Surviving Without Her – The Husband

This post is in two parts which have been posted, more or less, simultaneously. But you won’t find the second part on this blog. Instead (if you’ve not already done so), you will have to hop over to my daughter’s blog justathirdculturekid and read “surviving without her – the Daughter’” there.

The women in my life

The women in my life

It’s not the first time and I doubt very much that it will be the last, but my wife has left me.

Is it that my ADHD has driven her to distraction or the fact that I call her ‘wifey’ all the time on this blog (and, in fact, quite often in real life too)? Or is that I fail to remember to be romantic and make sure my wife feels attractive and wanted? Or perhaps it is because I spend too long with my nose glued to this laptop and that I go “uh huh, uh huh” in response to her conversations but don’t actually lift my eyes from the screen often enough to show that I really am listening (which I am for a good 44% of the time)?

Well, all of these things are true enough and might be critical tipping points for other women, but not for my wifey who is made of tougher stuff than that. She copes with the fact that this crazy 41 year old is still planning his future with the same kind of naïve, impractical ideas and excitement that our 9 year old son has when sharing his plans. In recent months I have told her I will be:

  • A full-time writer and novelist
  • A Professional Magician
  • A professional Sitar player playing for all the Indian restaurants in the North of England
  • An online Teacher
  • A prostitute (that one was really a joke – no one would buy my body these days)
  • A Train Driver

Actually, the last one is a lie. I’ve always wanted to be a train driver and that hasn’t gone away in 35+ years and that plan has always been there – not just in the last few months.

Wifey copes with it all.

This is what wifey does

This is what wifey does

No, she’s left me because while I’m busy dreaming and planning, wifey is busy actually doing. She’s been down in the capital city, Dhaka, doing some work for Walk for Life, the Clubfoot charity she works for part-time. She did that for a couple of days and then spent another couple with a friend getting some much needed R & R.

I don’t blame her. During my time of having Typhoid where she had to be my shonggi (the person who looks after me 24/7 in hospital), she also ended up with both our kids being ill enough to need antibiotics and days off school. Along the way she was quite ill herself, I think, twice but had to be the one working through it whilst I still recovered. On top of that, when the doctors (remember Nice & Smiley?) were worried I might have a heart problem because of my chest pains, her stress levels went through the roof.

So, I graciously agreed to let her go away for five days, once she filled out the requisite forms and filled them in triplicate as well as providing me with a 4,000 word essay indicating just what she would do to make it up to me. I know, I know, I let her off lightly. I’m a soft touch as a husband, what can I say?

She did leave me with Thing I and Thing II however. Having been here before many times, we all know the ropes by now and we have our parts down to perfection:

It starts with “Woohoo! Now we get to do whatever we want to!” after which my kids calm me down and remind me that I have responsibilities to them as the (temporary) Primary Care Giver – like feed them and stuff.

We then get about two days where it is actually really fun. The kids don’t quite get to bed as on time as they should, nor do they eat anything like as healthily as they should. For that matter, homework/revision for tests kind of nibbles the dust even if it doesn’t completely take a full bite. But we DO have fun – play games, watch Stargate episodes, lark around and fart at will. I can’t remember (at this moment of writing) whether or not I’ve asked them to clean their teeth for the last four days. No matter, they can always grow more if they drop out. I think that’s the way it works…

Anyway, then we reach the stage we’re at now which breaks down into the following three scenarios:

  • Thing I is getting grumpy and clearly not coping with having Dad tell her what to do and calling the shots in general. Shouts, screams and the occasional stamp of the foot have all taken place. Thing I has done these too…
  • Thing II is collecting more and more injuries until it comes to the point where he looks like I’ve been beating him for the week (and I have, I confess, felt like doing so at times). He has scars on his hands, eyes and belly button so far. There’s still 24 hours to do though and a whole encyclopedia of injuries could happen to him by then. He is also getting more and more tired as I send him off to bed to read but then fail to tuck him in and turn the lights out 10 minutes later. (In fact, as I began this section it reminded me that he went off to bed 45 minutes ago and I had forgotten him again. Oh well…)
  • Mr kenthinksaloud is getting stressed as virtually none of the many ‘great projects’ he had planned to get done while Wifey was away have been completed. This despite working every night much later than intended (always past midnight) and never moving from the laptop for more than five minutes at a time. Somehow, I’ve bitten off more than I can chew and I just can’t figure out how it happened…again…

These stages happen each and every time without fail and this time has been no different.

All of this leads to the inevitable. One way or another, all three of us tomorrow will say something like:

 “Woohoo! Now we get to do whatever Mummy/Wifey wants to”.

We will all be happy to have her back.

Visiting Cambridge last year

Visiting Cambridge last year

But more than anything else, I will get my lifelong companion and my soul mate back. She is the only one I completely trust to talk to about anything. She is the only one I want to tell my deepest feelings to. She is the only one who I will trust to cope with all my battiness and bizarre behavior. She’s the only one crazy enough to still think that there is something attractive about this guy even with the hair receding, the beard turning grey (allegedly, I can’t see it myself but my students delight in telling me all the time) and the body gradually falling to pieces.

I wonder if, when she goes to Dhaka airport tomorrow to catch the plane to fly back to the north-west where we are, I wonder if she will hesitate and think, just for one moment, about turning the other way and getting a ticket to…well, anywhere.

When I think about all of the above that she would be returning to, I wouldn’t blame her if she did.

You wouldn't believe how hard it was to find a photo of us both in without the kids...

You wouldn’t believe how hard it was to find a photo of us both in without the kids…

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About D K Powell

British freelance journalist, author, writer, editor, musician, educational consultant. I lived with Wifey, Thing I (daughter) & Thing II (son) in Bangladesh for 5-6 years working for an NGO called LAMB. Wifey led the Hospital Rehab department and I used to teach O levels at the school before going full-time as a freelance writer in 2013. Now we're back in the UK learning how to be British again. When not writing or editing, I'm busy trying to complete a Masters degree in Intercultural relations in Asian Contexts and reading way too many books at once. I also drink tea - lots of it.
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13 Responses to Surviving Without Her – The Husband

  1. Reblogged this on Technically Speaking and commented:
    What would we do without our long suffering wives.

    Like

  2. shail says:

    I loved reading his post, Ken 🙂 I loved the photos too 🙂

    Like

  3. OMG…Super like, Ken! What an awesome post!

    Like

  4. Vikki Ford-Powell says:

    I bought my ticket 16 years ago and wouldn’t swap it for another destination for all the money in the world. I love u FP. X

    Like

  5. What a beautiful post Ken!

    Like

  6. Cassandra says:

    You had me thinking for more than half the post that she’d left for good. Quite dastardly of you, good sir.

    Like

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