Chapter 1 The fridge door
Marina looked at the fridge for a moment and then read out the list of words written on the fridge door:
washing up after a meal
This was her ‘top five’. It was a bit like the ‘top ten’ on the radio. You know, the best selling records of the week. The only difference was that her ‘top five’ was actually her ‘bottom five’. Let me explain. The thing that was top of her list was actually the thing she hated doing the most.
Sometimes it was very difficult to decide which one of the five she really hated the most. Then she might put two things in first place. Or three things. Sometimes she really wanted to put them all in first place. She hated all of them. She hated all kinds of housework. Full stop.
There were just two reasons why she did not put everything in first place. Reason one: the fridge door was not wide enough. Reason two: changing the ‘top five’ was one of the only things that she enjoyed doing in the kitchen. It gave her the time to make a cup of coffee and drink it slowly, and it gave her time to think. Sometimes she played a game with herself and moved the letters around to make other words, words describing more interesting activities, like:
move out of the village
go back to London
find a job and meet fun-loving people
The idea of the game was to use all the letters on the fridge to make new words. Once she used nearly all of them but then found that the letters she had left spelt out the words:
She put the letters back as they had been. She hated housework but she loved Tom. She did not want to leave him.
Tom and Marina had been married now for almost three years. The first two and a half years in London. Wonderful London. Fun London. Things-to-do and people-to-meet London. TOO-FAR-AWAY-LONDON!! They now lived in a small village called Felton, near Cambridge. They had lived here, in the middle of nowhere land, for ninety-two days and (looking at the clock) four hours, thirty-eight minutes.
She looked again at the fridge door. The letters had little magnets on the back so that when you put them on anything metal they stayed there. Marina thought about what other people did with them. Leave little messages for their husbands and wives, like: ‘Dear Bill, Your dinner is in the cooker, I am in the West Indies’ or ‘The cat ran away from home. I have decided to join him.’ When Tom had seen the list of words Marina had put on the fridge door he smiled and said:
‘So this is your “things to do” list. Good idea.’
And then he added:
‘There are two “u”s in “vacuum”.’