The atmosphere in the car was so gloomy Frank imagined they were towing their own personal raincloud. Mandy, his wife, fiddled with her mobile.
“What now?” Frank asked.
“I’m texting Mum. Robbie’ll need his inhaler.”
Frank gripped the wheel. “You left a note.”
“She might not find it.”
“It’s on the table, along with Robbie’s inhaler and Cassie’s ballet shoes. Please stop worrying about the kids.”
“I’m their mother,” she snapped. “It’s my job to worry.”
A luxury mini-break – the perfect anniversary present, Frank had thought. Spend some quality time together. He loved the children dearly, but longed for simpler, quieter days. Mandy, though, felt incomplete without them, and Frank came close to physically carrying her to the car that morning, as she fussed over the tiniest details.
They arrived at the hotel in stony silence.
Their room offered a commanding view of the bay. The carpet felt deep and soft, and the bed seemed enormous. Frank sighed. At this rate he’d be sleeping on the sofa.
“I suppose we should unpack,” Mandy said, emptying her bag onto the bed. “What’s this?” She held up a little soft-toy crab.
Frank frowned. “Oh! Don’t you remember – our first holiday?”
She gasped. “Yes – Blackpool! You played every fairground game, desperate to win me something.”
“Those games were rigged…”
“Then the Hook-a-Duck man took pity on you.” She smiled. “Remember our caravan?”
Frank laughed. “With the holes in the floor? And the demonic grill?”
“Yes, it incinerated everything we cooked…”
“…so we ate fish and chips…”
“…for a whole week…”
“…and it rained every day!” They said, grasping each other’s hands.
Mandy grinned. “We’ve come a long way,” she said.
“We certainly have. So… shall we go for a walk? Check out the restaurant?”
“Maybe later,” Mandy said, drawing the curtains closed.
By Dan Purdue