What would you do if you won the lottery?
THE WINNER. (Draft
I woke up, stretched and sighed as the resonating snore from the
sleeping lump beside me shook the walls.
Then I remembered.
Last night had been such a blur. Having
to keep a straight face, biting hard on my cheek to try and disguise the rising
scream in my constricting throat.
It stirred beside me with a porcine snort as It caught It’s interminably annoying breath.
Maybe last night was all just a cruel dream.
Slowly, gently I pushed the quilt aside and slid out of bed; pausing to look back to be sure it still slept. I needed to check again, sneak downstairs, and lift the sofa cushion. I had secreted the ticket there after retrieving it from the waste paper basket. I had dropped it in the bin with a flourish of perfectly executed disgust.
“Anything?” It had asked.
“No” I had replied a little too quickly with my heart pounding in my chest. “Not even a tenner.”
“Waste of bloody time and money that......rip off” was uttered against the rustle of paper as it checked the TV listings.
“Mmmmm” I agreed flatly.
Nothing more was said for the next few hours until the words “Bed for me…..g’night.”
The excitement was unbearable. I wanted to shout, to scream “It’s me!! I won it!!!!” The Poe-faced newsreader had announced one winner at ten and I knew he was talking to me. I looked again at the ticket. For the first time in years a wave of excitement coursed through my whole body. I leapt from my seat uttering a stifled hoarsely whispered YEESS!! YEESS!! I danced ecstatically on the spot and punched the air in sheer joy. I must have looked ridiculous but I didn’t care.
I wanted, needed to tell someone, anyone. But there wasn’tanyone,
It had seen to that.
At first I hadn’t minded. It had felt so good to feel so loved. He had wanted me and only me. I was his. Totally his. And really I hadn’t minded.
“You shouldn’t need
anyone else, just me, that’s what love is.” He had said with a disarming smile and a kiss. I had held him so tightly then. Surrendering everything that I was or would
become to him. I had felt safe, warm, protected and loved.
Someone loved me, needed me, and wanted me.
I used to believe in the transparent web of dreams and lies It had woven about me. My dreams soon became trivial, old and forgotten. The web had turned from gossamer into the suffocation of ice cold steel manacles. The pedestal on which It had stood had started to crumble a long time ago and now not even the dust of happy memories remained.
But that was then, this is now.
I have my ticket to freedom. I have a ticket to ride. Oh Boy!! Am I going to ride!!!! As far away as possible.
I found my precious passport beneath the cushion. I started when I heard the sound of It rising, The thump of It’s feet on the floor, The irritating cough as It cleared nicotine infested lungs to herald the start to the day. It shuffles across the floor to the bathroom. It will be down in a minute expecting to drown its stomach in the grease of the expected Sunday Full English.
I need to find a better place to hide the ticket. A rising panic hitting me. My brain racing I tried to think. My bag and purse is no good It thinks
nothing of going through them.
Thoughts cloud my head,
How can I keep this
secret to myself?
It knows me.
It can read me like a book.
I can’t keep up the pretence.
Why did It not notice last night that something had changed?
If It found out I could kiss this opportunity goodbye.
My one and only chance of escape would go up in the smoke of its celebratory Havana and the acrid aroma of Glenmorangie.
The heavy shuffle returned to the bedroom. It will be getting dressed now. Orgasmically scratching at its distended belly, bloated with its Saturday night lager’s and curry.
That cough again.
I put the ticket in the pocket of my dressing gown and smoothed down it for security.
This moment is
And mine alone.
On auto pilot to the kitchen, I put the bread in the toaster, turn the kettle on. I turn my thoughts to what my first treat would be. Nothing to extravagant, Not to start
Just a little treat,
Just for me.
I open the fridge.
The harsh white light reveals.
In the cupboard,
The pan is sizzling nicely on the stove. The kitchen door opens. It comes
in and sits down heavily with a thud, the seat groaning in protest. It’s flesh filling the room with an unwanted and overwhelming presence. It coughs and lights the first cigarette of the day.
Unfolding the Sunday newspaper It begins to read.
I need the can-opener,
I open the knife drawer. The blades invite me as the light hits them.
A quick glance,
He is too embroiled in the Beautiful Game and shaking his head at something
revealed on the page.
A couch potato football manager.
I run my thumb down the serrated edges of the bread knife.
The carving knife?
They all need a good sharpening. They are all year’s old and never been replaced. Not today then.
“Hmmmm” I comment to myself aloud.
“What’s that?” It says
“Nothing.” I answer, no reply.
It gives the paper a shake and returns to drawing on the cigarette with heavy lips and squinting at the paper.
I now know what my little treat will be. My little reward for all these years
of drudgery and faded love.
New Kitchen Knives,
I smile to myself.
After all only the
best for my husband.