It was really good seeing my parents again, and they stayed until nine o’clock yesterday evening after Mark and Auntie joined forces to cook a nice halibut dinner with lemon sauce and chips (or specifically oven fried potato clefts with the peel still on). Mum was a bit maudlin about the whole eighteen thing, and dad kept joking that the fun days were over now.

They seemed a lot more relaxed with each other now then what I remember from when they were married, or from last summer. I think that is a curious observation; they banter and laugh at each other’s jokes, and basically talk much more than they used to before.

I am wondering why this is? Neither of them also haven’t given me much grief about things, and that is another thing that I’ve noticed over the last year. They’re not constantly ringing to tell me to do this or that. I suppose since Mark and me happened, they have in some ways let me go.

The childish, truculent aspect of me, wants things to be as they used to be. I haven’t seen them since last summer, and their interactions with each other are frozen memories, and possibly even distorted memories. Maybe I only remember certain things, and not others. Or maybe they’re letting me see new things about them?

Or maybe I’m paying attention now to things that were always there? That could be it also.

Mark is behaving very politely and impersonally and reserved, so I suppose that there isn’t any defrosting going on in his opinion of dad. I can’t force them to like each other, but I am a bit annoyed that neither of them seem to try. I suppose I should be glad that they behave around each other, instead of sniping and arguing. Both are on their best behaviour in a situation neither likes, I think.

On Sunday mum and Auntie are going to leave for a few days. They’re going up to Scotland to visit their brother. They’ll also take a detour through Coventry, where mum is moving to this autumn. Or rather, it is the closest city to where she is moving

Dad is heading to London at the same time. He’s going to spend a few days working in the office there, and will be back on Wednesday. He’s back with his old employer now, and have abandoned the insecure world of start-ups for a monthly salary and a pension plan. Except he’s one step up the corporate ladder now compared to what he used to be. Before he managed six or seven people. Now he’s managing twenty or so.

Dad has never been one to show off his status, except in one aspect. He’s buying a Jaguar now. I’m sort of used to have him in a solid, dependable Volvo family car because that was what he used to have when I lived with them. But now that he is single, he’s showing off on the car front. I’m not sure I like that little bit of vanity in him.

***

Othello, Shakespeare’s play, is not only about jealously. I think that’s the simple explanation, the one you give when you have two seconds to offer an explanation of the play.

When you have more time, you can elaborate that all the jealousy is only the effect, and the cause is the duality of all the characters in the play. Each character has a dual nature that trips them up. Othello is a brilliant strategist and general outwardly, but he is also very insecure in himself as the outsider, the Moor, which is why he ends up killing his wife. Iago is honest and plain-speaking outwardly, but duplicitous and amoral behind the mask. Emilia is devoted and loyal on the outside, but observant and disparaging to everyone in her own mind. Desdemona is lonely as an orphan child, but is also honest and direct and likes her status with the Moor.

It is these dualities that set up the tragedy of the play; the incompatible natures of the outward appearance and the inside reality that move the characters toward their doom. So, is Othello not a play about jealousy at all, or is it a warning example of the dangers of having a façade that’s not your true self? Is Othello a case study of the danger of living in the closet as something else than what you appear to be?

Maybe that could be my clever angle that will impress the powers that be? I’m sorry that I’m not feeling too charitable about it, but I think that most of my essays are more about trying to show how clever I am rather than to show how much I know books. It is thus because that is what is expected of me. Rather than deep knowledge of the subject, I’m expected to come up with ‘original’ angles, and then find support for those angles.

Since Shakespeare doesn’t really interest me because, you know, he’s not a novelist but a playwright, that is probably the most elaborate I’m going to be with him. It is something that has to be done, rather than something I want to do.

***

It is Friday now, and in two hours it is weekend, and then I have to join mum and Auntie down in the town. Mark and I have plans for later; we’re going to go and see a film, and get out of the house for a few hours.

With the parents here, I doubt we’ll head for the pub for a few lagers after. Some things seem to be as they were. We’re still worried about what the parents might think if they saw us drunk.

I mean, it’s not like either set of parents can ground us. Mark’s mum could phone in her grounding order from Wiltshire. Speaking of which, Mark’s parents are coming here too tomorrow, so we have to be on our best behaviour.

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