If getting up is hard, going to bed isn’t much easier. There’s always that last sip of wine to finish, or more likely, the dishes are waiting! It’s so depressing getting up early facing a sink-full of cold dirty used dish-water with odds and ends of onions or cabbage floating around and spoons and forks barely visible at the bottom.
We have given up on the dishwasher. Bending down loading and picking up dishes is more work than just washing it all by hand. Apart from the work, the machine has to go through a noisy cycle with washing, rinsing and then drying, it’s another one of those electric things which hasn’t really put more time in my pocket. Of course, at our age, time is not so much of the essence anymore. When families were large with lots of kids, that’s when a dishwasher could be handy. I mean with just two cups, two plates and some cutlery, how much does it take to do the washing up?
If the book is any good, it means goodbye to a quick sleep as well. Reading before sleeping is a law onto its own in this household. Sleep has become secondary. I am reading a book about a man having suffered a major stroke. The wife at first visits her husband in hospital. There is not a lot of communication. After a while she only visits him sporadically. He seems not to really recognize her much. The wife comes to the startling conclusion she is actually happier without him moping around the house.
His stroke is liberating her from a stifling sour marriage. He was a good husband and terrific provider having his own law-firm and staff, including a secretary and junior solicitors. He was always a stickler for precision and routine. At Christmas time just before his stroke he gets terribly upset when his son, who promised to spend time with his parents at Christmas time, doesn’t turn up. Not even a phone call. The husband seems unable to cope with it and keeps churning the issue around.
The wife is very understanding. Why would a young man spend time with parents at Christmas time, she argues? He cannot accept that and sees the son as being very uncommitted to his promises. ” He will never make a good lawyer”, he says and frets over this till he gets his stroke.
An added complication is the husband having scribbled on his hospital slate that the nigh-nurse masturbates while sitting in her chair opposite his bed. He shows the message to his wife.The wife ponders if his old dick is still able to get an occasional twinge or so, especially with having had a stroke. She realises they hadn’t made love for many months but also considers her being fat might have something to do with it. She has inherited her mother’s big bum. The story so far shows the wife overcoming the hurdles she faces and growing more content with her life.
I think it is a real tale of domesticity and love. I am reading this book till most of the night is almost over. I make up for lost sleep in having numerous naps during the day, even while people are talking to me. We had a neighbour visiting us yesterday who kept talking about our ‘Body Corporate’ and council permissions for cutting a tree. Not a very riveting afternoon. I had a good nap while having my hand in front of my face. Helvi covered for me by inveigling an animated interest.
I do wonder how we all sail through our lives with love, lust, liverwurst and all that stuff. Is it all as much part of what we need or is it all a bit like the dishwasher, many can do without it. Perhaps I have been fortunate with having hit Bingo first time around. I look around and find at times couples that still seem to thrive in each others presence and grow. I was sitting with H in a street café yesterday and watched an elderly couples talking deliciously with each other, they smiled a lot. Perhaps they do the dishes by hand as well.
I wonder now if the husband in hospital is deliberately prolonging his recovery from his stroke. He might ,ever so shyly, watch nurse’s hand disappearing between her legs during the evening, keenly inhaling her little sighing and heaving. I suppose it will all be revealed, as they say.
The book is “Letter to sister Benedicta” by Rose Tremain. One of her books “Restoration” was shortlisted for the Booker prize.