пока по-прежнему прекрасно. Роберт чудо ребенок. смещение акцента с отцовства на материнство.
цитировать опять хочется предложение за предложением, абзац за абзацем. не буду.
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‘You know how we are with Megan. Megan’s our two-year-old,’ she explained to the guests. ‘We’ve left her with Roger’s mother. She’s just discovered rage – you know the way they discover emotions and then work them for all they’re worth, until they get on to the next one.’
‘How interesting,’ said Robert’s father, ‘so you don’t think emotions have anything to do with how a child is feeling – they’re just layers in an archaeological dig. When do they discover joy?’
‘When you take them to Legoland,’ said Christine.
He wondered who was wasting the most time by spending a day with the Packers, not counting the Packers themselves who were always wasting more time than anybody, and usually had a film to prove it. Thomas was only sixty days old, so it was the biggest waste of time for him, because one day was one-sixtieth of his life, whereas his father, who was forty-two, was wasting the smallest proportion of his life. Robert tried to work out what proportion of their lives a day was for each of them. The calculations were hard to hold in his mind, so he imagined different sizes of wheels in a clock. Then he wondered how to include the opposite facts: that Thomas had his whole life ahead of him, whereas his parents had quite a lot of theirs behind them, so that one day was less wasteful for Thomas because he had more days left. That created a new set of wheels –red instead of silver –his father’s spinning round and Thomas’s turning with a stately infrequent click. He still had to include the different qualities of suffering and the different benefits for each of them, but that made his machine fantastically complicated and so, in one salutary sweep, he decided that they were all suffering equally, and that none of them had got anything out of it at all, making the value of the day a nice fat zero. Hugely relieved, he got back to visualizing the rods connecting the two sets of wheels. It all looked quite like the big steam engine in the Science Museum, except that paper came out at one end with a figure for the units of waste. It turned out, when he read the figures, that he was wasting more time than anyone else. He was horrified by this result, but at the same time quite pleased.
‘Where have you been? I’ve been looking for you everywhere.’
‘You can’t have been, or you would have found me,’ he said.
‘Don’t get smart with me, young man,’ said Jo. ‘Have you been fighting with Josh?’
‘No,’ he said.
‘How could anyone fight with Josh? He’s just a blob.’
‘He’s not a blob, he’s your best friend,’ said Jo.
‘No he isn’t,’he said.
‘You have been fighting,’ said Jo.
‘We haven’t,’ he insisted.
‘Well, anyway, you can’t just go off like that.’
‘Because we all worry about you.’
‘I worry about my parents when they go away, but that doesn’t stop them,’ he remarked. ‘Nor should it.’
He was definitely winning this argument. In an emergency, his father could send Robert to court on his behalf. He imagined himself in a wig, bringing the jury round to his way of seeing things, but then Jo squatted down in front of him and looked searchingly into his eyes.
‘Do your parents go away a lot?’ she asked.
‘Not really,’ he said, but before he could tell her that they had never both been out of the house for more than about three hours, he found himself swept into her arms and crushed against the words ‘Up For It’, without fully understanding what they meant. He had to tuck his shirt in again after she had pulled it out of his trousers with her consoling back rub.
‘What does “Up For It”mean?’ he asked when he got his breath back.
‘Never you mind,’ she said, round-eyed. ‘Come on! Lunch time!’
She marched him into the house. He couldn’t exactly refuse to hold her hand now that they were practically lovers.