I hate that I’m here. Gabriel hates that I’m here, as it’s ruining Sunday for both of us. He probably feels like I’m checking up on him as well. Monica most definitely hates that I’m here as I represent everything that has gone wrong in her life, even if I am stuck in a car on the other side of the road
I’m sat low down in the passenger seat, watching them in her driveway . I wonder what other people see – someone being helpful? Or do they see an estranged couple, him helping out for old time’s sake? It’s still half his house after all. Perhaps they see a couple comfortable together in each other’s company, putting a split behind them?
I see all of these things. But I also see a man too pathetic to say no whenever his soon-to-be ex-wife asks for help.
Because I don’t understand why he says yes when she comes out with these ridiculous reasons to ring up on a weekend and ask him round. This time it’s a pizza on the garage roof. She wasn’t able to say where it had come from, but she was able to put across very strongly the view that only Gabriel could deal with it. I have no idea why she can’t make it up the ladder herself. I would – although if it was me there wouldn’t be pizzas on the garage roof, or leaking pipes or, what was it? Oh yes – an escaped hamster behind the kitchen cupboard kickboard.
I am patiently sitting and waiting for him to finish so we can continue our weekend, and watch them so closely I worry I’m overanalysing what’s going on. I feel like I’m in a hide closely studying animal behaviour. I scrutinise her hair, make-up, choice of clothes. Bit too much cleavage on show there, perhaps. Is she checking out his bum whilst he’s on the ladder? Is he looking at her longingly whilst he’s up there, using a broom to bring the pizza down.
The car is stuffy so I lean over and switch on the car engine so I can wind down a window, and a gentle breeze rustles the empty sweet wrappers stuffed in the cup-holder between the driver and passenger seats.
Twenty years they were married, with a son at university. But I’m not even the other woman. I’m the woman who came after the other woman, but my place in his life still feels limited by his attachment to his old family.
The breeze only provides so much comfort – I can’t take anymore of the heat. Or this situation. The seatbelt makes a low hum as the strap shoots back, and then a clatter as its’ metal part bangs against the interior of the door. I step out onto the pavement and start walking home. I was going to say goodbye, but for once he can run to me. If he wants to.