‘How was your weekend?’
Is it possible to ask that question in sarcastic tones? Because I think Landlord did. Was almost snarky. Cripes, after all this time referring to him as Landlord, do not want to have to change it to Snarky.
He was at the kitchen table when I came in. I have a key so I let myself in now. Saves time waiting in the cold for Landlord to come to the door.
Seriously, have never seen anyone look as proper as Landlord eating breakfast. It wasn’t really a thing in my house. Breakfast was a meal you ate on-the-go — if at all.
But Landlord, he does it in a proper 1950s way. Minus the round table, breakfast nook and tacky wallpaper.
The TV is always on. BBC news or some such. He sits facing the TV with a napkin (real-life ,fabric napkin) on his lap. His breakfast always consists of two courses. Fruit to start, sometimes with yogurt. If the whole scene wasn’t traditional enough, once I actually witnessed him eat half a grapefruit. Without sugar. Crazy.
Landlord’s second course varies. Is either toast and marmite, eggs scrambled or a soft boiled egg.
This morning; the egg. He was dunking his toast into it as I walked in. Turned to look at me before asking how my weekend was. In that tone.
Honestly, prefer Landlord with the wild beard and hair. At east he wasn’t as still.
At least this way I had the time to get self settled. To put all I had learned in the back of my mind. Easier not to feel sorry for Landlord when his behaviour towards me was cold. Goodness knows why. Suspect he’s the moody sort, is Landlord.
I made myself a coffee and faffed around the kitchen, making myself useful. As I cleared the plates landlord finished his egg and came to help me. He was moving a lot slower than normal. Hands shook with extra vigour. Wonder if it’s the weather.
We started around one another between sink and dishwasher until all was cleared. No words.
Automatically we headed off to the study so could help Landlord with his work. Which I normally enjoy. As I’ve said previously — is good to have a purpose. But today was excruciating. The silence just far too caustic. I even tried making small talk about the snow. All I got in return was, ‘yes, was quite substantial.’
At some point, just before lunch I think, Landlord let out an exaggerated sigh. Looked over to him — had been avoiding it — to see he had his face in his hands. I waited, because he was obviously dealing with something. He looked as if he could burst into tears at any moment.
Finally — sighing again — Landlord asked if we could give it a miss for today. Must have looked hurt, because after seeing my face he said: ‘it’s not a good time for me. Too much on my mind.’
The wife. Am wondering now if today is the anniversary of her death. Was not snakiness from Landlord. this morning, was melancholia.
His weekend must have been dreadful. Trapped by the snow in that big house he once shared with her. Cannot help but feel pity for him.
I couldn’t just leave without trying to convey something of comfort. I walked over to where Landlord was sitting and placed a hand his shoulder.
He looked up at me with an expression which plainly read he thought I was being peculiar.
Because I was, I suppose. Patted his shoulder and everything. Like an eejit. Like a fool who doesn’t know how to comfort another because somewhere along the line I have missed the compassion gene.
A rather pathetic state of affairs. If truth be told. But then — I am rather pathetic.