt.  

“What the hell are you doing?”  I dropped my bag and went to snatch it from him.

“Fuck off!” He shouted, pulling it away. “I’m taking the label out the back because it does my head in.  It irritates the back of my neck.”  He was hacking too close to the fabric and about to ruin a very expensive top.  This explained all the holes in the back of his other shirts that I’d noticed when I was ironing them.  I’d forgotten to ask him why they all had gaping holes across the back but now I knew.

“Let me do it, you’re going to cut it into shreds. It’s expensive.” I urged.

He threw it down on the kitchen counter along with the scissors. I rescued it quickly and began gently teasing at the seam.

“What’s wrong with you?  You look like you’ve been crying.”  He said brusquely.

“Well, I have.  I’ve just handed my notice in to work and I’m very upset.”

“What for?  Are you retarded? How are we going to have any money?  That’s a bit selfish.”

I wanted to slap him.  How dare he.  I put down the Lacoste shirt I’d been carefully trying to remove the label from.  The prized label that most people bought the damn named shirt for in the first place.

I’m selfish.  Are you serious? Well, Brendon, maybe if you had tried just to keep your mouth shut and your opinions to yourself I wouldn’t have to. I’m doing this to make sure you stay in school for the next six months and pass your exams.  I’m doing this because YOUR timetable has been slashed, because YOU have been removed from lessons and YOU need to start getting your head round this because I’ll be coming in every day to make sure that YOUR behaviour is kept inline.”

“Whatever.  You’re just lazy.”  He pushed past me, put on his coat and left the house slamming the front door so hard I sensed the vibrations run under my feet.

I felt the onset of angry tears and the heat rising from my chest and filling my cheeks.   I went into the hall and kicked off my shoes. I noticed the pretty stained glass in the front door had cracked some more.  A few more slams and that would come crashing to the floor like everything else.

I went back into the kitchen and opened the fridge looking for something to eat. Stress eating relief. Instead I saw a chilled bottle of vintage rose.  I pulled it out and placed it on the counter and watched as its curved glass neck began to cover in a sweat of condensation.  I uncorked the bottle and breathed in the scent of sunbathed, under ripe berries and freshly picked wild flowers.  If a lovers’ picnic could have a scent, that would be it, I thought as I poured the pale blush into a large glass. I never tired of hearing the first few glugs of liquid as it freed itself from the narrow neck of the bottle. I almost wanted to pour it back in and do it again.  I took several, undignified slugs and let out a deep breath.

 What a shit day.

I wasn’t going to change my mind about leaving work despite Colin making me feel like staying. I’d never get a boss like that again.  Now I’d told Brendon   I may as well tell Karl today too and get it all over with.  I looked at my watch. It was 6.20pm.   Bryony would be back at 7-ish so I should ring him now whilst I had the house to myself.  I took my wine glass and bottle with me to the study and fired up my computer.  I’d need the spreadsheets I’d done, up on view, so I could answer anything he threw at me.  If he answered of course.  Maybe it would be the dancing doll and I’d get to tell her instead.

“Hi Soph.” He answered.  I could hear the car roaring and streams of traffic behind him.

“Hi.  The reason for the call is just to let you know that I handed my notice in today and I thought you should know.”  There.  I’d done it.

“Tell me you’re fucking joking..please..” His voice was heightened.

“No I’m not joking.  I’ve made the decision to support Brendon and I can’t do both. But before you start going mental I’ve made a plan and a spreadsheet.  I should be able to get enough freelance work to be just about OK. Plus I’ve put my car up for sale and I’ve changed the utility providers for the house so that’s cheaper and I’ve looked into changing  the house insurance when it’s due next month.  I’ve got loads I can sell, you know, like an ebay hobby. I’ve thought it through.”  I said finishing and taking another slow sip of my chilled wine.

“You’ve thought it through? Thought it through?  It’s the most monumentally, stupid decision I’ve ever known you make.  Without any concerns for the financial impact that’s going to have on everyone.  I can’t afford to bail you out! I have more than enough expenses!”

“I haven’t asked you to bail me out.” I interjected. But he wasn’t listening.

“And how the fuck are we going to cover the mortgage and the council tax, the bills, the food and every other bloody thing.  That property is a pension fund to me, to US and you’ve just killed it.”

“Like I said, I’ve made a spreadsheet.  I can just about meet my fair share.”

“A spreadsheet. Right.  Well that I’d LOVE to see that! A spreadsheet showing the future going up in smoke.   Fucking unbelievable.  You’ve left us high and dry. I suggest you rescind your notice rather sharpish.”

To say that I fucking hated him right then would have been a colossal understatement.

“No Karl, I will not rescind my notice because I am putting my child first.  That’s what parents do.  And with respect, I haven’t left us high and dry, that’s what you did when you walked out on this family. When you decided it was just  Too. Much. Pressure.   This is what I’m doing.  End of.  I’m sorry that doesn’t fit with your little agenda but bad luck.  I’m the one here, dealing with the everyday shit, taking the abuse, making everything work so I think I’m MORE than entitled to make my own decisions on what’s right for my family.”  My breathing was rapid with heightened anger but I had a deadly, bone chilling control that seemed to be taking hold containing any emotional outburst.

