This is the next part of my long short story. Lol and Jess have bought an old rundown house out in the middle of nowhere and are doing it up to make their family home. Lol gets sidetracked by an old building in the wooded part of the garden which he calls the folly. It’s concealed beneath a mountain of undergrowth and he becomes obsessed with clearing it and having the little building as a sort of summerhouse. Lol is the sort of person who becomes completely taken up with new hobbies, and to Jess this folly is just his latest obsession. However, annoyingly, it’s become a distraction from working on the house.
I don’t now know how I let it creep up on us, how I allowed it to take over. I guess because we had never rowed in the past – disagreed but never had rows where we would shout, we weren’t use to confrontation. We weren’t used to confronting each other over anything, nor defending ourselves. . We never fell out, people – our chums, marvelled at our equable relationship, that we were such close friends as well as lovers and partners. Maybe it was because of this, the habit of our lives, that I let things get to the stage they did. It’s probably apparent that what happened, that working on the folly became more important than working on our house, making our home. I couldn’t seem to reason with him; Lol wanted to clear the folly of all its overgrown mantle of wild and prickly, sticky stinging stuff so we would have a lovely place to work and relax. He painted a picture of candlelit dinners, pleasant evenings just relaxing as the sun went down, decorated magnificently for Christmas… No, I argued,we can have all those things in the house, and more, but we have to get it done! The folly is an afterthought, a luxury!
Calling it an afterthought absolutely incensed him. He was like an irrational child and shouted that I just didn’t understand before gathering up his loppers – yes he had bought loppers now, and charging off down the garden. Even then, I just thought this was an extreme version of his other obsessions – or hobbies as he called them. I thought of myself as the mother of a recalcitrant and awkward child – other people have said that sometimes there’s just one parent in a family plus the children – the partner being the oldest child!
I guess I also went into a sulk and wherever he was I worked somewhere else which of course gave him license to slope off. He would then do things in the house late at night when I was ready for bed, and he would get up in the morning, to be fair he usually made me a cup of tea, and then dash off down to the folly. I was so fed up that I tried – in my eyes, to put myself in the right by working extra hard in the house and not going down to see how e was getting on, nor take him a drink, nor brig a picnic with the rug. That lasted about three days and then I gave myself a talking to. Someone had to be the adult in this relationship. I burst into tears. I guess I was tired, bored, anxious about this project, more anxious about Lol. I was losing him, somehow.
So what if we had to camp in the house and abandon our time-scale; we could live in it, it was warm enough, maybe we should get some of the central heating some to get through the winter. Maybe Lol was also bored, maybe our dream had lost its sparkle and working on the folly was his way of recharging his batteries. He would get fed up with that too and come back and we would potter on. Maybe he would take up a new hobby, nature studies for example.. I made myself smile a little.
I would make a picnic and take it down to the folly and I’d pick up the secateurs if he was lopping and would join him. Yes, that is what I would do.