“Well,” said Ferdinand, “a toast to my dear wife on her seventieth birthday. She has always faithfully stood by my side. When I went into politics nearly forty years ago she bore the brunt of raising a large family on her own. Such were the calls of politics.”
“We were indeed saved by the fabulous commission we received when she published her first collection of poetry. Normally poetry books don’t sell particularly well, but in this case I was able to buy a largish property in Mount Hollydell and a yacht.”
“These days we are both retired and lead quiet and peaceful lives. To be honest, I can’t remember when we last argued. Rowena has always been compliant, considerate, and the epitome of what a spouse should be.”
“A toast therefore to Rowena on her seventieth birthday.”
Ferdinand raised his glass, finishing off in one glug half of the glass’s contents.
“Yuk!” said Ferdinand. “This wine tastes awful.”
Rowena smiled coyly. This, over the years, was her sixteenth and final attempt.
Arnold had no idea when he got out of bed that he’d be electrocuted by the toaster that very morning.
His early mornings always followed the same pattern: rise at twenty minutes passed six, fill the kettle with water and place it on an element on the stove top (it wasn’t one of those automatic turn-off kettles; it was an old-fashioned kettle that whistled when it was time to take it off the heat source), put four slices of bread in the toaster, and pour a little bit of milk into one of the two cups.
Arnold’s wife, Janet, always stayed in bed until a few minutes after the kettle whistled. She would leave just enough time for the tea to draw and the toast to toast. Arnold, for forty-eight years, had always called out the same questions from the kitchen to the bedroom:
“How many slices of toast do you want, dear?”
“Two as usual, thanks dear.”
“What do you want on the toast, dear?”
“Honey as usual, dear.”
Janet snuggled up in the warm bed for the few remaining minutes. She would stay there for a little longer than usual.
The thing was, Johnny had spent days, weeks even, adjusting his toaster settings to perfection so that his toaster would pop out the toast at the exact moment of impeccable toasting time and then Taylor moved in and she changed the knob setting on the toaster because she didn’t like her toast as brown as Johnny did and that was a mistake so he changed it back and Taylor changed it back again.
That was before the divorce. It’s hard enough being a film star without all this extra stress.