456. Not a scrap of difference
© Bruce Goodman 9 January 2015

Gwendolyn and Harry had been married for fifty-two years. When they married, it was the woman’s task to cook the meals. Harry would sit in an armchair and wait to be called to the table. The house was woman’s work. These days, he watched TV while he waited. He’d never quite got around to adapting to the times, house-wise.

Over the years, Gwendolyn had added little things to her meal preparation. She would boil the kettle and make a pot of tea to have after the meal. She would grind the coffee beans and prepare the machine to turn on automatically in the morning. She would put the ingredients for making a loaf of bread in the bread-maker, so that lovely fresh bread would be ready for next morning. She would set the table. She would empty the dishwasher. And she got better and better at making different and lovelier meals.

Harry, with his feet on a footrest, would surf the TV channels with the remote.

These days, Gwendolyn would get a sore back. “It’s age,” said Harry, switching over to the Sports.

“When I’m gone,” thought Gwendolyn, “when I die and he has to do all these things himself, he’ll know why I got so tired, and how much effort I put into things.”

And she did die. Quite suddenly. One evening while putting water in the kettle.

After that, Harry bought his bread from the shop, pre-sliced. He made instant coffee. He used a teabag for tea. He would heat his pre-cooked supermarket meal in the microwave and eat it watching TV from the armchair.

He never noticed a jolly thing. Not a scrap of difference.

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