The Relationship is the fifth story in the saga of Amy's struggle with life since her husband lost his job. In this short story Amy looks at her relationship with her husband Tim and how Tim's redundancy has affected their marriage.

The Relationship (No 5)

Amy cleared the table of breakfast clutter and once again found herself sighing. Sighing had became a big part of her life these days. She had returned from walking the children to school and had hoped for once she would come into a cleared table and washed dishes. She knew it was not Tim’s fault that he had been unable to find a job and acknowledged his efforts in seeking work but when he was not doing this he sat in his armchair staring at the television. “Why can’t you help me with the chores?” she got tired of hearing herself say. Tim would look at her with a blank expression mumble he was going to the library to look on the computer for any possible vacancies and disappear out the door. Amy was increasingly concerned that their marriage was in crisis. They no longer sat over a glass of wine when the children were in bed having long chats about their day. She could not remember the last time they had laughed together or indeed spent anytime together. Maybe when her friend Sarah and her husband Steven moved back into the area in two weeks time things would improve. The four of them had been very close friends since school days they could do things together again. But those “things” would not have to cost money she thought as Sarah and Steven were in the same situation as Tim and her - unemployed.

Amy sighed again and got on with her household chores. Amy had hung the last of the washing on the line and put the kettle on when she heard Tim’s key in the door. To her surprise he came rushing into the kitchen calling her name. “Would you like a cup of tea and a sandwich?” Amy asked him she had give up asking him about jobs every time he came through the door. “I met this bloke in the library” Tim was saying. Amy looked at Tim’s face and saw something she had not seen for a long time. He was smiling and had that excited kind of look he got when planning something. “What bloke” she answered as she poured boiling water into the teapot. Tim sat at the kitchen table saying “well I was on the computer trawling through the jobsites when this bloke looked over my shoulder and said “no luck mate”. “I said no as usual nothing”. “He sat down on the chair next to me and said “how long has it been” and I told him almost two years now”. “Getting you down mate is it” the bloke said”. “Then he started to tell me that he had felt the same and that his life was going from bad to worse as he felt useless and bored until someone suggested that he do volunteer work”. Tim went on in a way Amy had not heard him do for a longtime “What do work for free I said to him like those schemes the jobcentre send you on”. “The bloke said “Yes I know I felt the same until in desperation to save my sanity and my marriage I thought what have I to loose and you know what I lost nothing but gained loads”. “So I asked him” said Tim “what volunteering do you do?”. “He said “I volunteer with a charity who works with young people with drug and alcohol issues. I organize five a side football, community work such as tidying up parks, art classes which keeps my hand in as I was a graphic designer when I worked - what sort of work were you in?” Tim went on hardly stopping for breadth “ I told him construction I am a qualified joiner”. “The bloke said great we are looking for someone to start woodwork groups why don’t you give it a go?” “The charity pays your expenses, it won’t affect your benefit, you will meet people and the biggest kick I get is seeing those youngsters’ faces when they achieve and some of them move on and come back telling us we changed their lives”. “What do you think about me volunteering Amy?” Tim ended his tale.

Amy put two mugs of tea on the table sitting down next to Tim. “Well” she said “I don’t suppose it will do any harm and it will give you something to do” “Oh and I forgot” Tim went on “the bloke said the charity will pay for any courses you do he said I would probably need to do a course so that I am qualified to take courses”. “Well that’s good isn’t it” said Amy hesitantly. “I think it can’t hurt to gain more qualifications can it” answered Tim “so I arranged to meet Jim, that’s what they call him, tomorrow at the library and he is going to take me along to the centre”.

“How is Tim getting along with his volunteering dear?” Mrs Brown said to Amy as she put on the kettle for their usual get together. “It’s only a week ago since he first went to the centre but already I can see the old Tim returning” Amy answered as she slipped her coat off. Mrs Brown took two cups and saucers from the wall cupboard and placing them on the table she said to Amy “I am sure only good things will come from this I feel it in my bones”. “Oh I do hope so” Amy said “they have booked Tim on a course to enable him to take classes in woodwork so he will be a qualified tutor when he completes it”. “Yes good things” repeated Mrs Brown. “He certainly is more like the old Tim we have even started to have our chats again when the children have gone to bed because we have something to talk about” Amy said almost to herself. “And your friends arrive any day now so that will be nice” Mrs Brown said pouring tea into the waiting cups. “Yes things do seem to be getting a bit better don’t they” said Amy with a smile.

to be continued ...

Copyright Margmax 2011

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