As with every morning lately, John wakes up crying. He can’t say why. Helen slumbers beside him, soft and flannelly with middle-age (long gone the days she slept naked); his job rumbles on, weekdays nine to six (he opts for ‘middle management’ on forms); Lucy will wag her tail feebly, fix him with shining eyes as kibble dings and echoes into bowl.
Maybe it’s time for a change. Tonight - Thursday – it’s fish and chips. Instead, he’ll bring home Asian. Nothing too spicy for Helen. Chicken teriyaki. Chilli beef for him.
Dining table eschewed (medium oak), they balance plates on laps, swap Killing Eve for Line of Duty. At 10.30, instead of turning in, he opens the single malt Dad bought them, unfogs a brace of tumblers (wedding Royal Doulton), measures out two fingers. Who knows? Things might be different.
As with every morning lately, John wakes up crying.