Waiting for Gary

by Jenny

Gary thought about changing the channel, but Claire had thoughtlessly left it on the other chair when she had gone to the shop and it was just too much effort. David Dickenson was evaluating a dusty French horn with a couple of middle-aged lesbians. Gary would rather be watching Doctors with the hot woman doctor, but this would do for now. Better than bloody Cash in the Attic anyway. He’d put on Doctors when Claire got back.

He hoped she wasn’t going to be too much longer. He really fancied a cup of tea and he hoped that she would remember to pick up the biscuits he’d asked for. Maybe he’d ask her to put them on a plate for him so he didn’t have to fish them out of the packet whenever he wanted one. He hated that crackly rustling the plastic packaging made.

Dickenson had moved on now. He was peering up what looked like a cowbell with a windmill etched onto it with a father and daughter who rejected it in favour of some kind of stuffed vermin being chased by a preserved serpent, the pair trapped inside a glass case, hunter and hunted until the end of time.

Gary thought he’d quite like to go on one of these antiques programmes with his daughter, if he’d had a daughter, which he hadn’t. He pictured himself leaning in to examine some dusty artefact with a young woman who gazed admiringly at him, awed by his flawless instinct and natural aptitude for picking out the nuggets of gold in a sea of antique tat. He would be the knowledgeable hero guiding her through the world.

But he didn’t have a daughter. He and Claire had never gotten around to having kids, though she’d brought it up once or twice, he remembered. Gary had never really given it much thought, but now, in this new context he could see the benefits. Perhaps it wasn’t too late. Claire was getting on a bit, but she wasn’t old or anything. He’d suggest it to her when she got back. She’d like that.

Gary looked at his watch. There wasn’t long left of the Dickenson programme. The lesbians were looking set to win, which upset Gary, as he’d been rooting for the father daughter pair, but their taxidermy gamble hadn’t paid off after all. He hoped Claire would be back soon. The shop wasn’t far. Gary thought that Eggheads was on next. He didn’t mind that and he could sit through it for a bit. Then he and Claire would have that cup of tea and a biscuit.

The theme tune for Eggheads played and he smiled at that. He thought about switching the lamp on, but he’d have had to get up for that and he didn’t want to miss the answer to the next question.

So Gary sat, alone in the darkening room, peering out into the street, watching for Claire. She’d be back any minute and then she’d make him his tea, they’d sit together on the sofa and he’d tell her that he’d like a baby. Then their real life would start.

Well, maybe after the end of Doctors