Astrid – Chapter 5
His and hers money
‘A yacht. More of a ship, actually.’ – Astrid Hansen-Moore (March 2022)
Astrid broke the news on Friday, two days after their return from Port Fairy. It was difficult to find the right time to broach such a sensitive topic. She needn’t have agonised over that, as it turned out. There was no such thing as the right time for this.
‘I can’t believe we’re even having this conversation,’ said Tom. ‘The studio is on the rocks and you want to buy a bloody boat – sorry, “ship” – instead of bailing us out?’
‘It’s my money, Tom …’ said Astrid evenly. Was Tom even aware in his agitation how apposite his choice of words was? Probably not.
‘Your money? Yours? Since when do we have separate his and hers money?’
‘Maybe we should have kept our finances separate all along. It would have saved a lot of arguments.’
‘Maybe. Funny how it only comes up now, though, when you’ve got a big, fat redundancy payout.’
‘Tom, that’s unfair.’
‘Yes. We’ve been propping up the studio for years with my salary. I did the stressful, tedious office job while you chased your dream. And don’t forget, Tom: you used our house – our house, Tom – as equity to secure that big loan for the studio extension.’
‘I did that? It was a joint decision, Astrid.’
‘It was a decision that you browbeat me into. You were so damned certain this was the answer. “Double our recording capacity … economies of scale” and so on.’
‘Yeah, well, things don’t always go according to plan. I couldn’t plan for a worldwide pandemic.’
‘I know that, Tom. Believe me, I’ve been patient. I’ve always supported you, believed in you.’
‘And now you don’t?’
‘I don’t believe in the studio any more, Tom. I’m sorry, I … just don’t.’
‘But you want to sink sixty grand into a wooden boat, on a whim?’ Those puns just kept on coming.
‘It will be a lot more than sixty thousand to make her seaworthy … and comfortable to live aboard. More like a hundred and forty. Possibly more.’
‘One forty? Live aboard? I’m not living on a fucking boat.’
‘No, you’re not. That’s the other thing …’
After Tom had stormed out, slamming the door, reversing the BMW sharply down the driveway, Lachie emerged from his room, earphones in hand.
‘Wow. That was loud.’
‘Bit hard on the old man, maybe?’
‘Lachie, I’ve been the good little woman, quietly supporting your Dad, for fifteen years now. I know you’re going to take his side, sweetie, but there comes a point when …’
‘Whoa, whoa there, Tiger Mum,’ said Lachlan, putting up his hands in mock defence. ‘I’m not blaming you, and I’m not taking anyone’s side. Although … to be honest … it’s good to see you stand up for yourself for a change.’
Faced with support from this unexpected quarter, Astrid felt the adrenaline quickly drain from her body, leaving an empty well of despair. What had she done?
‘Hey, hey,’ comforted Lachlan, putting his arms around his weeping mother and pulling her gently to his broad chest, ‘it’s going to be okay, Mum.’
Then, a few minutes later: ‘So, tell me about this schooner of yours. Any photos? Is there a website?’
Next week in Astrid:
Astrid holds her breath while Captain Larkin gives the Astrid the once-over …