Absence makes the heart…   Leave a comment

George thought he would surprise his family with the news. He had decided to give up long-distance lorry driving, as he was worn out from it. He wasn’t getting any younger, and he wanted to spend more time with the family. Now he had been given the opportunity. His old mate Fred had offered him a local job, delivering groceries to customers of Fred’s super-market. George couldn’t wait to tell them that he had resigned from his job.

He sneaked into the house while his wife Majorie was at work, and Beth and Ben were at school. Nobody would expect him home at this time. He sorted out the shopping he had bought, and started cooking his signature dish – his special chicken curry.

Ben and Beth burst in the door at half-past four. They stood with their mouths open when they saw their father standing there with his striped apron on, beaming at them.

“Dad, what are you doing here?” the twins gasped.

“I’ll tell you once your mother comes home. Now go and get changed, and then help me lay the table.”

Beth and Ben raised their eyebrows at each other, and went silently upstairs.

Majorie was home at 5 o’clock and George opened the door to her.

“George, what’s wrong? What are you doing here?”

“Come in. I’ve got dinner cooked. I’ll tell you over dinner.”

So George divulged his plans, thinking his family would be chuffed to see more of him. But they just sat and stared, and then as one chorus challenged him… “Why?”

George looked at them incredulously.

“What do you mean, why? I want to spend more time with my family. I thought you would be pleased. We have enough financially, and I’m not getting any younger.”

The twins smiled weakly at him, and Majorie came over and gave him a peck on the cheek.

“That’s great darling,” she said.

After dinner Ben and Beth started heading into the lounge, while Marjorie began to clear the table.

“And where do you think you two are going?”

“To watch telly,” grunted Ben.

“Oh no you don’t. You can both help your mother clear up, and then get on with your homework.”

Beth and Ben frowned. George thought he heard Ben swear under his breath, but thought it best to ignore it. Beth just gave him a scathing look. Marjorie just shrugged her shoulders, and worked around the twins feeble attempts of help.

When Marjorie was finished she went upstairs for a shower. George sat down to read his paper. He heard the shower stop, and then Marjorie talking to someone. Marjorie came down in clean clothes and had applied a bit of make-up. George looked at her quizzically.

“I promised to meet the girls from work. One of them has a birthday today….didn’t I say? I didn’t know you would be home tonight.”

George was disappointed, but didn’t want to spoil Marjorie’s fun. After all she didn’t know that he would be home. He turned on the television after she was gone; the children would come and join him once they had finished their homework. But not long after Marjorie left the door-bell went. Beth flew downstairs and answered the door. There was a lot of giggling and muttering and then the door banged twice. Ben and Beth had gone out with their friends. So this is what they are like when I’m away, George thought to himself.

George tried to watch a documentary, but he grew weary and fell asleep.  About 11 o’clock the twins came home and woke him up.

“I never said you could go out on a week night,” he reprimanded.

“Whatever. Mum never says anything, but then she’s never here,” said Beth derisively. George went silent. Beth and Ben said no more, and went to bed.

It was gone midnight before Marjorie returned in a taxi, slightly worse for wear.

“Look at the state of you! Where have you been?”

Just then Marjorie’s phone rang. When she went to take it out of her pocket she dropped it on the floor. George picked it up, and looked at the caller display.

“Harry…who the hell is Harry?” exploded George.

Marjorie went into hysterics.

“I’m sorry… I was lonely with you away all the time. ..Harry made me feel young again,” she bawled.

George put his arms around her. “Shhh….I think I came back just in time.”

He brushed away a solitary tear that trickled out the corner of his eye.

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Posted November 18, 2014 by eileenmoynihan in Uncategorized

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