“Will you just SHUT UP?!?”
I go through the routine of ‘gentle poke’ followed by ‘loving little nudge’ followed by ‘heavy slap that would be classified as spousal abuse in seventeen states’.
But the LTLP will not stop snoring.
It is not a ladylike snore. It is like a heffalump playing the tuba. I lie there, miserable and exhausted, listening to Jumbo’s Amazing Animal Band.
It starts deep in the lower register, then rises, soaring throught the scales in a dramatic crecendo before dying away in a low and echoey rumble. In my ear.
I try to turn her over, so at least the sound would be going in the other direction. But her comatose state is having none of it. Ten to four. I watch the clock. Tick tock, tick tock.
I decide to go for a wee wee. This goes well. I return to the bedroom, wondering if there is anything else that would like to conspire against my restful night’s sleep.
The telephone rings.
Now, there is only one reason why the telephone would ring just before four o’clock in the morning. And that is that my grandmother has died. It’s a call that I less dread now than I expect, although she has good physical care and the female half of the JonnyB family tend to live for ever. (Not literally, that would be sinister). Humbly, I step downstairs to the phone.
It is not the rest home. She is alive after all!!! Hooray!!!
My humbleness disappears and is once more replaced by sleepless misery. “Turn left! No! Next one! Then about three miles down there!” – the voice on the line is distant, and I realise with fatigue and fatalism that somebody is accidentally dialling me on their mobile phone.
“Hello!!! Hello!!! Put the phone down!!!” I scream. “Put the fucking phone down!!!”
But it is useless – they cannot hear me. My anger and exasperation is only muted slightly when I realise the origin of the call – my sister, RonnieB, who is in Brisbane and thus running up a satisfactorily large Vodafone bill.
I stomp back upstairs to bed. The Animal Band has started up again on the second movement. She half-wakes as I enter.
“I am going to sleep in the spare room,” I hiss, retaining my manly dignity through gritted teeth. “And I am taking Honey Bear with me.”
We spend the night apart.