8.10pm, Hazel and Martin are working together in the kitchen.
- H: I need to go and get Joni in a couple of minutes. (He’s out at Friend’s house a couple of blocks away)
- M: He should be here by now, I told him to be home by eight.
- H: He’s probably forgotton, I’ll go and get him.
8.15pm, Hazel puts cake in the oven.
- H: Right, I’m off to get Joni.
8.17pm, Hazel arrives at Friend’s house.
- Friend’s Mother: But Joni’s not here, he left like maybe an hour ago and he said he was going home.
8.18pm, Hazel has minor fit, this is the first time Joni has ever not been where he was supposed to be, and he knows that he isn’t allowed to go anywhere else unless he comes home and checks in first. Friend’s mother also has minor fit, she has no reason to imagine that Joni might have been going anywhere other than home.
8.20pm, Hazel goes home to make sure that Joni isn’t asleep in his bed or anywhere else that we hadn’t thought about, and to figure out who to start calling next.
8.22pm, Joni is found at home, alive and well and in the office playing computer games.
- H (as relief turns to desire to kill someone): Joni couldn’t you at least tell someone you were home, I went round to (Friend’s) house looking for you and when you weren’t there I didn’t know where to look for you, and now his mum is all worried about you too. Next time can you make sure you tell someone that you’re in before you start playing computer games.
- Joni. But I did. I saw Daddy. I spoke to him and he spoke to me. I found a cockroach in my room and the girls were both screaming and Daddy came to see what the noise was about. He definitely knew I was home!
8.25pm, Joni and Martin despatch to Friend’s house to reassure Friend’s mother that everything is OK. The one-way streets mean it’s five blocks to drive, but three to walk. I have no idea why they took the car.
8.26 and a half pm, Friend’s mother arrives. She walked so she missed Joni and Martin who were on their way to her house by car. Hazel apologises for her inconvenience. She’s fine, she leaves.
8.30 pm, Joni and Martin return complaining that there wasn’t anyone home at Friend’s house. Hazel explains that this is because Friend’s parent was in our house.
9.15pm, Everyone’s finished showering and we’re sitting at the table over the evening meal.
- Joni: Daddy I can’t believe that you didn’t remember that you’d seen me when I came in.
- M: I know I saw you, but you didn’t tell me you were back. Next time you need to tell me that you’re back so I can tick it off on my mental check-list.
11.15pm, Joni is going round the house repeating”I know I saw you but you didn’t tell me you were back” and bursting into peals of laughter.
When I next come up for air I’m going to start a survivors’ self-help group for computer programmers’ wives. In the meantime I’m thinking about swopping some of the males in my life for something less high maintenance. Possibly a rabbit.