THERE is coffee and there are biscuits. There’s an office with a desk and a chair where I may sit, undisturbed, should I so wish, sometimes for as much as minutes at a time. There’s a diary, filled with names, times and places for meetings. Meetings during which my counsel will be sought, my advice valued. There are folded newspapers laid neatly on my desk. There is conversation during which no mention is made of the contents of nappies. I may even ask for something to be done and as I have asked, so shall it be done. My shirts are free from drool. I marvel at this blessed old world, newly met.
Of course, I shall tell Emma of Gina’s failure to manage my electronic in-box during my paternity leave, stuffing me with almost 800 e-mails to be answered. And I shall not stint on the calls to be returned, reports to be read, clients to be stroked and colleagues to be managed. After all, it’s crucial to maintain the appearance – the truth – that it’s here where the serious work is done. Not on the Home Front, with its coffee mornings, baby massage sessions and its integrated childcare support systems (aka Gabriella and Maria). For this is the basis of a modern marriage: small victories in the war of attrition.
I wish it were that simple. The truth is I miss them. Emma, Harry, Gwenllian and Noel, although I can probably live without Maria and Gabriella, at least for today. I sit at my desk and long to hear the twins gurgling, or to be summoned to give a bottle to one or to clear up the puke of the other.
I pick up the phone to call home. I’ve been in the office for almost ten minutes.
City Dad will be continued next Tuesday. For previous episodes, see www.cityam.com