They had awaited his retirement for some time. And now the time had come. They had decided to go on an extended holiday, but couldn’t decide whether they should go overseas, or join the grey nomads travelling around Australia. They had decided to by a mobile home a couple of years ago to see if they liked it, and had gone on trips with friends.
Today was the day that that would start out on their Australian odyssey to circumnavigate the continent, and they were both looking forward to the trip with great anticipation. They had said goodbye to their kids and grandkids, with tearful farewells.
Ken soon realised that this was not going to be quite the trip it was supposed to be. Kate had taken to drinking a little too much red wine at night – just to help her sleep, you know – to the extent where she snored loudly, tossing and turning all night, so Ken got little sleep at all.
Kate insisted on visiting every shopping mall in every town they stopped in, just to see what specials might be available. But not just one supermarket, no, she would visit all the major supermarkets and then most of the specialty shops too!
Then it was the craft shops, she spent hours in them all, coming out with this or that item to brighten up the motor home, which by now was looking cluttered from all the bric-a-brac.
Television at night was one soapie after another, how he missed his usual shows on the ABC and SBS. He missed the back room of his house, where he could go and watch the second TV. No back room here.
Kate had taken to eating far too much morning and afternoon tea, too many cakes and chocolates (they were on holiday, don’t you know) to the point where she was having stomach upsets associated with reflux, burping and gas.
The long suffering Ken said little to his good wife, but continued to become more and more stressed as the trip continued.
Then there was the incessant crocheting. The clickety-clack of the needles while he was driving was almost too much to bear. He asked her to stop, but she reminded him that she was making baby clothes for “his” grandchildren. It was driving him mad!
Let’s not forget the singing. She had the motor-home radio on far too loud, singing loudly and out of key. Even the whine of the wheels on the road sounded better! When they were out of range of the radio stations, she put “her” favourite CDs in the player and the singing continued unabated, as did his headaches.
Every time something didn’t go quite right, it was “his” fault, but when it went right she took credit for it. But hadn’t it been that way all his married life? Sun came up in the morning, it was his fault. He couldn’t escape from her, could he?
She said, “Wouldn’t it be nice to take the coast road, instead to the main highway”, “Of course”, he replied. What other answer was there? After all it wasn’t really a request, was it?
“Oh, this is so peaceful and scenic”, she purred as she leaned forward to look down over the cliff. “And isolated too”, he replied as he pushed her.
Ken drove away smiling in his new found solitude, swearing to sell this goddamned motor home and go on a real holiday. His holiday! Europe, the UK and the States!
That night he sent a text message to his children. “Your mother and I are having a wonderful time, great trip, won’t be back for some time”