When It Rains
I love my husband. I do. It's just not always easy to remember this. Sometimes I have to make myself repeat it constantly under my breath like a mantra.
The second I open my eyes this morning, I can hear the shower running in the bathroom. Jumping out of bed, I rush to check if we have clean towels in the bathroom cupboard. No luck. Frantic, I go to the kitchen to check in the dryer. Thank God, I find one. I know that if there's no clean towel within easy reach, he'll just walk out dripping. Which I can't afford now. Until further notice, keeping him warm & dry has become the focal point of my existence.
I get to the bathroom. He's just getting out of the shower. I hand him the towel. I have to clench my hands into fists to keep from throwing said towel on him & rubbing vigorously until I know for sure that there's not a drop of moisture left on his back. I have recently been told - in no uncertain terms & in several, choice phrases - what he thinks of such behavior. Very conscious of the fact that these days he has me pegged as Public Enemy Number One, I decide it would be a good idea to remove myself - or him - from the immediate vicinity.
I ask if he's done with the bathroom. He says yes & leaves me to it.
Later, in the kitchen, I make our coffee. And I make him a sandwich. I get back to the bedroom to find the door to the balcony open. He's standing out in the balcony. Barefoot & wearing nothing but a pair of shorts. It's so humid the glass on the balcony door is practically opaque. And he just had a shower.
I step out into the balcony in my thick bathrobe & bathroom slippers & I am FREEZING. Terrific. Cold & humidity. On top of whatever the hell he already has, he's now trying to get arithritis. Not to mention pneumonia. Because we haven't both suffered enough in the last 2 days.
I take a deep breath.
Me : 7abibi, I made you breakfast.
Him: I'm not hungry.
Me(still fighting to keep calm): At least have some coffee.
Yarabi, what do I have to do to get him inside without letting on that I want him to get inside given that he does the exact opposite of whatever it is he thinks I want him to do these days?
Me: K, it's really cold out here.
Him: Law bardana idkholi gowa.(If you're cold you get inside.)
Me : What am I supposed to do inside all by myself? I took time off to be with you.
Him: Manti kaman btistahbili. Elmafrood konti tiroo7i shoglik. (He's saying I am silly to take time off, that I should go to work.)
At that point I am praying "Allahoma irfa3 ghadabak wa maqtak 3ani"(Please God save me from Your Wrath). Forget the going to work bit. We both know am not going to work until he goes back to work but if I am cold?IF I AM COLD? I am not the one who has been bedridden with a bad back for the last 48 hrs you stupid idiot, I want to scream. Of course I don't though. One of us has to be an adult right?
Me: Ya 7abibi wallah bard 3laik.
Him: Ya ragel.
Me: K, please come inside.
He ignores me. And he doesn't come inside.
Of course in less than half an hour, he comes inside of his own accord & goes straight back to bed without saying a word. I know he's in pain again. A little while later, I hear him on the phone to a pharmacist friend of his. He's giving the guy a list of medications. He tells his friend 'ana hakhali elwiliya t3adi 3laik dilwa2ti 3ashan takhodhom'. Elwiliya. That's me. He's never called me that before. Oh well I've been called a lot things in the last 2 days that he's never called me before so what's one more name?
And of course when he asks if I'll go to the pharmacy & get his medications, I say sure 7abibi, anything 7abibi, your wish is my command etc.....And I do hurry up because I know he wouldn't take anything at all unless he was pretty desperate. I am so angry I start crying in the car because I could tell he was better when he got up this morning. Why did he have to pull that stupid stunt in the balcony? When will this ever be over if he's going to behave like this? What if he's really hurt himself this time? How do I know when he won't even get an X-Ray?
Earlier this evening, my manager calls. He asks how my husband is, when I think am coming back to work etc....The whole time am thinking this is really unusual. That something else must be on his mind. And not something good.
Finally, it comes out. We're currently working on a tendered package for one of our clients. I am writing the technical specification. And we will also be evaluating the bids. Again I am responsible for the technical part of that.
It's a pretty big contract. And one I will never forget because it gave me my first live encounter with corruption. Last week, one of the prospective bidders actually came to my office and tried to get me to tailor the specification to his product. And later, to recommend his technical proposal over others. All for a price of course.
I did what I thought was right. I left him waiting in my office and went & got my manager. I repeated to him what the guy said to me infront of the guy. I never saw anyone's face get as red as that guy's did that day. He denied everything. My manager asked him to leave and not visit our offices again.
My manager called the client and set up an urgent meeting with them during which we briefed them about what happened so they could tell us what they wanted us to do about it. They were very angry - naturally. We charge them what I consider extortionate fees & in their place I'd be pretty angry with anyone who tried to corrupt my consultant.
The next day, we were instructed not to accept any bid from that particular vendor. Apparently, the decision was made at the highest level within the client's organization.
Happy ending, right?
You tell me. The day after the fiasco with the attempt at bribery, another vendor called to tell me he wants to drop by our offices to pick up his bidder's pre-qualification package & to ask me a few questions. I said sure. About an hour later, he called to apologize for being late and asked if he could still come and see me. I told him I needed about half an hour. He said that would give him time to visit Starbucks as he hadn't had coffee all day. And asked me if he could get me anything from Starbucks. Without thinking, I said yes thanks. So the guy brought me a regular caramel machiatto from Starbucks. We had a 45 minute meeting and then he left.
The problem? My manager saw him walk into my office with the Starbucks package & he was calling to grill me about the meeting. I answered all his questions as patiently as I could. And I pointed out that I had already emailed him the minutes of meeting.
He tell me he thinks it's inappropriate for me to be allowing a prospective bidder to buy me coffee, that his might compromise our integrity and objectivity, that he'd really rather I didn't socialize with any of these people. Socializing? Someone bringing a cup of coffee from Starbucks to a meeting IN THE OFFICE is socializing?
I told him I disagreed with that assessment, that there was nothing compromising about the way I behaved & that he was blowing things out of proportion. We kept arguing then he said he didn't want to disturb me anymore at home, that we'd discuss it when I came back to work.
So why did he call to talk about it aslan? I know it must have been preying on his mind for the last 2 days. I left the office right after that meeting. And I haven't been back since because of my husband's illness.
Ok so to recap, I have a husband who isn't getting better because he keeps shooting himself in the foot to spite me (or to be stubborn - whatever) & a boss who thinks I can be corrupted by a cup of coffee.
I am so popular these days aren't I?