One Whole Week
A yellow ‘post it note’ detached itself from the wall hung calendar as Dave brushed passed on his way out of the front door. He turned and snatched it out of the air and thumped it back on to the glossy picture of the month. As he shut the door behind him the ‘post it’ curled slightly and then fell to the floor.
With a stocky hand Dave pushed his change across the bar in the Red Lion. Two red tramlines ran round the circumference of one of his chubby fingers marking the place where his wedding ring should sit. It always took him some time to derail his ring from the tight groves and then up and over his dry cracked knuckle but by doing so he relieved himself of such responsibilities every Friday. Friday was his night to go down to his local and then on to the nearest town where he would find oblivion. It was routine.
Dave sat with head cocked at an angle such that he could talk to the barman but also flick his eyes towards the big screen. New customers arrived and he readjusted his position on the stool as if his status at the bar might be threatened. He fumbled for his phone, while the barman was busy and made a call.
‘ Yeah hi Pat love – there’s no milk ok? – bye then’
Dave rose later than he expected to. He had been woken up by his or Patricia’s alarm; he couldn’t work out which. His head felt as if bricks had been thrown at it and he screwed his red bulging eyes up, restricting the light as he made his way to the bathroom. He wobbled like a new-born lamb but had the appeal of a mud covered hippo. Using his thumbs he idly felt for the top of his pants above his hips and then ran his thumbs along the inside to the front, unearthing the elastic from his sagging belly. The toilet had been blessed with a splattering of colour, spots of orange and brown. He called out for Patricia even though he had already concluded that she must been on an early shift. He didn’t acknowledge the lack of response and carried on with his business before returning to the bedroom to continue his recovery from the night before.
Dave opened the fridge and grabbed the block of mature cheddar and then rummaged for the dirty bread knife in the stagnating washing up bowl. He wiped each side of the knife across his jeans and cut some chunky slices. He was starving and couldn’t wait for the Sunday roast but not being sure what time Patricia would be home he thought he would tuck in. His eyes fixed on the TV in the corner as he fumbled for the bread. It was the presenter who he fancied. He licked his lips, catching a string of dribble before if dropped to the floor, staring at her balloon like breasts, exaggerated by the angle of the camera and her loosely buttoned blouse. He could almost feel their doughy softness in his hands. Distracted by a strange musty smell, Dave looked away from the telly to find a mauled green crust in his palm.
‘yeah hi love – there’s no bread, ok? – bye then’
It didn’t matter how long Dave ran the hot tap for, the bright rusty coloured grease and swollen rice wouldn’t leave the sink. He thought at first glance that the sink was full of maggots and then on throwing away his empty tobacco pouch, the brown paper bag squashed into the top of the bin reminded him that he had a take away last night. The Sunday roast had never materialised so he’d taken himself to the local which had become more like a Friday night session. The steam billowed into the kitchen from the hot tap and he questioned why Patricia had left so much washing up. Running out of time he picked up his jacket and left for work.
Dave opened his pants drawer. No pants. He tried to think, was it early or lates she was on. He pulled down the pants he had worn for bed and then picked up a pair on the floor. He compared the skids marks and then chose a pair that had been slung on top of a pile of magazines by the bed. He didn’t check this pair.
‘yeah hi love – no pants – ok’
That evening he propped himself up by his familiar bar and stared at the optics as he lifted his glass to his mouth. The beer poured into his throat, seemingly to bypass any muscles in his mouth, his adams apple jolting as the liquid pumped down into his stomach.
When Dave arrived home he called out for Patricia. He stood in the kitchen and bellowed her name repeatedly like a child who demanded attention. He stood next to the increasing pile of washing up and continued to call for her. Eventually Dave retreated to the front room and settled into the concaved cushions on the sofa. The mould fitted him perfectly but disappointingly he couldn’t find the remote control and he had to get up and search.
He scanned the room, the coffee table, the rug, the sofa. The easy option was to use the on/off button, this he did and watched a nature program about animals that mated for life. He wasn’t the slightest bit interested but couldn’t turn to a different channel.
‘yeah hi love – lost the remote – yeh see ya’
He was asleep before the end.
The sun streamed through the bedroom window heating up the whale like object in the bed. He turned over, face red and wet with sweat and kicked at the duvet to release himself from being cooked. He scratched at his groin area and then picked his nose, flicking the contents with no intended aim. His eyes were closed, blocking the mid morning sun, but as he stretched he became aware of having too much space in the bed. He opened his eyes, and called for Patricia. No answer. He looked at the clock. Late for work. Of course, he’d turned the alarms off.
The calendar swung on its hook as Dave hurried passed out of the door. He paused and thought it was worth a look to see if Patricia had written her shift on there. Nothing. As he turned to go, a fallen ‘post it’, now with a gritty sticky strip, stuck to the toe of his shoe. The yellow flash caught his eye and he grabbed it with impatience on seeing Patricia’s writing inside the curling square. He took a step backwards as he registered some of the words and slumped down on to the nearest kitchen chair. Before reducing it to a ball in the palm of his hand he let the words sink in; ‘You – live with- anymore – can’t’. .