Trailing Spouse

Whump, Smash!

The sound reverberated from the living room. Connie dashed from the kitchen with the cordless phone cradled between her head and shoulder, quickly observed the broken lamp, the still-spinning soccer ball, and the guilty expression on Gabriel’s face, then interrupted the call. “I’ve got to go – kid issues. I’ll call you back as soon as I can.” She hung up without waiting for an acknowledgement and tossed the phone on the table as she bolted over to her six-year-old son.

“Are you all right?” He nodded, sheepishly, and she sighed in relief. “What are you doing playing soccer in the house? You know better than that!”

Gabriel nodded again but said nothing. Connie suppressed an urge to yell at him and sat down cross-legged on the carpet in front of him. She pulled him onto her lap in a soft embrace, willing some peace into the moment. She closed her eyes and took three deep breaths. He stared up at her, unmoving, like a prisoner awaiting sentencing.

Finally she opened her eyes and surveyed the damage. The lamp had been knocked off the end table and had landed on the hardwood floor, the terra cotta base breaking into about half a dozen large pieces. The paper lampshade was crumpled and lay askew.

“Go get the little broom and dustpan from under the sink. We’ll clean this up together.” While he went to fetch those, she pulled out her iPhone and texted Colin. Gabe was kicking the soccer ball around in the house and just broke the other lamp. I wish you were here to help contain him!

No reply came immediately, so she pocketed the phone again. Gabriel had returned, and she unplugged the cord, gathered the large pieces off to one side, and swept up the littler fragments.

She had him carry the dustpan to the garbage and helped him dump it out, then she found a small box in the recycling and filled it with the larger remnants of the lamp, setting it in the garage to deal with later.

“Now go play outside for a bit. Mommy has to make a few phone calls.” He grabbed the soccer ball on his way out. Connie found her notepad again, and she sat at the dining room table where she could keep an eye on Gabe in the backyard. She picked up the cordless phone and called the number back.

“Hi Cathy, sorry about that.”

“No problem. Is everything okay?”

“Yes, everything’s fine, just a broken lamp. No injuries.”

“That’s good. Except for the lamp, I suppose.”

“Yeah, but he broke the other one last month too, so now I can get Colin to buy me a new set.”

Cathy chuckled. “I always say the spouse that stays behind deserves to be spoiled once

everyone’s back together.”

“Yes! Make sure you tell Colin that!”

Again Cathy laughed. “I already have. But I’ll remind him. So, are you good to talk more now?”

“Yes, yes. Where did we leave off?”

“I was about to let you know that we have a real estate agent in mind to list your Halifax home. She’s one of my favourites to deal with and is a real tiger for her clients, but she’s also very down to earth and personable. I think you’ll like her, and I’d like to arrange a meeting so you can get a feel for her yourself.”

Connie looked at the task list she had been compiling on her notepad and realized that listing the house wasn’t on there. “Oh my. Isn’t it a bit soon for that? We don’t even have a place in Calgary yet.”

“It’s better to do this sooner rather than later. We also have a great agent in Calgary to help find a home there. I can put him in touch with Colin, and once he has a few places picked out, we’ll arrange a house hunting trip for you and Gabriel out there to see them. That will include flights, hotels, meals, and a rental car. I’ll arrange it all for you. Even childcare during the days when you’re out there, if you’d like.”

“Oh my… how much is this going to cost us? I think we can handle buying new lamps, but…”

“Not a red cent. Colin’s company is covering it all, and I’m arranging the details and setting it all up for you. There’s a budget but it’s a realistic one and I’m making sure it stays on track.”

Connie looked over the checklist she had been compiling all morning and realized that what Cathy was offering to do for her covered more than half of it. A flicker of motion from the backyard caught her attention. Gabriel had forgotten about the ball and was now holding his airplane aloft, flying it through the air as he ran circles around the spruce tree. She smiled to herself, enjoying seeing him play.

“All right then. Have the agent give me a call and I’ll meet with her. And thanks, Cathy.”

“It’s my pleasure. You have a good day Connie. I’ll be in touch to see what you think of her.”

As she ended the call, her iPhone chirped. It was Colin replying: Sorry, was in a meeting. I never liked those lamps anyway. We’ll go lamp shopping once you’re here. Wish I could be there. Hang on just a little longer.

She replied: I’ll be fine. All’s well. Love you!

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