It was Friday. Donald looked out of his office window and sighed. He could see a wild goose sitting on the grass by the building opposite. "Not many of those 'round here," he thought to himself.
He continued to watch as the goose slowly flapped its wings and took off. Donald considered it curious how a bird so ungainly on the ground, with its undignified waddle and comical honk, could be so transformed when it rose into the air. The long neck stretched out in front of it and the spread wings now showed their grace and power, thrusting the heavy bird up through the atmosphere and away. The honk, once comical was now a cry of unbounded joy. It was a shout of freedom and Donald really envied it.
His eyes lowered back to his desk and he continued working through the contract, making notes and using a hi-lighter to mark important passages. Eventually it was five 'o'clock and he started to clear his desk.
Suddenly his boss, Mr. Jamison, walked into the room making Donald jump slightly, "Have you finished with the El-Com contract yet?"
"Actually no, Mr. Jamison. I was going to finish it off on Monday."
"Sorry, no can do, old son. The timetable's been brought forward, I'm afraid. You are going to have to put extra hours in on this one. I'll need it on my desk first thing Monday morning. It'll have to be a late night, or over the weekend, but I need it on my desk by the deadline without fail. Look, I really am sorry old china, but sometimes we all have to make sacrifices," he glanced at his watch and continued, "Lordy, is that the time? Must dash, I have guests tonight."
The last sentence was thrown at Donald over a rapidly retreating shoulder. Donald was unsurprised at this turn of events as it happened quite often. He sighed again and sat back down to work.
It was about eight thirty in the evening when he finally got home. Donald stood outside his house and looked at it. He could make out the flicker light from the television as it danced on the living room wall. Janice would be sat there, he thought to himself, glued to the television set watching all the soaps that she was so addicted to.
Donald entered his house and walked into the living room. His wife sat on the sofa with her legs tucked underneath her. There was a half finished box of chocolates and a glass of red wine on the low table next to her. "I'm home darling," he said and kissed her on the cheek.
Janice's eyes never left the television as she answered distantly, "Hello dear, your dinner's in the oven."
He looked at Janice as she selected another chocolate and popped it into her mouth. He had an idea, "Darling, why don't we go away for the weekend? We could go to the coast like we used to." She half turned to him and asked, "Sorry dear, what did you say?"
"I said why don't we go away this weekend? I feel the need to blow away some cobwebs and the seaside air might be just what we need."
Janice's attention went back to the television and she answered distractedly, "Donald, we can't. Not this weekend. I promised Lydia that we would help with the Fete. You know she depends on us."
"Oh, right. Sorry, I forgot." Donald retreated to the kitchen and removed his now dried up dinner from the oven. Dejected, he sat at the table and began to eat. He felt trapped. The call of the wild goose had reminded him of the freedom he and Janice had shared. The carefree way they had just ... just ... done things. They would go away to remote parts of the coast or the countryside and walk and talk.
Or not talk and just enjoy their surroundings. On occasion they had thrown caution to the wind and made love amongst the sand dunes, revelling in the danger of being caught. But married life had crowded in on them, stifling them. Obligations needed to be met, people relied on them. The Mr. Jamisons and the Lydias of the world felt no compunction about monopolising their time. Taking huge pieces out of their lives until they had none left for each other, and he hated it. He loved his wife, but they were growing apart. He had to do something. He had to recapture his life from the leeches that took everything and still wanted more.
When he was finished, he returned to the sitting room, where Janice had not moved from her place on the sofa. Donald sat down next to her and put his arm around her shoulders. He put his hand to her chin and turned her face towards his own. Donald kissed his wife. She was a touch surprised by his action and said, "What was that for?"
"Because I love you."
"That's nice, dear."
He moved forward to kiss her again but she had already turned back to the television. He tried to move her head back again, but she shook his hand away and snapped, "Donald, please. I want to watch this."
He sat back, stung, "I sometimes think you love the telly more than me."
"Oh, nothing. I'm going to bed."
