Life With Mabel: Part Seven

This is the seventh part of a fiction serial, in 752 words.

The first week of her marriage came as a shock to Mabel. There was a bathroom on each of the three floors in the house, but each one was shared by the three flats occupying the floor. Reg came home from work on the Monday with an enamel pot that was going to be used if they got taken short during the night, but the morning routine of getting washed and ready for work was chaotic. There always seemed to be someone using the bathroom, no matter what time she went to try to get in there. It was alright for Reg, who washed and shaved at the kitchen sink.

But Mabel wanted some privacy.

She was also expected to do everything. Washing, ironing, shopping, cooking, keeping the flat clean and tidy. Getting home from work after a long day on her feet, she had to get Reg’s dinner ready as he expected to eat it as soon as he got home. And she was not a natural cook. Despite helping her mum out on occasion, she never took much interest in the cooking process, and Reg soon got fed up of eggs and chips, or a chop and boiled potatoes. He expected some sort of afters too, and she had no idea how to make a jelly, or a steamed pudding.

Just seven days after becoming Mrs Price, she was exhausted.

Most evenings were spent listening to the radio, a wedding present from her parents. Reg would read the newspaper from cover to cover after his dinner, and didn’t have much to say unless it was about trains or train tracks. And it seemed his idea of married love was once a week on a Saturday night, with the lights out and not making any noise in case the neighbours heard. At least they still went to the cinema once a week, and Mabel lost herself in the glamour of the romantic dramas she loved to watch. No more sitting in the back row either.

Now they were married, it was back to the front row of the circle upstairs.

There was always the books. Reg liked to go to bed early, and reading in bed disturbed him. So Mabel would sit up late in an armchair, devouring the cheap romantic novels with their lurid covers. She imagined herself as the femme fatale, the irresistible heroine. And the private detective or caddish playboy would always look like Dennis in her mind.

Sundays were for visiting both sets of parents, on alternate weeks. At least they were guaranteed a slap-up meal in each house, and they both said how much they loved being married. Reg never complained about her cooking, and she never complained about the lack of romance in their life.

After a few months had passed, it dawned on Mabel that she was still having her monthlies. Reg’s weekly attentions did not seem to be bearing fruit, and it wasn’t as if they were using anything to stop her getting in the club. Children were expected, and it wouldn’t be long before someone mentioned that she hadn’t got pregnant yet. To try to hasten things along, she started going to bed early with Reg, and being sexually suggestive. He raised his eyebrows and looked at her like she was a two-bob prossie.

“On a Wednesday, love? Can’t you wait until Saturday, for God’s sake? What’s wrong with you? I’ve got to be up and out by half-five”.

Waiting until she could hear his low snoring, she would creep out into the living room and read one of her books.

Five months after the wedding, Dennis showed up at Woolworth’s one day. “Still here then, Mabel? You look really good, I like a girl in uniform. It’s pouring down outside, how about I give you a lift home? My car’s in the street behind the shop, I can wait until you close”. She knew she should say no, but she nodded instead. Then she blushed.

Nobody really knew what Dennis did for a living, but she had heard enough rumours to know it wasn’t strictly legal. He had a new Humber car, and there wasn’t anyone else she knew that had a car at all, even the men with good jobs. Harry Price had mentioned that he had a television set too. Mabel had never even seen one of those.

She touched up her lipstick and powder before leaving the staff room. Didn’t hurt to look your best when riding in a car.

30 thoughts on “Life With Mabel: Part Seven

  1. (1) Some American outhouses had two or three holes. The users weren’t as persnickety as their European counterparts.
    (2) Reginald was a natural Captain, but.Mabel was not a natural Cook.
    (3) After dinner, Reg would talk about nothing but chew-chew trains.
    (4) Mabel devoured cheap romantic novels with their lurid covers. How do lurid covers taste?
    (5) Was the slap-up meal followed by a family pie throwing contest?
    (6) The fruit of a maple tree is a winged seed. The Mabel tree in Reg’s pants produces wiggly seeds, but no fruit.
    (7) Starfleet Quote #1701 (Capt. Kirk): “You look really good, I like a girl in uniform.”

    Liked by 1 person

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