Friday, 20 June 2008

1. The Routine

Sunday is the day Sarah dreads the most. From the moment she wakes, a agonising sense of anxiety churns her stomach and send lightening sparks through her temples. They always start the same way - with as little noise as possible. With caution, so she doesn't wake him, she slowly and carefully lifts the eiderdown and peels herself off their double bed and walks along the landing to the bathroom avoiding the creaky floorboards - she doesn't need to look at the floor to see where to step, it is like a dance routine which has been rehearsed over and over again. Sarah longs to be able to go to places where she could dance like she used to; a place where bright lights circle on shiny wooden floors and men hold their partners close as they spin together. But for now, the stained maroon, brown and gold carpet is the only place she has.

It is almost 4 hours later when he finally rolls out of bed, his heavy steps on the stairs make Sarah's heart beat hard, her list of chores has kept her busy all morning, she straightens her dress and pulls her hair back off her face just the way he likes it. His descending steps compress the air leaving a dull, imposing and suffocating atmosphere. He stands in the doorway to the kitchen; hair greasy and limp, his eyes red and bloodshot, his enormous gut hanging over his old faded tartan boxer shorts. He doesn't say anything just shuffles past to his seat at the table which has already been laid for his breakfast. His look of disdain distorts his face. Sarah plates up his fried breakfast ensuring that there is a fried egg are on each of the two fried slices, the bacon rashers and three sausages are on the opposite side of the plate to the beans and mushrooms and that the tomatoes, which have been grilled are in the centre.
He says nothing as she places his obscenely large breakfast in front of him. His tea is poured (milk in first) into his pint sized mug. The toast popping out the toaster startles Sarah and she is quick to butter (the toast must be warm) and cut into triangles - never squares, she knows never to cut his toast into square quarters again; she had been young and foolish back then - dizzily in love. She didn't know that it had to be triangles but her lesson was soon learnt; her bruises had healed quickly that first time.

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