(~3 minutes to read)
Three weeks ago I wrote about Mrs. H.’s descent into silence, a state prescribed by an ENT specialist as penance for having developed small nodules on her vocal cord.
Except for a few lapses (usually when she’s awoken from her slumbers, and which utterances are invariably followed by a “s#!t” as she realizes she broke her silence), Mrs. H. has been silent for five of the prescribed six weeks now, and to be honest, it’s downright disconcerting for me. (Although the local donkeys have brayed their relief at being able to retain their hind legs.)
We all know that when our better halves give us the silent treatment, it’s usually a sign that all is not peace and tranquility in the relationship at that precise moment in our lives. Imagine five weeks of worrying; wondering what it was you did that upset him/her that much!
I’m currently averaging 79.3 repetitions per day of, “Are you okay?” And (on average) 74.8 times per day, it turns out that I’m being too sensitive—I’ve done nothing to offend or upset her. But the other 4.5 times per day…
To be clear, being silent for Mrs. H. is comparable to Hercules performing his twelve labours, except that Mrs. H. (that’s Hatch, not Hercules) didn’t do the crime, so her silence isn’t atonement (other than for abusing her vocal cords singing and talking.)
The thing is, Mrs. H. is not, by nature, the silent type. In fact, she’s quite the opposite (which, by the way, is why we make such a good couple—I’m rubbish at small talk, and usually end up embarrassing myself and my audience when I attempt any). So six weeks of platypus lips is like an eternity in that hot place for her.
But where she leads, I follow, so I’ve been in “silent treatment limbo” for five weeks now. And like all those poor unfortunate souls in other limbos, I feel… well, poor and unfortunate.
Another sensation I’m becoming aware of is ambivalence about the ending of her silence. It’ll be great to be able to have a free-flowing conversation again instead of playing charades all the time, but at the same time, she has a lot of catch-up to do.
As I noted in my July 24 article, she’s been making notes of what she’s tried to communicate but couldn’t because I couldn’t understand her. I revealed in that piece that she was contemplating buying a couple of exabytes of cloud storage to store all these thoughts on. That’s a lot of thoughts.
And the notion fills me with horror when I visualize her saying to me something like, “you remember we visited that furniture store on July 30th, and you thought I said that I really liked the kite-shaped end table but only if we could get it in the same colour finish as the bookshelf in the previous furniture store? Well—I didn’t mean that at all; I was just saying that the end tables in that store were all nice, and if only the bookshelf in the previous store was available in one of those colours, we’d be done choosing.” It won’t matter one jot that we ended up buying rectangular, white end tables in IKEA on August 6th. She’ll still feel the need to set the record straight about those other tables…
But on balance, I’m looking forward to returning to our usual roles (unlike those soon-to-be-bipedal donkeys). Mrs. H. can talk to her heart’s content, and I can once again assume the pensive, silent attitude that everyone knows me for.
In fact… I’m pretty sure I’ve developed nodules on my vocal cord these past weeks. I wonder: perhaps total silence for six weeks is in my horoscope.