Strife

Prompt image for the Fandango's Flash Fiction prompt

For Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #119, where we write about this image of a David Hockney work. .

When they had first met, the earth had moved. Nobody could possibly know a love like this, surely? And until the children came along, they could not keep their hands off each other.

But forty years of marriage later, each had developed other interests, which they were far more likely to be pursuing than each other.

Betty’s forte was dress making. She had even commandeered one of the bedrooms, vacant since the last child left home, such that it now resembled the Starship Enterprise, a centrepiece being an expensive sewing machine, surrounded by its very own control deck of compartments.

On the other hand, Dave’s hobby was writing. All those one-off thoughts he’d had over the years, he had finally started writing down in his journal. Fragments, really, that he might weave into little tales. Not the most adventurous of pastimes, but it kept his mind active, his imagination healthy.

Each knew that the other enjoyed their hobby, investing large amounts of time into it, but they neither knew nor cared what the other’s hobby entailed.

Tuesday last. Rising early to enjoy the tranquillity of the hour, Dave picked up his journal. A morsel from the day before. Something he could weave into a tale. Almost immediately, he had an ending. A fraction later, a beginning. But what of the path between? How could he get from that beginning to that end, with some degree of plausibility?

Dave settled into thought. He vaguely noticed Betty go past the door, and absent-mindedly called “hello”, as he looked up at the clock. Two hours. Still, never mind – still some kinks to iron out but there was no hurry. Dave was brought back to reality by the sound of activity from the kitchen, and a moment later Betty appeared, vacuum in hand. “I just want to give the curtains a quick run over”, she announced, pointing at the window three feet from his head. Without waiting for a response, Betty began, and the sound of the cleaner, so close to his ear, immediately drowned the room.

“Do you mind?”, grumped a startled Dave, “I’m trying to concentrate here. Can you maybe do that later?”

Seeing Dave’s lips move, Betty momentarily stopped the vacuum.

“Did you just say something?”, she asked.

This was the last time the couple spoke.

Author: Mister Bump UK

Designed/developed large IT systems, interrupted by a stroke in 2016, aged 48. Now mix development of health-related software with voluntary work and writing. Married, with an estranged daughter.

7 thoughts on “Strife”

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