Before the beginning of second part of documentary, I called Jade. It rang seven times, and it terminated the call by itself. I walked towards the orange plastic bowl placed on the kitchen worktop to check if the chicken has defrosted. Not quite there yet. So I turned around and walked towards the fridge to top-up my empty wine glass with the chilled Sancerre, hearing a ringtone from the living room. I frantically placed the cork back into the Sancerre bottle, put it back in the fridge and answered the call. It was Jade.
“Hello, Milo,” she said.
“Jade, I can’t hear you! There’s a lot of noise in the background. Is everything all right out there?”
“Wait second. I am walking away from the crowd. It’s crazy out here. There are around three-hundred-thousand people in Hyde Park, singing, dancing and kissing. Are you still watching the documentary?”
“Yes,” I replied.
“Well, I have only seen the first part which just finished. The beginning was great – the pace was gripping and dynamic.” I shared my remarks on the documentary, seized the wine glass and drank two sips from it.
“But? There is always a “but” with you.” She laughed nervously.
“I think the end of the first part was a bit rushed. I feel that the description of the four ousted Alexanders was too vague.” I bluntly replied.
“We were told to focus primarily on the Alexander of UNESCO’s Divine Civilisations Channel 2. His life is featured in PART 2. Since two of the Alexanders are still alive today, the producers insisted that the documentary would only outline the reasons for the termination of their broadcast.” Jade explained.
“Precisely, my point. I want to know what happened to them. So, two Alexanders are now dead… Is it the drug addict?” I enquired.
“No. It was the chronic alcoholic. He died three years ago from liver cirrhosis.” Jade answered and added in a rush. “Baby I’ve gotta go back now.”
“Ok, but first please tell me what happened to the nationalist and the drug addict.” I insisted eagerly, like a little child.
“Well, isn’t it evident? The nationalist became a politician who fiercely opposed Alexander’s constitution. He is currently working as a legal officer at the Kulanjab Municipality.” Jade screamed her reply as the noise in the background began to amplify.
“And what happened to the drug addict?” I desperately persevered in my efforts to understand what happened to the one that was regarded as the ‘world’s favourite boy’.
Jade became almost inaudible, and the call terminated soon afterwards, as the documentary reappeared on the screen. I placed the wine glass on top of the old oak coffee table. Similar to he background bustling had just successfully terminated our conversation, this tiny coffee table had, on many occasions, achieved the same result. Every time the words “old coffee table,” poured out of her mouth, it killed the mood, leading to a celibate life. You see, that table has been in my family for over fifty years. I think it fits well into our small living room, but Jade is very keen to replace it with a new one.
She browses the internet for a new coffee table and every month, presenting them to me with a pleading facial expression. The raised eyebrows and widened eyes never last too long, though. Much to her dismay, I refuse to part from the oak table. Then, her eyebrows sink into a frown and remain that way for the rest of the week as a tense silence reigns.
When Jade and I decided to move in together into a new flat, my architect friend, James insisted that I hire an interior designer to salvage our relationship. According to James, many couples are estranged by their different perceptions of the dream house. He informed me that a surprising number of couples end up divorcing, because of irreconcilable differences in their expectations regarding their new habitat. James said that compared to the costs involved in divorce proceedings, hiring an interior designer or an architect to design your new home is a sound investment. At the end of the day, it’s easier to blame the interior designer or the architect if your home fails to meet your expectations than blame to Jade or vice versa.
Obviously, we didn’t act on his advice. Last time we initiated the discussion about the coffee table; Jade got really worked up and began praising women for keeping the world’s economy alive. She reminded me that the world ought to be grateful that women exist today because if it were up to men, many businesses would have gone bust by now. Of course, I tried to prove her otherwise about our contribution to the economy, but before finishing I could finish my sentence, Jade started angrily stipulating that the industries of cars, sports, prostitution and gambling are the only ways in which men have proved to contribute to the economy in the past. She reminded me that all the places that deprive the rights of women have weak economies. She concluded her stereotypical climax and rapidly retrieved into the bedroom without saying a word. I knew that that would be one of those nights I would spend cursing the clock in our bedroom, for its incessant ticking. My recollection of this dark time was cut short by my phone – a message from Jade containing the following: “Sorry darling. I should be home in two hours. We’ll continue our discussion over dinner. XXX.”
I went to the kitchen and pulled out a bag of salt and vinegar crisps from the overhead cupboard. The white wine is a master at getting you hungry, and I craved some snacks. So I also filled a small ceramic bowl with green marinated olives and returned to the sofa, which Jade had chosen.