Inside jokes

I hear voices in my head most days. I hear these little quips and one-liners; I hear comments and jokes; I hear moans and groans; and if you could count them (which would be a stretch), I “hear” eye rolls and other similar body languages. I say “voices” but it’s all just one person I can hear – with varying accents depending on context.

Note: This post was originally shared on my “widowhood” blog, “Frances 3.0: Still in Beta”.

As I’m sure you guessed, those voices are Paul’s. And, no, he doesn’t speak to me. It’s just that I know what he would say in so many instances that I can almost hear it; in fact, sometimes I think I can actually hear him (or see him, in the case of eye rolls).

It starts in the morning when I’m getting dressed for work. He always had a comment or two about my wardrobe – there were half a dozen standard comments, based on if he liked what I chose or not. And, of course, there was generally the standard “I think you look great in what you’re wearing now,” comment when I was not yet fully dressed.

I can hear several other morning comments: “Are you for coffee?” was always made to sound profane. I can hear him parroting my own comments: “I’m just gonna have a piece of fruit and move on,” was often said in a slightly girly voice, mocking me.

“Do ya like it dirty?” in a very perverted-sounding voice was my cue that martinis were about to be made. “Again! Again!” in a very excited tone meant that there would be no break between episodes of EastEnders on a Sunday afternoon.

He spoke in a special voice on behalf of the house and Randolph, our stuffed bear who had an inside joke all of his own. Funny, the house and Randolph had the same accent. We had replies to each others’ comments that would have seemed odd to anyone else. We had special routines we’d do, silly laughs, funny faces. All tied to some random thing that we thought was funny once and would seem meaningless unless you knew the whole story. Well, they’d probably seem meaningless even if you did know the story.

Paul was the first person that I really had any inside jokes with. And now I have all the jokes, but no one to share them with. I have to stop myself from making some of the comments I want to make when talking to others because I’d never be able to explain them. So instead, I just smile knowingly to myself. Or sometimes, I cry a little because it hurts to have lost that little piece of secret code language.

Lately, I find I have to stop myself from replying to other people with these little comments more than ever. Most people think I’m crazy enough as it is, I’d hate to give them more reason to question my sanity. I don’t know if I felt the urge to share those comments before Paul died and never paid attention to it or if this is a new sensation because I’ve gone so long without those little giggles. I’m trying to write them down as I remember them, along with a description of why they’re so funny. I don’t know what I’ll do with a collection of inside jokes, but it makes me feel good to have them anyhow.

And since I shared with you the morning comments, I’ll share the bedtime comments. It began in February 2007 when we were on holiday in the UK as a way of poking light-hearted fun at someone we knew who called everyone “luv” – Paul Luv, Frances Luv, and etcetera. By the time we returned home, it was luv this and luv that. Eventually, it became a ritual of saying “I luv ya, luv,” to each other at bedtime, along with hugs and kisses. And we smiled and giggled about it because even though we meant it with sincerity and love, it was our little inside joke.

The last words Paul spoke to me were our own little inside joke. Sometimes when I close my eyes I can still feel that last hug and those last kisses. And I can hear him saying, in his best Yorkshire accent, “I luv ya, luv.”

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