'Winning At Wembley' by Diane Tatlock
That's what started it. The lawn. It was in a terrible state. No clear edges, patches of daisies and dandelions. Even the moles had given up. It hadn't been cut for weeks.
'Can't you get away from watching that football for two minutes? Get out there and cut the grass?' Lucy felt like the wicked witch he was always accusing her of being.
'Gotta keep up with the action, haven't I? The boys'll be full of it when we get down the pub.' Wayne's eyes never left the screen.
'What about later, then?'
Wayne swung round. 'Look, Luce. I work all week. Need my downtime. Right?' He turned his back and resumed his shouting.
Lucy finished folding the washing. 'I work too, you know. You still expect meals on the table, clean shirts to wear, though, don't you?' She slammed the laundry basket down on the worktop.
'Oh, don't start. I don't need it.'
'Just go then. Get out. Find someone else stupid enough to put up with you.'
And that's what he'd done. Gone.
The grass still needed cutting though. Lucy hauled the mower out and tugged on the cord again and again, but nothing happened. She plumped down, head in hands and wept.
Sam waved as he walked past a couple of minutes later. 'Having trouble there, Lucy? Want some help?'
'You're a life saver, Sam.'
'Wayne not about then?'
'Gone. Football more important than me apparently.'
Sam showed her how to operate the machine. She decided she liked the hum of it; the rhythm of walking up and down; getting the perfect stripes. Better than Wayne's version of Wembley she laughed to herself.
Wayne sauntered up a week later with that stupid hangdog look of his, a wilting bunch of supermarket chrysanthemums in his hand. But it was Sam lying out in the garden in perfect alignment with Lucy.