‘Five Asteroids Heading For Earth’
“Of course,” Gloria said as she read the headline, “sounds about right for 2020. Fire, flood, plague, now total annihilation. Wonder if we can defend ourselves with toilet paper. Pile up everyone’s stash and make a nice soft landing for them. Maybe that’s the silver lining to everyone’s panic buying.”
“What are you mumbling about?” Gloria’s husband Barry asked.
“Nothing, dear. So what are we going to do these last five days?”
“Waddyamean?” Gloria hated it when her husband ran his words together. His record was seven words into one — ‘Garntathpubbeomelayda’. She pronounced her words like an English school marm just to make a point. Gloria felt she was holding them up out of the cesspit of boganness with each word she enunciated.
“I mean, we have five days left to live. How would you like to spend them?”
“Ya don’t believe that crap, do ya?”
Defeated, Gloria slumped into her recliner. It matched Barry’s, which matched the settee, which matched the dining chairs, which matched the curtains. The day it had all been delivered, 30 years ago, she felt like she was the luckiest wife in the world. Now it felt suffocating, the fabric and her husband’s attitude were sucking the oxygen out of the air around her.
“Yes, Barry, I do believe it. And even if the experts are wrong, what could it hurt to have five days of doing what we’ve always wanted to do?”
“Everyday I do exactly what I want. I get up, read the newspaper, have a coffee, do the crossword, have lunch, take a nap, go to the pub, have dinner, go to bed, get up and do it all again. In the unlikely event asteroids do hit, I want to be sittin’ here, with a beer in my hand, watchin’ tele.”
And that was that. No questions or discussion about what Gloria wanted. As always, his needs were met, end of story. But Gloria wanted more, needed more, and this was literally her last opportunity to replace the life of a caregiver for a life of being cared for.
She rose from the cloying clutches of the recliner, and moved the matching curtains to look out window. Their neighbour, Dave was tying a kayak to the roof of his loaded up Kia. Gloria, for once in her life, followed her yearning heart and not her sensible head.
Her step quickened as she headed down the path and through the gate; pressing her lips together to even out her lipstick, Gloria approached her neighbour. She was starving for the attention of another human being.
Dave’s wife had left him last year, and Gloria had shared tea and tears with him ever since. They never once thought of progressing their friendship to the next stage…until this unusual and weird year.
Gloria took a deep breath, rejection at this point would sting more than she thought she could handle.
“Hi, Dave. Is there room in that kayak for two?”
Kim Hart lives in the Snowy Mountains region of Australia with her husband. This story is not an indication of their situation post-lockdown, they are retired so quite used to spending a lot of time together – and he plays golf which helps them both to stay sane. Kim has two daughters and a grandson who live 5 hours drive away, so she has spent time ‘babysitting’ by reading books to him over FaceTime. She loves to write and enjoys photography as well.