As if something magical had happened a time arrived when all the kids were away. Leonie was holidaying with friends, Bill was at camp, and yesterday they’d put Gail on a plane for the music exchange. She looked more like a woman than they could have imagined, so self-possessed, so determined. They’d allowed themselves a moment for pride, and another for self-congratulation. Who said this parenting caper was hard?

Don and Bridget slept past nine. Nine! Even after rising they lingered in pyjamas.

‘We could get movies and pizza and forget the housework.’ Don scooped fish chunks into Pusska’s bowl.

‘Or we could let our hair down.’ Bridget looked at him and laughed. ‘Metaphorically.’

‘Any ideas?’

‘Remember that spot in the hills?’

How could he forget? ‘I’ll make a picnic. There’s a nice bottle in the fridge. Some dips and things.’

‘Sounds great’ she said, leaning closer to kiss him, ‘I’ll have a quick shower.’

Don started pulling things out of the fridge. He flicked on the radio—the News theme meant it was already eleven o’clock.

Bridget stepped into the shower feeling as light as a teenager in love. As the warm water washed over her Don burst in. ‘What was Gail’s flight number?’

For a moment, before she saw his face, she thought it was some sort of joke.

 

2011—Richard Holt / small stories about love (smallstoriesaboutlove.wordpress.com)

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