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Fiona dragged her weary body out of bed. She stepped into her beige tracksuit while Fred continued to snore like a diesel engine, as he had done for the last thirty years of their marriage.
She made her way downstairs to pull out the crockery and prepare breakfast as Fred liked it served each morning.
The kettle boiled. Fiona added the steamy water to the heady smell of fresh coffee pushing the plunger into the steel pot.
Fiona heard Fred shift above her and knew his ungainly body would soon make its way down the creaky staircase to head off to collect his morning papers.
‘Just going to get the morning papers’ he called out. ‘Anything needed from across the road?’ Fiona answered with her usual ‘Not today thanks, we have everything we need…’
She carried a tray into the dining room with linen napkins and a small vase of red roses freshly picked from her garden the night before. She placed them in the centre hoping for some kind of fragrance to waft through the room. Dissatisfied, they were simply wide red petals with no perfume.
She heard the sound of the front door opening and Fred throwing the keys into the glass bowl on the occasional oak table in the hall.
He bumbled into the dining room, sat down heavily at one end of the table and spread his papers out before him.
Fiona walked through with the clattery sound of the steel coffee pot, cups, saucers and spoons. She poured his coffee, adding warmed milk and placed the sugar bowl in front of him. He grunted a thank you. Without looking up he spooned his cornflakes and granola soaked in milk into his mouth in between slurps of hot coffee.
Bored, Fiona sighed sitting as she did every morning, at the far end eating in silence. She enjoyed her healthy bowl of fresh fruit followed by wholemeal toast spread with homemade citrus fruit marmalade, meticulously made each season.
Fred was retired but liked to pretend he was going to the office each day.He continued to wear his uniform of a clean white shirt, a grey silk tie, grey slacks and a navy jacket left out each night by Fiona in the spare room.
He stood up pushed back the chair, gathering up his papers ‘Time to head to the office. Have you prepared my favourite sandwiches dear?’ She nodded.
She heard him rustle about in the kitchen as he picked up the foil wrapped food. Inside the foil lay thick slices of bread with ham spread with grained mustard.
‘I’ll be off now,’ he called as he headed out the back door down to his DIY shed at the end of the garden. This was his office for the last ten years. He would return at five thirty sharp hungry, impatient waiting for dinner to be served.
Fiona smiled to herself leaving the breakfast remains on the table. With a bounce in her step, she sprinted her way upstairs to shower and pack her suitcase excited by the vibrant summer clothes she recently bought.
Fred walked up the path from his shed. He opened the kitchen door. He threw his briefcase onto the work surface, taking his jacket off he placed it on the back of a bar stool. He went to the fridge. He pulled out his usual chilled bottle of beer.
Stuck onto the fridge door, was a poster with the colours of the Australian flag.
‘Dinner is whatever you cook it…. bake it… make it… Forever …!
Gone down Under, thanks for the memories of the last thirty years,