“Don’t turn this round on me!” He scoffed. “You’re the one making ‘silly girl’ decisions and changing everything and causing a workable situation to become difficult. What you’re doing is idiotic.   And for the record I didn’t ‘walk out on my family’ as you put it, I left an environment that was impossible to function in.”

“Impossible to function in?  I seem to have to do it Karl.  I HAVE to because you didn’t. And you can dress it up however you like. You. Walked. Out.”

“Because I couldn’t live like that anymore. Not because I didn’t love my family.  Not because I didn’t love you.  That was the hardest thing for me!”

“Well, you didn’t love us enough.”  I ended the call because it was going nowhere and I was sick of how he was talking to me. I couldn’t be bothered with the drama, the excuses or the blame.  But I knew one thing.  I was going to make this work even if I had to starve myself to death.

He didn’t call back which was a good thing because I wouldn’t have answered. It was rare I did that to anyone but if I did, ringing me back and expecting me to answer was futile.  Karl knew that. I’d no doubt he’d come back for more soon enough.

Brendon and Bryony both came through the door laughing having picked each other up on the street outside.   As soon as Bryony saw me she came and gave me a big hug.  She smelt of cheap teen perfume and jelly sweets.
“Oh Mum, are you OK?” She hugged me tight. “I heard you packed your job in.”

“Yep.  It’s not going down too well with people” I replied into her hair.

“Because it’s stupid. “ Said Brendon. “My names Mom...DUHHHHH.”  He was laughing as he said it but I didn’t find it funny.

“She’s doing it FOR YOU Brendon!” Snapped Bryony.

“You dizzy blud.” Said Brendon as he lifted Bryony from my hug and tipped her upside down.   She wailed and beat her arms on his leg to be put down.

“Well at least you’re in a better mood.”  I said “Does anyone want any dinner?”

“Nope had mine at Jessie’s.” Brendon replied. Well that explained the lift. 

“And I’ve been to MacDonald’s with everyone.” Said Bryony.  I didn’t class that as food but she was happy enough and I was more than happy with my liquid equivalent after today.

I went into the living room and sat in the corner of my sofa and curled my legs up.   I shut my eyes and just tried to be for a minute.  Thoughts were whizzing round my mind and I couldn’t make them stop.   I’d never been very good at that ‘Just empty your mind’ thing.

I clicked open my word game.  ‘The Voice’ had wanted real time talk.  Maybe it would be nice to talk.  I really liked him and he was so far removed from all the other stress in my life. Like a warm hand in the darkness.

Sophistication:  Do you mean on the phone?

It was lunchtime there.   It was a good fifteen minutes before he responded.

The Voice: Yes.  That’s the usual practice.

Well of course it was. Why did I say that? DUH.

Sophistication: Yes, quite. 

The Voice:  So would you like to?  Talk on the phone?

I felt all nervous again. But yes.  Of course I did.

Sophistication:  Yes. Why not.

The Voice: You don’t have to sound so enthusiastic.

As I was reading his last message and thinking I should have sounded a little more eager, Brendon came in the living room with a film. 
“Think we should watch Fight Club.” He said as he went to put it in the DVD player.

“I’ve seen it before.” I replied.

“Yes Mommy, but it’s my favourite film and I thought I’d come and cheer you up.”

I loved how he thought cheering me up involved doing something that HE wanted to do.

“Well, if you like...” I guessed a bit of Brad Pitt wouldn’t hurt and it was a cracking movie. Plus it was rather relevant since I’d been in my own little fight club all day.  As the film came to play I went back to my game for a second.

Sophistication:  I am. Really. Let’s arrange something.

The Voice: Well there’s no time like the present.

What?  Did he mean right now? 

“Mum! Put your game down.  The film’s starting.  This is about spending quality time with your son.” Brendon snapped.

Sophistication:  I can’t now.  I’m watching a film.

“MUM! Put it down or I’ll take it off you.”

I put it down. I’d go back to him when the film finished.  Maybe we could talk then.  I spent the next two and a half hours curled next to my boy who was trying to make amends for his earlier outburst in his own sweet way.

Brendon went to bed and I went to the kitchen to make a drink.  I took my phone and clicked on  my game.

The Voice: Wow. You’re. Watching. A. Film.

Whoa.  What was that supposed to mean?  Slightly unfriendly.  I hadn’t called him an arsehole for a long time but he was heading back in that direction.  That actually hurt my feelings.

Sophistication:  Yes I was.  But it’s finished now.

Let’s see if he suggests a call now.

The Voice:  Well I hope you enjoyed it.

Jesus.  What’s this all about?

Sophistication: Yes I did thank you.  Did I do something to upset you?

The Voice:  Well most friends would pause a movie to talk to their friends.  I’m sure you must have a remote that facilitates that.

Really? Why was he being so cutting?

Sophistication:  Well I was watching it with my son.

The Voice: Well I hope he enjoyed it.

Sophistication: Yes.  He did thank you.

Clearly I’d totally racked him off without even trying, just because I couldn’t talk precisely when he wanted to.  But I couldn’t.  Welcome to Aspergers.  He didn’t know that but maybe he should be a little more mindful that others lives weren’t necessarily as easy.

The Voice: Good.

That was it?  Good?   I was so upset and annoyed.   In fact I felt cyber violated.  Why was everyone being so mean to me today? 

 I’m just surrounded by a bunch of wankers.