Today’s my birthday (How old am I? Too old for it to be polite to ask that question), so I decided to let you have the first look at But I Said Forever. I may just post another couple of scenes between now and 15 November, which is release date.
This scene is the last in the first chapter.
Phillip gets home around midnight. I’ve lost track of his shifts at the hospital. He shows up when he shows up. It doesn’t seem to make much difference whether he’s here or not.
Is it possible to be a married single parent? Because that’s what I feel like. I spent some time ranting about it when James was first born, but I’ve now accepted that my husband’s career is important and demanding and he has limited time and energy left over for family life. What really concerns me is that, ever since James was born, I’ve been conscious of a fundamental lack of interest in spending time with him – with us – on Phillip’s part. Sometimes I think our only purpose is to fill a photo frame on his desk. Surely it would have been cheaper just to hire actors to pose?
I open my eyes and roll over to face him as he enters the master suite. “Good shift?”
“It’s been very hot today.”
“I hadn’t noticed.”
“Was the journey home smooth?”
“Yes, there’s not much traffic this time of night.”
I watch him start to pull off his clothes, dumping them in a pile on the floor. I bite back a complaint and study him instead. He’s a handsome man, my husband: tall, blonde hair, nice body. But his blue eyes, which used to shine, now seem rather cold, and the weight he’s lost has left the lines of his face looking rather hard. Since I got over being dazzled by his interest in me, I’ve been a bit disappointed by my physical response to him. Or lack thereof. I know passion fades, but it would have been nice to have had it to start with.
“I got a job.”
Phillip instantly stiffens. “Where?”
“A bakery in town.”
“You’re going to work in a shop.”
“Brittany, that isn’t suitable employment for my wife,” he says, balling up a sock. “You already have plenty to do at home, but, if you’re really set on doing something else, I’m sure I could find some charity work for you to get involved in.”
I shudder inwardly. I tried that, pre-James. A load of women sitting around, playing one-upmanship and achieving absolutely nothing that I could see. Maybe the local groups are better, but I’m not inclined to take the risk.
“It’s only a month’s trial, anyway,” I say. “It might not come to anything.”
“By the end of the month, you’ll be glad to quit. You’re not likely to find anything of interest in a place like that.” He goes over to the en suite. “I’m going to have a quick shower. Don’t wait up.”
I roll over. “Goodnight.”
“Sleep tight,” he says, like I’m a five-year-old.
I try to sleep, but I have to get up and put his dirty clothes in the basket before I can.
Even after order is restored, I lie awake for a long time, thinking about the gap between what I expected from my marriage and what I actually have, and wondering if it’s normal for it to be quite so large.
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