Two men, two wives, six daughters and…

Two men, two wives, six daughters between them.   So in their conversation, a liberal  sprinkling of domestic chit-chat –  the kind you’d also  imagine women having over a cuppa. Except  that these were two  old blokes  who’d notched up a  century of marriage between them.

And blokes  talk about sport, who should have won the one day cricket final at Lords,  politics –  and of course the good old days. There’s a pause between  all this chaff and then this:

“I suppose you must’ve been married for as long as we have then?” Ken  asked.

“Bloody years mate” said Dave.

A chuckle, a  sudden chill.

“Dunno what I’d do if she died” said Ken shaking his head. “I mean I can do toast and eggs and stuff but..”

Dave listened, stunned by his  confession of frailty. He knew it had  little to do  with cooking, and everything  to do  with  a future they faced if their wives died before them.

“I’d be lost too”  he eventually confided to Ken. “Just empty. Can’t  give my girls what she does”.

“Empty… yeah. That’s the word eh?” Ken said.

“But hold on Ken – we’re getting ahead of ourselves aren’t we?   They’re not  dead.”

“ Yeah/nah… I was just saying” said Ken.

“Me too.”

“We’d go first anyway” said Ken.

“Course…  anyway, whaddya  reckon about  the  ABs this year?”

“We’ve got our  boys  back again Dave”.

“Wonder if Wallabies have tails?”

“Dunno” said Ken.

“Me neither, but I reckon they hopped on that plane  home real fast eh?”

And there they were again – back  in the safety of Blokedom. They left their favourite  cafe nattering  about  League’s rotten refereeing decisions; unseeing cricket umpires. They  chatted about  the bloody awful weather outside.  And as they  did, they happily  dispatched the thought of losing their wives,  to  the Siberia of their minds….

  • (Names have been changed to  protect their… um… masculinity).
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Paul Smith

Paul is a veteran journalist, non-fiction author and writing mentor. He has also served on boards ranging from TVNZ to UNESCO.