The Short Wave

Bloody nag, nag, nag.
Nag, nag, nag.
That’s all she ever does.

“John, I want to be taken to House of Fraser! I just must see these curtains. We must have new curtains before June and William come around for dinner. You know how critical she is, she’ll tell everyone we’ve had the same curtains for over a year.”

There’s something calming in the static. In hearing a faint voice fade in and out of your ears, disappearing and never to be found again. Something so different to her voice screaming my head all bloody day long.

“John! John, I told you, you have to jet wash the drive. What will the neighbours think of us? I can see moss!”

The attic conversion is the location of my escape. Somehow she let me have a corner to set up my gear. I treated myself to a wonderful pair of headphones last Christmas. She needn’t know about them. The cups close over your ears, plush covered against your skin. Not a sound outside gets in.

“Do you want a cup of tea love?”
“Tea, we don’t have time for tea! They’ll be here in, oh six hours and you still have to give the windows a once over, there’s a spot you missed!”

Each night, I’m granted some time alone, me and ‘that bloody waste of space and money’. “Think of things we could do with the money.” She said, “It could go towards a new three piece suite.” We’d already purchased three new sets of those in the last ten years. And I don’t remember ever getting the chance to sink down and disappear into any of them. No, I preferred my little wooden chair, striped summer cushion tied to the seat.

“John, John! Where are the napkin rings? I’m sure they were here. Have you moved them John? Where are you when I need you John?!”

I come back in, dirty chamois in hand once more. Put on the kettle. Maybe now I can have my cuppa. I’ll make her a cup too. Strong and sugary, with a large dash of that thing I know she likes so much.

“Another cup of tea? Oh for goodness sakes John.”
“I’ve made you one, drink it before you run yourself dry.”
She snatches it from my hands. I take my first sip, a much deserved sip.

At the kitchen table I watch her slumped there, face against the oak. Breathing in and breathing out with a snort. That pair of ex-pats from Cyprus will be here soon. I wonder why she always invites them over to dinner when she quite obviously hates, no, despises them. I can’t stand them either. I close all the curtains, turn the roast off and ascend to the attic.

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