The Space Race

Entry by: Olivia

22nd January 2016
The Space Race

There wasn’t always even the space available. Her head was so full, ideas constantly buzzed through, each one battling for supremacy over the other. Sometimes they were half formed ideas, just little snippets that later dropped right off. They probably weren’t important anyway. Some hung around taunting her like dreams that clung in the morning.

She often sifted through the big ones, checking that she still agreed with what she thought. Checking why she couldn’t stand her mother and why she was scared of her father. These were well worn ideas and although they took up much space, they were fairly static, not really racing along at all.

The ones which really sped by were the daily worries, which, quite frankly, made her heart race and not in a good way. The panic over money, the deep anxiety over her youngest son and his seeming inability to obey even the simplest of commands. But the thought that raced the most, the one that fought hardest for space was her circular worry about her marriage. What was the plan? How would she ever decide? The ideas clashed and banged around, she could find no flow, no solution, there were no tidy ends or neat endings. Just thoughts.

She could argue herself into leaving just as easily as she could persuade herself to stay. He knew nothing of her turmoil.

He simply carried on. There were no races in his life and no spaces either. His alarm went at the same time everyday, he snoozed once, for 5 minutes and got up. He stretched, he yawned and he put on his slippers, pulling down his pyjama jacket and retying the pyjama trouser cord. She always made a big effort to be asleep, aiming to lessen the awareness of the rigorous routine. She swore that if he got disturbed part way through he would simply have to go back to bed and start all over again.

She knew the routine exactly; he had done the same things in the same sequence everyday for years. At the weekends he allowed himself an extra hour in bed, but the waking routine was the same. Same breakfast, same newspaper, crossword always finished, lunch always taken (‘no need to waste money buying sandwiches’). Modern car, replaced every three years. No need to have anything flash. Same train, she was sure he got the same seat; he even knew where to stand on the platform to ensure the carriage doors were just in front of him. And so the days and the weeks and the years went on. Sex was a Friday night treat, unspoken, no need to discuss, never any change. ‘No need, does the job’, one of his favourite sayings.

She greatly feared that one day she might scream with a combination of boredom and revulsion. She feared that he had no stray thoughts wandering around his head. She figured that his thoughts were as marshaled and controlled as every other pat of his life.

She daydreamed about leaving him, free then from the dreadful restriction of order, punctuality and stifled creativity. But never in her most free flowing ‘spacey’ dreaming did she expect to hear him speak to her in such a way.

‘Lisa, you need to know I’m leaving. Its all arranged as you would expect of me. I’ve picked up the keys and I have the day off tomorrow and will pack then. I will be gone by the time you get in. I know you find me boring but I find you impossibly muddled and totally untidy. I simply cannot manage the mess any more’.

Clearly the race for space had been won. The void opened in front of her and she felt herself falling. For the first time he wasn’t there to catch her and she missed his solid presence.