Tears are streaming down his face, his eyes are bloodshot looking like flashes of red lightning across the whites of his eyes, he takes the deepest watery sniff through his nose I’ve ever heard and he starts coughing. I hesitate as I approach him, “Are you okay?” I ask wondering what on earth is the matter. I’ve only seen him cry two times in the fourteen years we’ve been together.
The first time was our wedding day.
“Here. Take this.” It was the morning of our wedding. I was still in my pyjamas and my mum handed me some waterproof mascara and a packet of tissues.
“What are these for?”
“Every bride cries on their wedding day,” my Mum told me.
“Aye,” my Dad replied in his broadest Glaswegian accent, “only because she’s realised she’s made the biggest mistake of her life!”
“Douglas!” My Mum shrieked.
“I’m only stating facts….actually, no I’ve got it the wrong way round. It’s the groom who does all the greetin’ ”
My mum rolled her eyes and I wondered how on earth these two were still together after thirty years.
But it turned out my dad was right. It was Pete who did all the crying on our wedding day. There we were standing at the bottom of the aisle of the beautiful sandstone church. Row upon row of beautiful oak pews behind us filled with all our precious friends and family. At the end of each pew were beautiful bouquets of cream roses, with a purple thistle surrounded in green foliage and a lilac ribbon.
“Do you, Peter Edward Brown take Jennifer Elizabeth Grant as your lawfully wedded wife…” the vicar smiled as he looked at Pete, clearly moved by the tears slowly trickling down his cleanly shaven face. Pete sniffed hard as he held my hands and struggled to look at my face. He looked up to the ceiling trying to stop the flow of tears. I smiled warmly up at him encouraging him to continue and then in the corner of my eye see my dad sat on the front row next to my red-lipped mum. He gave me a knowing look and nodded his head slowly as if to say, “I told you so.”
To this day Pete swears they were tears of happiness no matter how much my dad teases him about it without fail every Christmas Day, and I always say, “Only time will tell…” with a wink towards Pete.
The only other time I’ve found Pete crying was in 2008 and Manchester United won the Champions League … enough said!
So, here I was standing in our bathroom on a Saturday morning with my 6’2” husband holding onto our white ceramic sink for support sobbing his eyes out. I ask him again, “Are you okay?”
“I think you’re going to have to drive Sophie to Ballet this morning.” His voice is croaky as he says it. I can’t understand what’s upset him so much that he needs to stay at home. Normally he likes to take advantage of the hour of dancing so he can catch up with ‘Clash of the Titans’ on his IPad.
“Of course, no problem darling, but what’s the matter? Can I help?”
“Yeah, it’s just my contact lenses!”
“What?!” I suddenly breath a sigh of relief.
“My eyes are killing me. I’ve no idea why. I must be allergic to the saline solution or something.”
“Well, you’ve been using the same solution for the past ten years so I don’t think it’s that.” I pick up his contact lens case and take a sniff. “Where did you get the saline solution from?” He picks up a small clear unmarked bottle. One that I use for taking cosmetics on holiday so I don’t take entire bottles and use up loads of luggage space. “What did you use that for?!”
“I’d run out of solution so thought I’d use the one we take on holiday.”
“That’s not contact lens solution! That’s my facial toner!”
Pete’s eyes begin to pop out their sockets not unlike a pair of joke spectacles with eyeballs attached by loose springs. “Well then, why the bloody hell is it not labelled?!” He yells trying to put all the blame on me diverting us away from his stupidity.
“Because I’M the only one who ever needs to bloody USE it!!!” I throw right back at him.
He rolls his blood-shot eyes at me as he attempts the excrutiatingly painful experience of pulling out the cucumber fresh contact lenses from his almost laser red eyes.
I turn away quickly trying to mask my laughter and begin to wonder. Maybe there was a little truth in what my dad had to say after all!