Since the boys had headed off to their respective colleges she had found herself swimming in free time. Her friends, Margaret and Leslie, seemed to have reverted to pseudo-alcoholism after they had freed themselves from the shackles of twenty four hour motherhood. Each others company helped them ignore the fact that they got through multiple bottles of wine a day. Each. Francesca had sworn to herself that once Matthew and Alex went off to start their own lives in earnest she certainly wouldn’t be finishing hers, drowning it in cheap reds and Leslie’s Spritzer Surprise – which wasn’t nearly as surprising as she would lead one to believe.

  She considered it, if anything, a new lease – and her husband certainly seemed to welcome the change. What once had been reserved only for special occasions had become somewhat of a regularity over the last couple of weeks, and Fran genuinely enjoyed it. It wasn’t so much the feelings, anymore – as acceptable as they were -, but the attention, the obvious gratification it brought to Anthony and the satisfaction of a job well done.

  During the day, however, Fran had found herself wanting of things to do. She had tried reading but there were so few books in the house that interested her, and the laminate covers had put her off at an early age of renting from the local library. She had trawled through Amazon a couple of days ago, clicking through their recommendations with a haughty disposition at the pulp fiction it suggested she may enjoy. She had ordered a novel by Clifford Simak she vaguely remembered enjoying when she had attended college all those years ago but it hadn’t arrived yet, the postman bringing instead fresh batches of daily disappointment since.

  Instead, to occupy her wealth of time, she had taken to creeping into the basement after Anthony had left for the mill. There, she would blow into the cartridges of dusty video games, hook the old Nintendo to the mains, turn on the old fourteen inch display – with a pop, every time -  and, amidst the dust and darkness, settle down to best a high score set by a husband or son decades ago. With each passing afternoon she made her way through the pile, wondering often if – in a fit of nostalgia-fuelled excitement – they would ever come back to the console, pop in an old, fondly remembered favourite and come across the leader boards and find the high scorer to be the one – the only



~ by Joseph Blame on October 29, 2010.

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