A Cushion Too Far

“Frank!”
I’m not talking to her. I am staying right here in my office, until she gets rid of one. Mm. This leather chair is comfy. A place to sit. It’s not like I have anywhere else to do that.
“Frank, you’re being ridiculous.”
Scatter cushions. What are scatter cushions? What is the point of scatter cushions? I hate them. I despise them. They take up the entire sofa! Or perhaps I’m missing something in my old age. Please do explain to this old fuddy-duddy what a sofa is used for? Because apparently it isn’t to sit on anymore. Not with all the scatter cushions in the way. Maggie came home today with four more of these oddly shaped bags stuffed with wool…or was it goose feather? Each one had a different pattern. They didn’t even match. Our sofa already has two cushions. And she’s just thrown money at another four. That makes six. She’s shoving me off the sofa to make way for cushions! This is what our marriage has come to.
“Frank Wiggal, come out of there. We are having a discussion.”
Her voice carries all the way from the kitchen through to the lounge and pierces straight through my office door, which is made of solid wood. How? Well, she’s Maggie, that’s how.
“Frank!”
“I am not discussing scatter cushions!”
“Frank, this is absurd.” Her voice draws nearer. She’s probably in the lounge, admiring the throne for her polyester-filled monarchy.
“Yes, they are absurd,” I retort.
“They help my back,” her voice turns small and desperate.
“They get in the way of mine.”
“But Frank…” She pushes open the door, her beautiful blue eyes wide and uncompromising. The sunlight from the window washes over her honey hair, and those laughter lines break down my defence.
“Okay.” I sigh. “Maggie, you can have your scatter cushions.”
“Oh, Frank, thank you.” She races over and drops a kiss on my cheek. “I knew you’d come round.”

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A Spot of Afternoon Tea

It’s going to be okay. Just breathe. Keep drinking your tea. You will be okay. They are only your in-laws. They are not rabid dogs. Yes. I’ll be fine. The house is a little warm though. I’ll just open the window and let some fresh air in. The sunlight streams through the window onto the dining table, which is set for three. Miriam, the snob. Derek, the leery. And me. I don’t know why Harry set this up. He had a last minute paint job in the village apparently. Yeah, right. He poked his head in, handed me a cream cake stand, and said, “the folks are dropping by, Mum loves cupcakes”, winked and drove off. I mean, talk about husband of the year. The cake stand is placed in the middle of the table, a perfect barrier between the in-laws and myself. The cupcakes are perched on the two tiers, lemon, sprinkled with rainbow sugar strands. They look like children have made them, but I don’t have time to try and emulate a Mary Berry recipe.
I slurp my tea, hearing Miriam’s thorny voice in my head, you sound like an unmannered lout. I place my tea down on the wood kitchen counter and check the quiche in the fridge, just incase a goat has climbed through the window and savaged it while my back was turned. Still there.
The clock ticks on the wall.
I pick up my tea, and just as I take another sip, the heavy knocker on the door thuds, and my hand jolts, spilling the tea down my shirt. No! It’s splashed all down my chest. Ah, great. The knocker bangs again. This is just great.
“Coming!” I grab a sheet of kitchen roll and dab myself, running to the door.
“My, my.” Derek’s eyes pop out at my stained lilac shirt.
“I had an accident.” I force a strained laugh. “You see…”
“Leaking nipple juice?” Derek chuckles, leaning in toward me.
“Derek, please,” Miriam cautions, her grey, fishy-coloured hair combed into a high bun. “Now, may we come in, or are we to dawdle out here all afternoon?”
“Yes, come in,” I say through gritted teeth.
We walk into the open kitchen-dining area in silence.
Miriam stares at the cupcakes, then at my wet shirt, and narrows her eyes.