Brilliant sunshine floods through the unwashed panes of my bedroom window. I lie prostrate; tired from the previous day’s toils.
Yawning, stretching, I allow my feet to escape from under the warm cotton sheets; they touch the cold linoleum floor with shock. Even though the sun blazes in, the coolness of the Lino remains.
Dressing, I saunter into the kitchen. Beatrice is at the sink washing dishes I carelessly discarded last night, before collapsing into bed.
‘Hi honey,’ she says without turning around, ‘have a good sleep?’
‘Hmm,’ I reply, ‘not bad, though I could have done with a bit more,’ I add.
‘Why didn’t you then?’ she queries.
‘I couldn’t sleep any longer, besides it’s too nice to linger in bed,’ I say, brushing a stray blonde hair from my sleepy eyes.
Beatrice finishes her chore and sits down opposite me. She lights a cigarette and takes a long draw, offers me the packet, but I decline.
‘So what’s the plan for today then?’ she asks lightly.
It is her birthday; forty, another milestone that I have not yet acknowledged.
She knows I like to tease but is probably wondering why I haven’t wished her, ‘Many Happy Returns.’
‘Would you like some tea, Tom?’ she asks.
‘Sit down, I’ll make it,’ I offer. Then, ‘Happy Birthday,’ I say, and she smiles.
As we are drinking the sweet beverage, I ask her to look in the ‘everything’ cupboard. Aptly named, as all kinds of things are stored away there.
She places her cup down. Flicking her long black wavy hair over her slim shoulder, Beatrice puts her cigarette on the overflowing ashtray.
Beatrice is a chain smoker and hardly ever clears away the butts she leaves rotting there. Even though I smoke myself, this is one habit, which annoys me. Today though, I shall not scold her.
Excitedly she tears the brightly-coloured paper and ribbon from the parcel. Like a child, she cannot wait to reveal its contents