Our task was to write a piece (poetry, prose or fiction) inspired by the photo below. I hope you all like it.
The Perfect Marriage
Pete mooched slowly down the tree lined avenue, the misty rain landing silently on his open umbrella. He was the only person in view and he wondered just what he was doing here.
Of course, he should have been at work. If this were a normal day he would be sat in his cubicle of an office, computer whirring and screen flashing, his fingers whizzing over the keyboard as if his life depended on it, which it did. His position as a computer analyst was all that mattered. He would leave the house in the early hours after his wife had made him breakfast and make sure he was in his office before anyone else. He loved that solitary time, when he was alone with his freshly brewed coffee and before the telephone started its incessant ringing, peace and quiet in which to organise and plan the day ahead.
Then the fun would start, people would gradually drift in, some ready for the day ahead, others still bleary eyed from too much socializing the night before. They would come in with tales of their home lives, how difficult it was to live with their partners, their screaming kids and stroppy teenagers. Pete had always nodded and agreed with them but he knew that he had it cracked. Francesca kept the house and the children immaculately; clean house, willing wife and quiet kids. He certainly knew how to be in control and live life his way.
At 12.30 he would break for lunch and telephone Fran in order to tell her what he would like for dinner that evening. He would be home at 8pm as always, the children were to be in bed and asleep and his meal waiting for him, perfectly cooked. He would also tell Francesca what he wanted her to be wearing, he couldn’t abide those women who refused to make an effort for their husbands, it was the least they could do.
He’d done that yesterday and Francesca had answered the phone in the bright and cheery way he loved to hear. He had told her to cook a nice T bone steak (rare), boiled potatoes (just soft but not going to mash) petits pois peas, julienne carrots and asparagus tips. For pudding he fancied some of her homemade chocolate devil cake with hot chocolate sauce and clotted cream. He had asked her to wear that slinky red dress with the plunging neckline and the long split up the side. Her hair was to be up as he enjoyed undoing the clasp and watching it cascade around her shoulders later. Her laughter had tinkled down the phone as she said she would have it all ready for him.
The rest of the day had passed without incident. The ringing of the phones, the banter with his colleagues, the cocktail bar after work to relax and while away a couple of hours while Francesca put the children to bed and prepared everything for his arrival. Life was good.
When he got home last night the curtains were drawn correctly but Pete was surprised to find the door locked. A flash of anger ran through him; Francesca was supposed to open it for him and welcome him in with a loving kiss. She was so disrespectful. After fumbling in his pocket for his keys he eventually managed to get inside, only to find silence. There should have been classical music playing softly in the background and Fran should have been helping him to remove his coat. He had checked his watch, 8pm on the dot, as he always was. She really should know better than this. He had called her name, softly at first so as not to wake those annoying kids and then louder and louder as his anger intensified. There was still no reply as he marched into the kitchen and beheld the scene before him. The kitchen table had been set for one person just as he liked it. The serviette was folded into a precision fan and the candles were ready to light. It was the worktop that caught most of his attention though. Spread out along it were all of the ingredients for tonight’s meal along with a note explaining how to cook each stage. At the bottom of the page Francesca had written ‘Please enjoy your meal.’
This was preposterous, how dare she not cook his meal, let alone expect him to cook his own. Now incandescent with rage he tore through the house eventually arriving in the bedroom. The red dress was lying on the bed with a pair of scissors lying amongst the tatters that were all that was left of it. Another note lay on the pillow along with her mobile phone.
Today, as he walked slowly along the avenue in the rain he pulled the missive out of his pocket and read it again.
“You’ve used me as your punch bag and your whore for the last time. We are history to you now.’
As Pete crumpled the paper into his fist and let it slowly drift to the floor, he wondered miserably just what he had done so wrong.