David woke the next morning with a headache. He lay for several minutes trying to remember what had caused it, his head was fuzzy and his memory vague. Eventually he remembered the wine; three bottles of red, enough to give him this sort of headache. He reached beside him, Jacqueline had gone. He looked for the time, ten thirty; she had been up and gone for three hours. He didn’t know how she did it, whilst at university he had always worked in pubs whereas she had worked in shops, starting at seven or eight in the morning. She used to stay up all night and still manage to get up for work the next day.
He pulled himself out of bed and looked in the mirror, his eyes were bloodshot and his skin sallow. He breathed deeply and prepared to get dressed. He looked about the floor; his clothes from the previous night were strewn across it. He picked up his trousers and pulled them on, picking up his t shirt he looked at it, it seemed alright so he put it on.
Leaving the bedroom he went downstairs, once downstairs he sat on the sofa and wondered what to do. He switched the television, a chat show broadcast “I think my wife’s cheating with my brother”. He sat and watched it for a while, laughing at the incredulity of it.
His mind drifted, he began thinking of a pub he used to work in, and it had occupied a special place in Leith folklore. It had previously been owned by a woman of remarkable renown, during the forties and fifties she had been famous amongst the sailors who used to frequent Leith docks, earning herself a multitude of exotic gifts. She had two pistols that she kept behind the bar. It was said that at last orders she used to stand on top of the bar and fire a bullet each out of an open window.
His stomach churned, he got up and went to the kitchen switching the kettle on. Waiting for it to boil he considered what he might do that day, he might go into town, but he would probably stay in watch television and drink coffee. The kettle boiled, he poured himself a coffee and sat down at the table. He took a mouthful and then looked around for his cigarettes, they weren’t there. He went through to the living room and found them sitting on the coffee table, sitting down at the table he lit one and breathed deeply on it. Reaching over he switched the radio on, it was the news, traffic jams down south and a robbery in Inverness but nothing much locally.
Jacqueline got in from work at five; she hung up her coat and went into the living room to find David sitting on the sofa watching television.
“Any luck finding jobs today?”
“Do anything nice today?”
She sat down beside him and pretended to watch the mundane television program he was watching for a few minutes before saying.
“Can I not have a cup of tea?”
“There’s only coffee”
He got up and went to the kitchen. He switched the kettle on, and waited for it to boil. His head still hurt, coupled with that his stomach felt like it was doing back flips. He hadn’t eaten anything all day; the thought of eating had turned him. Instead he had drunk coffee and smoked all day, now his mouth tasted like an ashtray and his stomach felt like an empty pit.
He handed Jacqueline her cup of coffee.
“I’m going to start dinner” He said, she had switched the television over and was now laughing at the new program.
In the kitchen he switched the radio on, country music filled the room. He looked in the cupboards, past the salt, pepper, ketchup, flour; he found a jar of curry sauce and a packet of rice. In the fridge he found some cooked chicken and he took it out along with three onions a pepper and a courgette. He put the rice on and set about chopping up the vegetable, wiping his eyes as he came to the onions, only to make it worse as he wiped neat onion juice into his left eye. He threw the vegetables into some hot oil in the frying pan and stood back.
He washed his hands and splashed water into his eye. A few minutes later Jacqueline came into the kitchen.
“What’s for tea?”
“Curry” He added the chopped chicken, curry sauce and some water to the frying pan, leaving it to simmer.
“That girl I was telling you about.”
“Leanne’s niece” She said. “Well she’s getting suspended along with her friend, although nothing seems to be happening to the ones who gave her the pills.”
“They won’t say who it was, still two weeks each”
“Hmm” He huffed, his head throbbed.
“What’s wrong with you?” She said, not meaning to sound so accusing.
“Well there obviously is.”
“I’ve got a headache.” He snapped back.
“Really” she retorted “Well I’ve got a headache too except I’ve been at work all day”
“Oh is that how it is?”
“How what is?”
“My heads worse than yours” he said mimicking her voice “Because I’ve got a job.”
“Och you know I didn’t mean it like that.” She said half heartedly not really wanting to appease him.
“Well” He huffed “This’ll be ready soon, I’m off upstairs!” He made as much noise as he could storming out of the kitchen slamming both doors on the the way to the hall, up the stairs and to the bedroom.
That night in bed he felt bad for snapping at Jacqueline. Earlier on he had gone downstairs to make himself coffee, he had planned on apologising but she had turned her face away from him as he entered the room. He hadn’t bothered.
He heard the door open, Jacqueline came in without a word. She undressed and climbed into bed lying flat on her back. He was facing away from her. He waited until he heard her breathing shallow before turning round. He considered putting an arm around her but retracted at the last minute.