My son has Emery Dreyfus Muscular Dystrophy, a condition that causes muscle weakness and pain over his entire body. Because of this he has special accommodations in school. When he was in 6th grade I got a call from the school nurse that he was laying on the floor in class in the fetal position crying and in pain. Now if you know kids this age, you know that would have been extremely embarrassing so he must have been in a great deal of pain.
My ex from a fourteen year relationship occasionally worked odd hours, I’d call him at work to ask what he wanted for dinner and to cheer him up a bit. Then, over the course of three months, there would be ad hoc times when I’d call his desk phone but get no answer so I’d call his mobile, initially thinking he had probably finished earlier than anticipated and was on his way home (and to check that he wasn’t keeping me hanging while he went off to the pub without telling me).
So I’d call his mobile and ask ‘where are you?’. A few times he would indeed ‘be on his way home’ – yet things were off. I’d never told him that I could often tell when he was lying, he had a certain smugness about him when he did it, sometimes he would even have a particular smirk that he would do when he thought I wasn’t looking (and I can ‘hear’ someone’s facial expression when they are on the phone – probably due to many work hours and long distance boyfriends in the past). He would claim that he had just left the office yet there would be dead silence in the background, none of the usual urban sound of cars going by or his footsteps on the pavement etc.
Or he would be ‘walking to the train station’ but I could here someone in court shoes clearly keeping step beside him for the duration of the call. I began to chat even longer just so I could listen to what was going on around him. I didn’t let on and he grew ever bolder. He started telling me that he was still at his desk. Lol. He worked in an open plan cavernous office yet he was clearly in a small enclosed area when he answered the phone – even in silence the two sound distinctly different. Sometimes he even answered the phone and chatted to me whilst lying on his back.
I did eventually confront him (there were plenty of other clues too) and I used the fact that I had previously called his desk phone immediately before reaching him on the mobile for the last three months as one of the reasons I believed he was having an affair at work. What I didn’t tell him was the fact that I could also read the background noise so I knew he wasn’t where he claimed to be. Two weeks later he called from work one night to say that he had missed out on getting a pizza delivered to work for dinner (something he never did) and the pizza delivery guy had given up trying to call on his desk phone to get the front door opened – but the phone never rang.
I went and picked him up and this is what he told me. In gym that day the Gym teacher had everyone run a mile around the track outside. My son was NOT supposed to participate in this but the teacher forced him to and every time he would walk the teacher would scream at him to RUN! He did his best but the result was his breakdown. He missed almost a week of school after that. I raised holy heck with everyone at the school. The teacher was in big trouble and received a write-up. The nurse was so angry and the principal was upset. My son got to hang out in the library for his gym period from then on.