Dirty boots thudded on the old wooden floorboards, leaving a trail of cakey mud in its wake. He sees her sitting in the drawing room with peeling wallpaper, looking out of the window, as if nothing could stir her concentration, not his incessant knocking on the door, not his kicking open the door, not his dirty boots thudding on the old wooden floorboards. From where he stood, facing her back, she looked like she was in a different world. And that made him angry.
“Are you f**king deaf woman? I’ve been knocking on that door for half an hour and you sit here, lost in your own world, looking out of that goddamn window facing a wall. I had to kick the door open. Now I have to pay the carpenter to mend the locks. All because you decided to suddenly go deaf today.”
Was she crying? Oh no, what now? Damn if he could understand women. He walked over to her and sat in front of her, on his knees, so their eyes were level.
“Okay, okay, now don’t start the water works on me. Its alright. I will carry a key from now. But seriously, what if we were being burgled and someone broke in? You should pay attention. Okay? I know you are mad at me for last night. But I promise I won’t lay a finger on you again. You hear that? I promise. You know I love you, don’t you? I love you very much. More than anything. Now lets have dinner, alright?”
He rolled the wheelchair to the dining table and started laying the table, telling her about his day. About that awful, blocked sewage pipe that he had to work on that morning. About how he almost broke a bloke’s nose because he wouldn’t stop talking.
“Can’t a man have his peace and quiet while he works? Jesus, people don’t understand at all. But I know you do my dear. And that is why I love you. Even though you were thinking of leaving me last night, I knew you never would. I wouldn’t have let you. You can’t leave me.”
He gently leaned in and kissed her forehead, while her unfocused eyes kept staring ahead and her lifeless heart failed to register the love that he was showing. A little too late.