What we talk about when we talk about loss

My wife lost her phone today. She still had the ability to communicate with me because I read all my email on my phone, so she could cajole and plead with me to call her phone to help her find it. I rang it repeatedly to no avail, and eventually when I came home from work, rather than lie on the sofa slothfully for an hour or two, ruminating upon the day and occasionally begging La Serpiente not to punch me in the face, the whole family decamped to the supermarket to see if she’d left her phone amongst the frozen peas this afternoon.

When there was no sign of it there, we returned home, splitting up when we reach the apartment block. I took La Serpiente to run around at ground level until she was properly worn out, and my wife took my phone upstairs to continue the forlorn hunt for her phone. And to wait for pizza to be delivered, because that’s the sort of incredible diet that we enjoy every day.

At the moment there’s a set of enormous foam rubber building blocks downstairs for kids to climb on and construct elephants and watermelons from. It is a sign of something that the previous sentence seems quite unremarkable for Singapore. La Serpiente loves elephants and is less excited by watermelons, but since every urchin for miles around was down with the blocks, flinging them around with aplomb, I worried that my daughter would get concussed, and so eventually I jogged her around the play area and took her home.

To find that my wife had located her phone. Under her handbag.

I jeered at her for a while. I thought this was necessary, because every time I can’t find something, it usually turns up underneath something that I haven’t looked under, and I always get chastised for my inability to look for things properly. My wife might only fail at this once in several years (whereas I fail pretty much every day) but you don’t win by not taking every opportunity that presents itself.

How, I ask myself, do I remain married?

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