Fiction, Health and wellbeing, Melbourne, Relationship and marriage, Writing

The Tax Return

‘Hettie, I just received my tax refund!’

I’d just checked my bank account via the app on my phone. I expected to find it abysmally low on available funds. Like $20, maybe $35. I was jubilant to see that my refund had been deposited overnight. We had enough to pay the month’s rent and stock the fridge and pantry.

‘Great, but it won’t tide us over for long.’

Hettie. Ever the optimist.

‘Hett, c’mon,’ I say. ‘Let’s celebrate. Just for a bit.’ It’s been really stressful. Hettie lost her job at the first lockdown, back in April. I lost mine three weeks ago. Each day we’ve been scouring all the job sites on the internet, but so far, we’ve had no joy. Not even the promise of a Zoom interview. Hettie’s going to some dark places and I’m worried. A little celebration is just what we need to help us feel better. Temporarily, of course.

‘What can we do, though Frank?’ Hettie’s hands are on her hips. She’s frowning. She’s always frowning lately. ‘We’re trapped in our homes.’

‘But it’s not bad being here with me is it? We’re safe, ensconced here together? Right?’

‘Right, yeah.’ Hettie nods. She takes a step closer to me. I watch as she draws nearer, the frown disappears, replaced with a gentle smile. ‘Of course. You’re right. As usual, I’m looking at the glass being half empty.’

‘So, let’s order in takeaway tonight, then. Not fancy, not expensive. But we’ll have it by candlelight at the table. Sound good?’

‘Yeah. That sounds great.’ She wraps her arms around me and I’m reminded again that I’m a lucky man.

Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

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