Jonny had always admired her being a teacher. One evening after he’d had a tough day at work he came home and said to her, ‘maybe I should do what you do.’
‘Really?’ she asked. He’d never mentioned it before.
‘Yeah,’ he said, ‘you’re an inspiration. What you do in one day is better than anything I’ve done my entire life.’
Imogen laughed. ‘Jonny, you can’t be serious!’ she said, ‘you help to run campaigns for a homeless charity. I just get kids to read things they don’t want to read and then make them write about it.’
He put his arms around her. ‘You shouldn’t do yourself down,’ he said, ‘working with kids is really important. More important than what I’m doing.’
‘What do you mean? How could what you do not be important?’
He frowned, and she could sense he was agitated that she wasn’t understanding his meaning more quickly. ‘What I do doesn’t change anything,’ he said, ‘never as much as I want. And I’m just working in one tiny area of all the problems there are in the world, I mean… there’s just so much shit that goes on. Every day, just so much shit.’
By the end of the sentence his voice was raised and Imogen felt a little scared. ‘Jonny,’ she said, ‘it’s alright.’ She tried to touch him but he moved out of the way. ‘It’s not alright,’ he said, ‘I feel like… I feel like there is just this tidal wave of crap going on all the time, everywhere, and it’s like everyone is inside this glass house and I can see them and hear them and I’m banging on the window trying to get them to listen to me before they’re swallowed up by it, but they won’t. They just won’t.’