My husband’s monotones seep into every crevice of our lives and his overall lack of enthusiasm is only punctuated by occasional self-amusement at a play on words that comes to mind from listening, but not engaging, in the conversation of others. Perfectly able to speak with animation about a new piece of information he has acquired, he sees no need to offer even a hint of a smile when conversing in other ways. To him it is excessive and unnecessary to crease his dead pan facade as he either enters a room or sees a familiar face across a crowd, even when it’s me.
My daughter, now almost thirteen, calls him “Daddy glum face” as she teases him about his expressionless demeanour. He replies, without offence, that it would be uncomfortable if he smiled any more than he already does and, as he sits blanked faced throughout every meal, every car journey and what seems like every moment, I regularly wonder how many hours of silence I have spent with him to date and consider, with sadness, how many more I still have to come.
“Move on,” I tell myself in moments of desperation only to have my resolve falter at the price my children will pay for my inability to cope with the man they love.
“Get help”, say my friends when I tell them, in tears, about his mood swings of indifference to rage, only to find I shrink from the task of broaching the subject with him, let alone finding the money to fund it.
“Keep trying,” is the voice that persists, in spite of his wagging finger declaring the fault lies entirely with me. For this is a broken man I speak of who once was my closest friend in a time gone by, before bereavement, before debt and before financial despair.
They say that sometimes being a friend means knowing when to exercise the art of timing, with a time for silence, a time to let go and a time to leave well alone for people to hurl themselves at their own destiny.
· I have been silent while he built a business on what proved to be foundations of sand
· I have let go so he could seek his own destiny and achieve great things in his own right
However, it is also said a friend should be prepared to pick up the pieces when it’s all over.
“But how” I ask, “do you pick up a man in pieces when he believes himself to be whole with no part of the problem lieing with him?”I end today knowing there is no delight for me in a life unshared and sadly, all too often these days it is my computer, not my husband, that is my closest friend.