As he left the room and headed up the stairs, he had looked back over his shoulder. Janice murmured, "Night night, dear. I'll be up when this has finished," but her attention remained on the television. When she finally slipped into their bed, Donald was already asleep.
The next morning when Donald woke up, the bed next to him was empty. He got up and, after a quick wash and shave, joined his wife in the kitchen where she was washing up.
He snuck up behind her and wrapped his arms around her waist; Donald kissed her cheek, "Good morning, Beautiful." Janice was surprised, this wasn't like her husband. "Morning, dear," she answered, "I'll get your breakfast when I've done the washing up."
"Oh, forget breakfast, I have a better idea," he slid his hands up her torso, cupped her breasts with his hands and kissed her cheek more firmly.
"Donald! What are you doing?"
"Just remembered how much I fancy you, Janice. Why don't we tell Lydia that something's come up and we can't help her today?" He began to massage her more firmly, tweaking her nipples with his finger and thumbs and traced a line along her earlobe with his tongue.
Janice moved her head sharply away from him and snapped, "Don't be silly Darling, we can't let her down. You know she's depending on us." She grabbed his hands and flung them away, "What's got into you? Why are you doing this?"
Deflated, he moved away, "Sorry dear, I just thought it might be fun."
She turned to look at her husband and her expression softened, "Donald. Don't you think we're a little old for this sort of silliness?" Donald was suddenly angry, "What's so silly about a man wanting to make love with his wife?"
The doorbell rang and Janice said, "Oh! That must be Lydia, she's early. Look can we talk about this later?" She checked her hair in the mirror as she passed and then hurried to let her friend in.
Very soon they were deep in conversation in the sitting room, talking about cake stalls, the white elephant, hoopla, toilets, health and safety and all the other assorted trivia involved in the smooth running of the Summer Fete. Donald wandered in and sat down. He was almost exclusively ignored, except when Janice asked him to make a pot of tea.
It was almost lunchtime when Lydia left and Donald decided to try again. He took his wife's hand, "Let's forget cooking today. Let's just drive in the country; we could stop at a pub for lunch. Maybe go for a walk this afternoon, just you and me."
Janice looked up from where she was poring over the lists and plans that she and Lydia had worked out, "I'm sorry Donald. I'll be too busy this afternoon. I still have a lot to do for the Fete."
"Well what about tomorrow then? We could go to the coast for the day. Hey, do you remember that day at Eastbourne? We had fun. Especially in the sand dunes."
"Donald, you know I always help out with the coffee morning at the Vicarage after church."
Defeated, Donald stormed out to the garden. He looked around and decided to do some weeding. Not that the garden needed it, but working in his garden always seemed to calm him down. Thirty-five years old, married to a stranger and trapped in a job he hated.
A loud honk from above startled him. He looked up and watched as a wild goose floated in the air high above, turned lazy circles in the sky and cried out again before wheeling off into the distance. Donald knew the goose was mocking him, mocking his clipped wings.
Janice called him in from the garden at six o'clock for his dinner. He walked in the kitchen and sat down. As they ate, Donald broke their usual silence and asked, "Why don't we go out tonight? We could go dancing, we haven't been out in ages. It would be quite romantic don't you think?"
"Oh Donald, I always do the lottery on Saturday nights. Look, what's got into you today? You're beginning to make me nervous."
"I just feel like we should spend more time together, we never do anything together any more. We barely even speak."
The plans for the Fete still commanded Janice's attention, even while she ate. She was preoccupied and not altogether listening, "Don't be silly dear, of course we do. We do lots of things together."
"Like what?" he said quite sharply.
She looked up, "Sorry dear?"
He sagged and shook his head, "Nothing."
Later that night, Donald was in bed reading a book when Janice came into the room, as usual once her programs had finished. She was already in her nightie and carried two mugs of steaming cocoa. Janice set one down on each of their bedside tables and climbed into bed next to her husband. Donald felt her rummaging around next to him as she removed her knickers and then waited, "Well?" she asked.
"I thought you wanted sex tonight."
.... There is more of this story ...