Starting Again

Something I wrote a long time ago and I’m not entirely sure how much longer it will remain published where it currently resides so: This was first published in 2002
Starting Again

The man walked along the deserted beach, his hair being ruffled by the sea breeze. His dog running to and fro, chasing sea birds as they whirled overhead, teasing the animal and seeming to enjoy the game as much as the dog. The sky was getting darker and rain clouds made the horizon look very bleak, it would soon be time to return home to that lonely house. A house that had been lonely for a year or so now, in fact since his wife had left him. The reasons for her leaving still baffled him but she had left, taking items of furniture and ornaments that she felt she couldn’t live without. It didn’t seem to matter that he was attached to a few of those items too, almost everything of value had been taken.

His life since then had been pretty lonely, his dog staying ever faithful when it seemed the world around him just wanted to forget about him. The marriage had been childless, although they were still young and if they wanted, could find new partners. The marriage hadn’t lasted very long either, five years, but it had felt like a lifetime, and when the door had shut, he was on his own with only his dog for company.

His employers had understood to start with, and knew that he had needed time to readjust his life, finances, travel arrangements; the car had carried the ornaments that his wife had taken. Replacing the car had been easy, the local papers were full of second hand cars, but he needed something reliable, and the local garage dealer saw him inspecting a car and had arranged to get him a half decent one at a good a price. True to his word an excellent little car had turned up a week or so later, not one he would have chosen, and it didn’t have any of the comforts he had become accustomed to, but it made the trip to work and back without dramatic daily incident. All this had taken three months to achieve and now his bank balance was as precarious as his job prospects. His employers had begun to take a dim view of his unreliability and the bank had refused to extend his overdraft, so things were tight for the next six months.

He knew that he’d need to work a lot of extra hours to get back in with the bank and his employers, which would leave very little time for anything other than eating and sleeping, and the dog didn’t walk along the beach and the gulls found new dogs to play with, but eventually the bank statement that he had been waiting for dropped onto his doormat. His employers where again talking of a supervisory position, one that he could have had six months previously if he had shown a little more conviction at the time. Now things had sorted themselves out a little he wasn’t sure that he wanted the responsibility any more, once, a lifetime ago he would have accepted the position gladly, now he could earn enough to pay the bills comfortably, have a quiet beer in the bar when he fancied one, but most of all the dog had his playmates again.

His future looked bleak though, like the coming rainstorm he had no destination in life, he just wandered from day to day and wherever life wanted to go, he seemed to follow. Other than a birthday card, he had lost touch completely with his wife. There had been no return address on the envelope and the postmark was smudged, though it appeared to be posted in his wife’s birth town from what he could read of it. He had visited his parents a couple of times and all they could talk about was how sad it all was and would he ever be getting back together with her? What had he done to make her leave like that? All his answers seemed to wash over them or they just didn’t listen. He too would have liked answers to the same questions. He found it hard to talk to the women in his local bar even though they were making the moves; he had started to frequent different bars in an attempt to keep them at bay, until at least he was ready for a new friendship or relationship. He would bypass the bar tonight, he hadn’t thought that he would need a coat and he had left the house in quite light clothing, not the sort to be getting rained on even if it was summer.

He made it indoors just as the first drops of rain had began to fall, but the house offered no real sanctuary to the loneliness that had started to seep into his life. While at first, money had been an issue in his life, he had had something to think about, and take the hours from him, but now that the bank where happy with him again, money became another burden that began to pile up. He couldn’t let it happen though, if his wife asked for a divorce he knew that a lot of money in their remaining joint account would become a target for any solicitor, money under the bed wasn’t his style though, a new account in some back street building society would be a prudent move. He was sure that she would need her share of the house eventually, but he wanted to keep the house. He liked living so close to the dunes and the sea, a nest egg hidden away would be necessary to buy her half of the house, or at least refinance it. Life had found another purpose for him.

He put the kettle on and made sure the dog had some water to drink and a snack or two in its bowl. Then he settled down and watched the late news on TV while he drank his tea and then afterwards, went to bed.

‘Ah, who needs to worry while you’re around,’ he stated, and laughed as his dog snuggled up against him.
©2002 Trevor Litchfield
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