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Calder Rise

(off Avon Drive),

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New Year New Start by Rosemary Ostley

“I’m going to spend more time in the gym, try to keep the years at bay,” announced Avril.

 

“Good for you, you’ll enjoy that,” said Bill, picturing her all brawn and no brain personal trainer.

 

“And you?  Any chance you could get another job or do you enjoy being a kept man?”  Avril earned more than enough to support them both, but enjoyed a dig now and then.  She thought he’d locked away his not insubstantial redundancy payout somewhere, ‘for the future’, as he’d told her.  He was damned if she was going to fritter away what amounted to 30 odd years of slog with the Council.  

 

“I’m going to do a degree.”

 

Avril stared for a second or two then cackled “In what?”  

 

“Creative writing, I’ve always wanted to write.”

 

“Well, studying at home is better than just dossing about, I suppose.  Time will tell.”  

 

“Thanks for the encouragement,” Bill said, to his retreating wife’s back.

 

Next day Avril took herself off to celebrate Hogmanay with her sister in Scotland.  She never asked Bill to go with her on these jaunts and he was glad of the peace.  He ate a late breakfast then popped into town to the bank and the local internet café.  He did a couple of online jobs he didn’t want showing up on his own laptop, then cradled a latte as he reflected on his circumstances.  Avril had made it clear on the night of their wedding that she didn’t want children and intended to pursue her career in the media.  She was currently fronting a horribly blingy daytime TV show on an obscure channel, but he knew her sights were always on a higher prize.  Some time ago he’d realised he no longer cared what his wife wanted and was grateful for the push redundancy had given him to move in a different direction.  

 

Bill busied himself with this and that over the following days and on the eve of Avril’s return from Scotland, he booked a taxi for seven the next morning.  As the driver was helping him with his bags he confirmed “airport, innit guv?”  

 

“Yep,” smiled Bill, “Flight leaves at eleven.”  He would let Avril know where he’d gone eventually, but his course in Sydney didn’t start until February so he would have time to find a place to live first and see some sights.  As the taxi pulled away his mobile chirruped with a text from Avril: “Happy new year.  Am leaving early to catch the first plane.  Will text from the train for a lift home.”

 

Bill pinged back: “Hope the new year will indeed be happy.  Probably best if you get a taxi from the station.”