It’ll be great they said, all the time in the world to do what you’ve always wanted to do now that himself is retired – to take life just as it comes, to travel the world, anywhere that takes your fancy. The luxury of lolling around all day in your pyjamas if you so desire, time to venture into the unknown so to speak, take up some new hobbies, tackle projects that you’ve always aspired to undertake but never had the time, explore new interests, grow your own veggies, become completely self-sufficient, how exciting … you’re SO lucky, they said.
Have you any plans, I ask.
A man of few words.
You must have some ideas? Slight note of desperation in my voice.
No, I don’t. I think I’ll do absolutely nothing for a few months. Give myself time to get used to this whole retirement thingy. Relax, take it easy.
I gave him 6 months, in my head.
Generous to a fault.
I would be a paragon of virtue for 6 months. Tolerance on legs, happy go lucky, isn’t life wonderful, la di da di da.
Six months, that is 180 days or thereabouts which is approximately 4320 hours, a third of which, 1430hours, I would, hopefully, be blissfully unaware of in the land of nod. That left 2890 hours during which I promised to be on my best behaviour.
Just over half way through the thousands of hours, the resolve began to slip a little, the halo appeared slightly tarnished, the temper a little less than sweetness personified. Three months in and his life was most definitely in danger; big, dirty, black danger.
The chair by the window that normally accommodates my weary bones was now no longer available.
I would roll in after a mornings work and hover meaningfully … all to no avail. Sensitive, new age man, me arse.
Will you have a cup of tea, I ask. He never drinks tea. Well sure, if you’re making one, I will. Jesus wept. This from the depths of my chair by the window, looking out on my garden with my birds twittering and singing to their heart’s content. Insult to injury. The tea is dutifully made. Courtesy and grace somewhat lacking. He, blissfully unaware of the rising athmospheric pressure. I, to my credit, stop short of sulking. Tea drunk, back off out to the working world. Blue-arsed fly imitation for the rest of the daylight hours.
Later in the day, I approach the kitchen, thinking it’s mine now, where’s the crossword, have a pen, kettle’s just boiled.
He’s in the chair.
It’s my turn, I scream. Silently. It doesn’t matter that it’s a scream because he is snoring. Head back, mouth open, less than melodic noises escaping from the depths. Ah, I hear his mother speaking in my head. Sure he works so hard, poor man. He must be tired. She had her own chair, by a window too, which requires a papal dispensation for anyone other than her ladyship to park their bones in.
She doesn’t have to do battle with the niceties of selfishness.
Master of illusion, I mutter. Used to work so hard, I growl. Will I smother him with the red or the blue cushion? I could do it really quickly. He wouldn’t feel a thing. I indulge myself with misty dreams of a constantly available chair by the window, the sun shining through sparkling glass, the tantalising aroma of a dinner that I had no part in preparing, the pink pigs flying by.
I let it go. I’m bigger than that.