Barry watched as she stood, her feet rooted to the ground, arms crossed over her chest in a display of her defiant will.
When Margot acted like this, he became flummoxed. He opened his mouth but stopped as she lifted her chin.
‘Nothing you say will make me change my mind,’ she said. Her words were clipped, her tone sharp.
‘Come on, Margot. Look around you.’ Barry waved his arms like a game show hostess showing the prize pool. He shifted his gaze to the room. The wallpaper was peeling, the curtains fusty, the carpet worn and, in its scant plusher areas, mouldy. He sniffed, for dramatic effect. ‘The place smells. We need to renovate.’
‘I like our home, Barry,’ Margot stated, still with her chin high and her arms crossed. ‘We designed it this way, all those years ago. Before the kids. We watched them grow here.’ She moved to the door frame where their measurements were recorded. ‘I mean, we could never destroy this.’
Barry loved that frame, too. Matty, Bella and George’s heights recorded; for a second, he was lost in the 70s, lost in his love for her and their children. He glanced at her. Her resistance was not bewitching in any way, but he had to admire her audacity. He knew no other woman who’d cling so vigorously to the past.
‘We don’t have to. We can leave it. But everything else needs to be updated.’
‘Barry, I said no. I like it this way.’
Barry threw his arms in the air and yelped. He snatched the car keys from the hall table and slammed the door behind him.