And there it was, that fuckin expression. 'I always listen to you.' Grace wanted to scream. She was getting so angry. He never listened, always preoccupied with some other thing, or thought. She could see his eyes disconnect from his brain every time she spoke. Why did she bother?
'Really? Always listen to me?'
Now, for the first time in years, she could see he was. She had his attention.
And now, all her bottled-up words evaporated. How far should she go? Tell him she was planning to leave him? All she did lately was imagine life on the other side of this marriage, as if it were the summit of Mt. Everest, and she did not know how close she was to the end because clouds obliterated her view. She imagined those photos each year of the long line of climbers snaking their way up the ridge.
And now, with him actually focussed on her, it was as if the clouds parted and she found herself tantalisingly close to the summit. All she needed to do was reach out, and she'd have done it.
'I don't have a name for any of it, but I fantasise about leaving this,' she waved her hand in the space between them.
Peter remained motionless. Perhaps he wasn't listening at all and was again off with his own thoughts.
'I want,' she stumbled at what came next.
People only want to summit Mt. Everest to have that one moment where they can say they matter because they reached the highest place on earth, as if everyone below can see them. The part that no one thinks about is you still have to descend into a world where you will be just as unseen.
Grace pulled back from the brink. 'Never mind.'