She’s not one to flaunt her problems in order to get sympathies, either so nobody knows that they’re really, really tight on money for the time being. Between supporting Michael’s education and her own career, they hardly have anything to spare. Being a PhD in History isn’t exactly a gateway to the riches and Michael definitely didn’t want to become a nurse in order to be wealthy.
They’ve both chosen lines of work that they are passionate about and Sophie wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s just that it’s hard, sometimes.
To get any kind of peace and quiet required to write the textbooks she’s contracted for, she has taken to heading downtown with a colleague to spend the day at the library or the faculty, writing and doing research.
So Michael is at home during the days.
Liv, especially, is a cranky girl unless she’s showered in attention and pushed towards various games and toys. She has a hard time playing alone, unlike her brother.
Michael claims he had been the same way as a boy, causing his parents some mild unrest with his tantrums whenever he couldn’t figure out what to do next and wanted them to come up with a game for him.
Perhaps that’s why he’s not too annoyed whenever Liv starts crying or shouting. If she’s perfectly honest with herself, Sophie finds it terribly taxing and she really has to put all of her patience to good use dealing with her daughter’s temper sometimes.
On a typical day, if they’re lucky, Sophie and Michael has one or two hours together in the afternoons before it’s time for Michael to get to the hospital for his night shift. He’s been temping there for years and finally landed a secure job position as a practical nurse, so it’s all very good and gives them more stability than before.
Still, it also means he’s away when Sophie is at home.
Some night she works on articles for the academic press and occasionally also for History Weekly, which is a rather famous publication that has asked for some “light-hearted columns about historical events” – not her forte, but it does earn them some extra money.
Sharlene regularly comes over to watch a game or a movie and they both know it’s just a convenient excuse to talk for a couple of hours.
At the moment she’s talking a lot about her somewhat unexpected engagement. Or maybe it hadn’t been unexpected to her and Karl, but to everyone else, it has always seemed like Karl Krois wouldn’t be the type of guy to tie the knot.
Then again, he’s way more likely to get married than Ed has ever been and look at Ed now. Sophie still finds it hard to believe at times, that her ex-boyfriend who wanted to be free and found relationships stifling, now has a wife and a daughter.
They’re not having a big wedding, Sharlene assures her a few times. It seems like she might want one, but knows it’s unthinkable to get Karl to agree to it, so she’s settled for something more realistic. Then, of course, it’s always about the money, too.
Emptiness. Not the overwhelming kind, but the quiet, nagging kind that sits somewhere in your chest and reminds you every now and then about how alone you are. Or how alone you feel, even if you have someone who understands you like no one else.
“I can’t cope with this for much longer,” she tells Michael the following night. He has the weekend off and they spend their Saturday night talking, something they barely have time to do during the weeks. “Not seeing you for more than a few hours a week.”
“I know.” He looks at her. “It bothers me, too.”
He’s silent for a while, thinking. “There’s a job opening at a different ward,” he says eventually. “It’s a day schedule and I think it would work much better for us.”
Sophie smiles, as though he’s just told her they’re going to fly to the moon together for next year’s summer holidays.
“That sounds wonderful.”
“I’ll let them know I’m interested,” Michael says.
* Last post for this round, oh my!