Back to All Stories

#369 Keith Hargreaves Departure

I could see he was thinking of something pithy in the form of a retort.

Keith Hargreaves

On a Friday in Jakarta, Indonesia, 1 year and 360 days or so later.

It’s six in the evening and it has just gone dark, as it always does every evening give or take a few minutes. Because unlike Leeds, Jakarta is very close to the Equator, which passes through Indonesia slightly north of us, keeping day and night roughly 12 hours each throughout the year.

I walk out to the balcony followed by the husband who wants to initiate an ‘I love Leeds conversation’. Again.

The Neon advertising, the high-rise businesses, the people like ants wandering about their business below, are endlessly fascinating for city dwellers like us. We’re used to living on the ground floor, having a different perspective of high rise living.

The husband said, looking far off into the distance, ‘It’s not at all like Leeds is it sweetie?’ I knew this was rhetorical, so I just continued looking into the bright lights of central Jakarta while they looked back.

‘Erm Hello?’ It was not rhetorical after all. The husband was being assertive again.

‘Far from it, sweetie…far from it’, I replied before I took a deep breath and contradicted myself.

‘Though in some ways it is. Marks and Spencer have branches in numbers similar to those in Leeds, the shopping malls are filled with the same shops that the malls in Leeds have, bar a few independents, and you’re never out of Starbucks there and here.’ I let the hint of criticism sink in before I moved on.

Feeling slightly disloyal, I continued, ‘and of course Jakarta has an underground system, a light railway to the airport and its main airport is 10 times the size of Leeds/Braford.’ A slight tic appeared on the face of the husband. He abhorred disloyalty. I could see he was thinking of something pithy in the form of a retort.

‘But it doesn’t have Yorkshire tea bags though does it…!’ He knew he had me there. ‘And now we are going back, you won’t have to reuse that blasted last tea bag more than five times before I can finally go out and buy some new ones’.

A very large smile allowed itself to form on my lips.

‘How right you are, husband, how right you are.’