Thursday, 14 February 2013
Taken for granted
Alan staggered through the doorway, almost dropping the flowers chocolates and card in the process. He had been an arse lately, even by his own standards, but he was pretty sure the peace offerings would smooth things out a bit.
She was cooking a special romantic meal for the two of them tonight, and he was ravenous. Alan glanced at his watch, the football was on telly in just over half an hour, with any luck he'd have finished eating in time to catch the start of it, the perfect end to the day.
Yeah, he was a few hours later than he said he'd be, but he couldn't refuse an offer of a beer or two with his workmates on the way home, could he? And anyway, what difference does just one more time make?
He walked into the kitchen, following the appetizing aroma of recent cooking, a silly sheepish grin on his face.
“'Appy Val'tine darlin'.” He slurred. “Sorry I'm a bit late, but y'know...”
The scene that greeted him stopped him dead in his tracks, shocking him to silence.
The floor was strewn with smashed crockery, the walls and appliances smeared and streaked with what looked like the remains of spaghetti bolognese, tomato sauce traced a track down the fridge door and pooled at the base.
Gouged deeply into the surface of the dining table were the words...
THIS IS THE LAST TIME YOU BASTARD
Alan placed the presents on the table, covering the words, hiding the truth from himself, something he was rather practised at these days.
He took the scotch bottle and a tall glass from the cabinet, carefully avoiding the sticky strings of spaghetti that clung to the door as he did so. He poured himself a stiff one, then walked into the lounge and slumped into an armchair.
He looked around the room, at the clean squares on the walls where this morning there had been pictures, at the half-empty CD rack, at the almost bare bookshelf with its single bookend.
She had gone. Packed her stuff, and left.
The house already felt cold and abandoned.
Yes, she had gone, and there was nothing he could do about it.
“Yes, there's nothing you can do about it NOW.” Said his inner voice. “But there was something you COULD have done about it. Some things you SHOULD have done about it.”
The voice harangued him mercilessly.
“Would it have really harmed to come straight home from work a couple of nights a week instead of calling to the bar with your mates?
On the rare occasions you took her out, she always looked stunning, would it have been too much to tell her sometimes?
Was it beyond you to hold her and tell her how much you truly loved her occasionally?
And all those delicious meals that she had spent half the day preparing, meals that you wolfed down so you could get back in front of the TV, wouldn't the repeats have waited an extra fifteen minutes while you showed some appreciation? And would the odd compliment have gone amiss?”
Alan poured himself another strong one, then sat there with the tears rolling down his cheeks as the home truths continued to batter him like hammer blows.
©2013 Stephen. J. Green.