H – That was a good day, all things considered.
W – Oh, I’m full. Just got this glass. (Holds up glass of chardonnay).
H – Your mum seemed to enjoy herself.
W – Oh yes, she knocked her lunch back.
H – Well you are a good cook.
W – Thank you darling husband.
H – It’s true. I’m not a patch on you. That turkey just looked so delicious on the plate.
W – Not like your bangers on the barbeque. (They laugh).
H – I do what I can. You’re streets ahead of me.
W – Well, it’s been my pleasure all these years. (Takes a sip). What are you drinking?
H – The scotch you gave me last Christmas. The Macallan 18 years. I’ll start the one you gave me this year around the end of January I reckon.
W – Hold on, I’ve got something to show you.
(She gets out of her chair and disappears from sight. He sips his whisky while he waits. She returns, holding up a knitted cardigan).
W – Look at this. Sally made it for me.
H – Squash club Sally?
W – No, book group Sally.
H – Isn’t she the one having the affair?
W – That’s the one.
H – Is it still going?
W – I don’t ask. There’s enough going on in the world already without adding to it.
(Holds up the cardigan)
W – Do you like it?
(Pauses for a moment)
H – Depends what else you’re wearing.
W – Dirty old bugger.
H – No, I wasn’t this time. I’d like to see what it goes with.
W – Seriously?
H – Mmhmm.
W – Since when have you become a fashionado?
H – Since I married you, darling. (Sips his whisky. Looks out the window. Says:)
H – Christmas marks the years.
W – So much happens, it’s good to mark the end and start.
H – Been a bit of a strange one though, hey.
W – Did you get any news from the kids?
H – They seem fine. Iain’s new girl is nice.
W – Yes, the three of us had a chat. Hopefully this one will stick.
H – Louise is starting to show.
W – I know, it’s exciting.
H – When is she due?
W – May I think.
H – Our first grandchild. Can you imagine?
W – What are they, your feet?
H – Oh sorry sweetheart, I was getting a bit relaxed. (Lifts feet off coffee table) That better?
W – Much.
H – What do the kids say? Soz is it?
W – Soz.
H – You old soz. Is that chardonnay?
W – Yep. We might get a full family gathering.
H – When?
W – When the baby comes.
H – That’d be good.
W – Been a while since we were all together.
H – Hang on, I’m going to get a bit more Christmas pud. (He leaves for the kitchen).
(Returns with pudding in bowl with ice cream).
H – I’m back.
W – So I see. Is that ice cream?
H – Custard’s gone stodgy.
W – Cholesterol, darling.
H – It’s Christmas.
W – Feet.
(Puts feet down again).
H – Oops. Sozzly.
(He eats a spoonful of pudding.)
W – What are your plans tonight?
H – Dunno. Probably watch Die Hard.
W – It’s Christmas.
H – Exactly. You?
W – An old school friend is coming over. Caroline.
H – Nursing home Caroline?
W – Old school friend Caroline. She moved up here twenty years ago. Coming over for a catch up.
(She sips her chardonnay. He scrapes his bowl).
H – Speaking of health, how’s your mother doing?
W – Same same. Doctor says chemo’s not had much effect.
H – Ah. Sorry to hear that. Hugs.
W – Could be months, could be days.
H – She’s a tough old bird.
W – With a healthy appetite for Christmas lunch.
(She leans in as close as she can).
H – Hang on, can’t hear you. I think you muted yourself.
(She pulls back)
W – That better?
H – Much.
W – I was just saying the doctor thinks it’s probably pretty soon. More than fifty percent anyway.
H – Oh sweetheart.
W – Yeah, well, she’s ninety-one next year.
H – On the plus side, I’ll get my wife back.
W – ‘S been a weird old time. Tough.
H – I’ve missed you.
W – Men always miss their wives.
H – You haven’t missed me?
W – Course I have, you big lug.
(They sip their drinks in silence. A doorbell sounds).
W – That’ll be Caroline. Hold on.
(She disappears. She returns, but is standing. A second woman looks at him side on. Bright eyed, brown hair hanging down at right angles to her face.)
W – This is Caroline. You remember Caroline?
H – Hi Caroline.
W – That’s my husband with the feet.
H – Oops, sorry. It’s Christmas.
(Removes feet from the coffee table).
W – Okay, hon. I’m going to leave now.
H – Okay. Have fun.
W – Love you.
H – Love you too.
(Presses ‘Leave’. Closes laptop. Stares out the window for a moment. Goes to the kitchen and puts the bowl in the sink. Refills his whisky glass. Returns to the living room. Picks up remote. Puts feet on coffee table).
H – Die Hard, who’s streaming that? Not a Christmas movie. Tosh.