Three Candles

A man surprises his wife by making the bed on Valentines day and wishes he hadn't.

Lauren insisted that Andy made the bed every Sunday when he got home from golf. “Why bother?” he had once asked through the bathroom door. “We’re only going to make it dirty again?”

She had screamed that it was important to her and she didn’t ask him to do much and why couldn’t he ever just do something for her without arguing - so he did. Weekly. In silence.

It was Valentines Day, and they exchanged cards. Two peanuts frolicked on the cover of Andy’s. The caption read, “I’m nuts about you.”

“Very funny,” he said. Andy put his card face down on the chest of drawers. Just looking at nuts made him feel sick.  He pulled on his golf gear and, after a shower, Lauren dressed and wrote the shopping list she would take to town.

As usual, at ten o’clock, they left the house together and kissed goodbye. Andy loaded his clubs into the boot and watched his wife saunter towards town.

He retrieved his clubs moments later, let himself back into the house, walked upstairs to the bedroom and set to work. He nimbly unbuttoned the duvet cover and peeled it back before screwing it into a ball and slam-dunking it into the laundry basket.

His golf bag sat dejectedly in the corner and Andy gave it a sad smile. Last week at the driving range Paul had asked Andy when he’d last done something spontaneous and romantic for Lauren. Andy couldn’t remember.

He flipped a fresh duvet cover inside out and climbed inside, pushing his fingers into it's corners. White light streaming through the window filtered into his billowing world of cotton and lavender. He gripped the duvet by it's corners and shook it, flapping it around the room like a netted shark.

Andy spread the duvet across the bed like jam and folded the corners under the mattress, just as Lauren liked.

He smoothed out every crease before scattering a handful of rose petals onto the beds springy skin, where they rested like small red ripples. 'Something’s missing', he thought. Andy snapped his fingers, drew the curtains and ran to the kitchen before returning with three large candles. He arranged them neatly on the chest of drawers before bringing them into flickering being. 'Perfect', he thought.

He could see Lauren now, walking through the door, surprised to see him before five o’clock, falling into his arms on the petal-strewn paradise he had created and... a knock at the door. His daydream cut short Andy shuffled downstairs to pull it open. A Tesco delivery driver was stood dumbly beside a crate of food holding a bouquet of roses. He handed Andy a piece of A4 paper and said, “All good mate?”

Andy looked down at the carbon copy of the shopping list he had watched his wife write that morning, with three exceptions: roses, red wine and praline chocolates. 

The End

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