“I’m glad that you aren’t in front of me at the checkout regularly,” she said, “You’d drive me mad if I was in a hurry.”
“Yes,” he said, “but I don’t want to get home with crushed cakes and broken eggs just to please other folks.”
“I can see that we’re going to start arguing again,” she said.
“You’ll have to go first then, next time.”
“Yes, she said, “and I’ll be halfway home before you’ve even paid for your stuff.”
The checkout assistant had been listening to them and was laughing fit to burst.
“I’m glad I’m not married,” she said.
“Who said anything about marriage?” Cathy said, and punched Steve’s arm. “Come on slow-coach.”
They packed their goods back into their shopping bags from their trollies, side by side.
“Nangy knickers!” he said.
“Control freak!” she answered back.
He put his arm around her, and they both burst out laughing as they left the store.
“So,” she said, as they loaded their shopping into the boot of Steve’s car, “You intend having me slave over a hot stove already for tomorrow?”
“Good heavens, no,” he protested, “I’m quite happy to do all the preparation, cooking and washing up. I’m used to doing it for myself anyway. I just thought that if we tried working in the kitchen together we’d be learning useful things about how we’d feel having someone else in the kitchen.”
“I was joking,” she told him, “It a really nice idea. I don’t know where anything goes in your kitchen, so you’ll have to bear with me as I learn. It will be the same for you at my house, because we’ll have to do it there as well.”
“So, you’re not fed up with having me under your feet yet? he asked.
“I might be after a day in your kitchen. I’m very proprietorial about my domain….I’m joking, “she said when she saw his face fall. “I’m looking forward to it, honestly. But you’ll have to stop taking me so seriously. I’m going to want to feel free to tease you now and then.”
“That’s fine by me,” he said, “but you questioned my use of lists before.”
“Yes,” she said, “but don’t take me seriously. I’m not trying to control you.”
“What I was wondering,” he said,” was do you think that we should each prepare for tomorrow a stab at listing the things such as Paul mentioned.”
“I’m glad you remembered that,” she said, “Yes that would be a good idea – not to tie us down but just to get us thinking.”
She hugged him and they parted, reluctantly until the following day.
Saturday 30th April Steve’s House
Cathy arrived just after ten o’clock. Steve had been rushing around his house the previous night, tidying, dusting, vacuum-cleaning, window-cleaning and generally trying to make his house ready for her visit. That morning, he had made sure that his breakfast dishes had been washed and put away and that the stainless-steel draining-board and sink had been wiped clean. Cups, saucers, spoons and a sugar bowl were ready on a tray in his living room. The kettle had been filled and teabags had been placed in a teapot. He was prepared as he could be.
As she entered, Cathy could smell the cleaning materials Steve had used.
“I’ll have to get you to clean round my house before you come next time,” she joked, “This place is spotless now, but I’m going to need to know how you are when no one is expected: how much of a slob you are without someone to impress. Just be yourself for me. Housework is just like shopping, best done as a team, like last night. We’ll soon find our way into a routine that suits us both.”
He helped her off with her coat.
“I could get used to that though,” she said, “having a gallant man in attendance.”
“Tea or coffee?” he asked, as he led her into his Living Room, “or have you brought your camomile tea bags? I didn’t see any in Aldi.”
The post opens with a smartphone photo taken inside a supermarket looking toward a checkout area such as that at which Steve and Cathy had bantered, amusing the checkout assistant.
For a featured photo I’ve taken a shot of an unimaginative mix-and-match tea-making set-up such as a man like Steve may have used.
EXIF: data were: 26 MP Fujifilm X-T4 cropped-sensor mirrorless camera with a Fujinon XF 10-24 mm f/4 lens. 1/34 secs @ f/4 and 24 mm: ISO was 1250.