Interview

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

A man loses his wedding ring on the day that he is having an interview.

 

The semblance of love will endure.

 

Monday morning. The middle-aged man came downstairs and immediately began searching. He looked on the bathroom shelf and window sill and then, into the kitchen, looked on top of the microwave and next to the coffee machine. With his right hand he rubbed the bare finger on his left hand.

‘I can’t find my wedding ring.’

His wife came into the kitchen and ran the tap to fill up the kettle. They were both wearing dressing gowns.

‘I can’t remember where I put it.’

His wife ran her eyes over the top of the microwave and then scanned the area near the coffee machine.

‘Have you checked the bathroom?’

‘I’ve looked there.’

‘What about in your pockets?’

‘I never put it in my pocket. I don’t trust pockets.’

‘I don’t know why you don’t put it in the same place. You’re always leaving it all over the place.’

‘I always think it’ll fall out.’

While the kettle boiled, his wife went into the bathroom, looking for the ring. The window sill was cracked and spotted with black mould, and the white paint was peeling away.  

 

In the kitchen, he put the instant coffee powder into the mugs and then added sugar to his and two sweeteners to hers. They never used the coffee machine any more.

 

A six year old girl descended the stairs carrying a pink water-bottle, a cuddly toy, and a pair of purple-framed glasses. She, too, was wearing a dressing gown. Pink.

‘Morning Phoebe. Shall I get you the laptop?’

Phoebe’s Dad went into the front room. He switched on the TV for the morning news and then switched on the laptop.

‘Do you want some toast?’

His eyes were restlessly glancing around the room as he talked. Phoebe’s mum came in with her coffee but remained standing near the door.

‘I can’t see it in the bathroom.’

‘I can’t even remember taking it off. I might have taken it off when I did the washing up. Or when I did Phoebe’s bath?’

‘I think it’s gone.’

‘I can’t even remember taking it off. I feel like I was drinking last night or something. That’s how tired I must have been.’

It was December and the Christmas tree was up. The lights had come on when he’d switched on the plug for the television. He tried to listen to the presenters talking on the TV but all he could hear was the cartoons on the laptop. He rubbed his unshaven chin, got up from the chair, and took another look around the bathroom.

 

By the time he came home that evening, although it was only five o’clock, it was already dark outside. He took his worn shoes off without undoing the laces and left then on the mat as he closed the front door behind him.

‘Well, I’ll tell you what, I managed to squeeze eight hours’ worth of bullshit  into a four hour shift today.’

He mouthed ‘bullshit’ without sounding it so as to not corrupt his daughter’s ears. He took off his coat and hung it on the stand. Underneath, he was wearing the logo-ed, zip-up fleece jacket of the supermarket that he worked for. The name badge read: KEVIN.

 

His wife, Laura, was taking an oven tray from the oven: an easy dinner of burger and chips.

‘I’m just dishing up Phoebe’s dinner.’

Phoebe paused the laptop, got up from her chair, and gave her Dad a big hug.

‘Daddy!’

‘Hi, darling. Are you okay?’

‘I’ve just done burger and chips tonight because it’s easy. I’ll give her some tomatoes and sweetcorn.’

‘Sounds yummy. You sit down, sweetheart; your mum’s bringing your dinner over. Was school okay?’

He began to ascend the stairs without waiting for an answer.

‘A great day, Daddy.’

‘That’s great, sweetheart. I’m just getting changed quickly.’

He went into the bedroom to quickly change out of his uniform. He opened the wardrobe and pulled out the mauve, corduroy trousers that he’d been wearing the previous day. The clothes in the wardrobe were bundled and disorganised and he had to wade deep to find the shirt and jumper that he was also searching for.

 

After pulling up and buttoning the cords, he put a hand in the pocket and felt the shape of his wedding ring. Immediately, he shouted from the landing.

‘I’ve just found the ring.’

‘Where was it?’

‘In my pocket. In the trousers I had on yesterday.’

‘I thought you never put it in your trousers?’

‘I know. It’s weird.’

He came downstairs in the slightly-creased, mauve cords and the specially-selected, knitted-green jumper.

‘I’m nervous,’ he said.

‘You’ll be fine.’

She gave him a brief hug. He opened the fridge and took out a bottle of beer. His daughter was watching ancient episodes of Power Rangers on the laptop while she finished the burger and chips.

‘I’m a bag of nerves,’ he said.

 

After the dinner had been eaten and the dishes had been cleared, the three of them – the two adults and the young child – sat down in the living room: Laura and Phoebe on the sofa and Kevin on a chair. Each of them stared at their own electronic device: phone, tablet, laptop.

‘What time is it?’

‘Nearly seven.’

‘I’m going to wait upstairs.’

‘Try not to be mute.’

‘I’ll try.’

‘Try not to be monosyllabic.’

‘Give me a hug, sweetheart. Wish me luck.’

Phoebe got up from the sofa and gave her Dad a hug. Laura, too, gave him a supportive hug.

 

He took a notebook and biro up with him to the bedroom. He opened the notebook on his lap while he sat on the bed and wrote BE COOL in big letters while he waited for the phone to ring.

 

He turned the letters into bubble writing as he continued to wait. He picked up the phone and put it down again. He wrote RELAX in the notebook. And then the phone rang. He stood up as soon as he answered it and paced the bedroom floor as he talked.

 

The presenter did not start by asking a question; he made a statement and left a silence for Kevin to fill.

 

 Talking on the phone to the presenter was just like talking on the phone.  

 

Kevin said goodbye to the presenter and put the phone into his pocket. When he came back downstairs his wife and daughter were stood waiting for him, clapping and cheering. He touched his wedding ring with a finger and thumb.

‘Well done, love.’

‘Well done, Daddy.’

Look at their smiling faces.

 


Submitted: September 11, 2021

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