6 months later……
‘Are you going to actually consume that final chipolata or are you just setting it up on a blind date with your last remaining sprout?’
My son nods, crams the remnants of his lunch into his mouth and then continues to sway to an unheard rhythm, Christmas Air-Pods stuck firmly in his ears, tapping his legs in time to whatever society dictates is music these days. I look over at my husband to share a conspiratorial smile but his head is also down, tapping at his phone screen whilst shaking his graying head in a Victor Meldrew fashion. An audible sigh escapes my lips and I reach across the dinner table to clear the festive plates away from the unresponsive pair. Another wishbone pulled, another dream unanswered, another day in the sun.
Brian ‘the ever hopeful’ is sat by the kitchen door, longingly staring up at the carcass of the ransacked turkey, tail wagging in anticipation of his own festive meal. I place the remnants of our plates into his bowl and he greedily devours the contents with canine glee.
My husband’s voice breaks through the silence
“I’ve got a job on for tomorrow, a bloke in La Cala needs me to fix his Jacuzzi; he’s got friends over for New Year and they are refusing to get in until it’s got steam coming off it”
Once a lighting technician in the theatre, he had no choice but to return to being a jobbing electrician/handyman after redundancy stabbed him in the back. The manual labour he thought he had left behind was now part of his every waking day and each morning I listened to his bones creak like an old rocking chair left to the depredation of passing time.
My own adored job working for Tui as a resort rep was nothing but a distant seasonal memory. The powers that be decided to reward me for reaching (and exceeding) my monthly targets by removing me from the hotel I knew and loved and shoving me into an establishment that would give ‘The Outlook Hotel’ a run for its money. All that was required to complete this seafront vision was a frustrated writer with an axe and a pair of twins to haunt the corridors. The clientele, no longer tanned and affluent, had been replaced with elderly patrons insistent on having an ambulance on speed dial just in case the porridge wasn’t heated to the required nuclear temperature. I spent most of my mornings hiding under the stairs, avoiding wheelchairs and inebriated pensioners with burnt tongues.
“What’s for dessert mum? I’m still famished! Dad’s eaten all the mince pies AGAIN and I’m not allowed any more After Eights”
I turn to look at my son and have to crane my neck upwards to speak him. Almost 6 foot now, all limbs and legs and attitude encased in teenage angst.
“I’ll make you a fruit salad; you’ve had enough sweets today. Anyway, I thought you were meeting up with your friends at the skate park today? Go and see if they’ve messaged while I make dessert”
Turning to my husband I grab his glass of half finished wine from the table and motion for him to join me on the balcony. Outside in the street one of the local residents that we have fondly nicknamed ‘Crazy Jesus’ is waving his arms about outside the Panaderia, shouting at invisible apostles whilst consuming a pastry encased in what looks like melted chocolate, pausing only to swallow a mouthful before his tirade of expletives continues.
I turn to look at my husband. He doesn’t laugh a lot nowadays and I wonder, not for the first time if he is suffering from depression. Losing his job hit him hard, he loved lighting the luvvies and watching each show evolve onstage. Now he was back to hauling tools around on his back and fixing other peoples botched electrics. He had stepped back in time with no tardis at hand to return to the future.
Taking a deep breath I voiced what had been on my mind for a while, the only solution to our ailing financial situation, a chance to begin again.
“I think we should sell the flat and buy a business and work for ourselves here on the coast…. and stop answering to fools”
I await his reply, it’s a risk, a big risk, but isn’t that why we moved out here in the first place?
Wary green eyes meet optimistic brown and a long forgotten dream suddenly resurfaces from behind a cloud of disappointment. A smile reaches his lips, the first genuine one I’ve seen in a long time.
“F*ck it, let’s do it, what’s the worst that could possibly happen?”
To be continued…
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