He wasn’t available for her, she told him. Not enough. And now, when she needed him, he wasn’t there for her. For his part, he told her, he had been. But then, he said, there was a time when I used to show up and the back door was locked and you didn’t even come downstairs to greet me. And still, he insisted, I showed up, even after that awful commute on I-84, he added. But that was long ago, anyway. It didn’t matter now. Now she was so tired, so exhausted, and everything he said to her, even if there was truth to it, she couldn’t possibly be just the sum of her pathologies, her illnesses, no, nobody could be just that. Could they?
A friend from Algeria Skyped him and said to him that he was at the time of his life when he should be enjoying it. It shouldn’t be a hassle anymore. And as much as that made him bristle, and even a bit angry with his friend, who knows, maybe he was right. But what exactly does that mean “at the time of his life when”? Is there some specific cut-off, say, at age twenty-seven, or thirty-nine, or forty-four, or sixty-three? His friend from Algeria was really only telling him politely that he was wasting his time. He stopped talking about her when they Skyped.