This is the third part of a fiction serial, in 784 words.
When George woke up late the next morning, Eileen was already busy in the living room. The crochet club had a new project, and she was occupied with the squares that were her contribution. So he cooked his own breakfast of three sausages, three fried eggs, and four slices of toast. She was still being sniffy about him returning late last night, so he decided to take no notice of her. Instead, he went out into the garden, and got to work.
By the time he came in for a cold drink four hours later, George had transformed the garden. The small lawn had been cut, the edges trimmed, and all the weeding done in the flower beds. He had finally cut back the overgrown shrubs too, something he had been promising to do for at least seven years. When he finished his cold drink, he went out there again and gave all the fence panels two coats of wood stain. Feeling very pleased with himself, he went inside and asked Eileen what was for dinner, as it was almost six.
She was still working her hooks, and trying to make a point, obviously. “I haven’t thought about what to do yet, might warm up that casserole I saved from Sunday”. In no mood for a warmed-up casserole, George picked up his wallet and car keys. “Right then, you can have that if you want, I’m going for a Chinese takeaway”. He knew Eileen hated Chinese food. There were some people in the queue in front of him, so George perused the menu written above the counter as he waited. When it came to his turn, he smiled at the grumpy-looking Chinese lady, and placed his order.
“Right then, I will have some sweet and sour chicken balls, two spring rolls, beef in black bean sauce, and special fried rice”. He was unusually hungry, probably all that work in the garden.
Back at the house, Eileen was continuing the spat. “Please don’t eat that around me, you know I can’t stand the smell”. He took his food into the rarely-used dining room and laid it out on the mahogany table. His wife shouted from the kitchen. “Use the table mats, and don’t spill any of that muck onto the wood!” He didn’t use any mats, and he didn’t spill a drop onto the table, as he ate it at great speed, surprising himself when he realised he had finished it all.
Eileen couldn’t keep her bad mood going. She wanted to watch her favourite soap opera on TV, and George usually sat with her on the sofa as she watched it. He didn’t care anything about the characters, and who they were related to, but Eileen would give him a running commentary nonetheless. “That’s her sister, and she had sex with the blonde’s husband. But of course, the blonde doesn’t know yet. There is going to be hell to pay when she finds out”. George was zoned out. The northern accents of the cast seemed like a foreign language to him anyway, but watching it with Eileen had become a habit.
At least he didn’t have to wait too long to turn over to the news.
It was well before ten when he started to feel very tired. Perhaps he had overdone it in the garden? His muscles would probably ache tomorrow. “I’m off to bed love. reckon I did too much gardening today”. He kissed her on the cheek and made his way upstairs. So tired, he didn’t even bother to brush his teeth before collapsing into bed.
The light woke him. He checked the time on the digital alarm clock, and it was four-fifteen. Standing at the window listening to Eileen snoring, he felt rejuvenated by the blue light. Well, he had just had over six hours sleep, so that might have something to do with it. When the light went out, he didn’t want to go back to bed. He went into the bathroom and had a wash and shave, before grabbing some clothes from the bedroom without waking his wife.
Downstairs in the kitchen, he had a cup of tea while writing a note. ‘Gone for a drive. Not sure when I will be back’. He left the note next to the kettle, sure that Eileen would see it when she got up.
By five thirty, he was forty miles away, heading north. Time to go somewhere he had never been before. Just after eight that morning, he was looking for somewhere to park in Lincoln.
He had seen photos of the castle and cathedral there many years ago, but Eileen said it was too far for a day trip.