Short story: Ed’s New Year Resolution

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As Ed waited to drive his wife Sharon to work he said to himself, but for her to hear: “It’s that time of year again when we all make those New Year resolutions.”

Her non-committal grunt didn’t deter him.

“No more fags for me,” he said as he tried to impress her who, after 15 years of marriage, had heard it all before.

“And drinking’s out. Oh well, maybe the odd pint on Fridays after the office closes,” he added as memories of past failures came to mind.

“While you’re on the subject of work, Ed, cut out those calorie-busting office lunches – they’re killing you.”

“You’re right and I must save more and get out of debt. Those credit cards can go for a start. While we’re at it we’ve got to be firm when shopping in Tesco – their club card points may seem good but don’t buy all those extras,” muttered Ed as he neared Sharon’s workplace.

“Now what else is there I can make a New Year resolution about?”

“How about the house Ed? It’s beginning to look crabby.”

“Oh yeah, and while I’m painting and decorating it’s going to be keeping me off fags and booze. And while I’m off fags and booze I must exercise more and read more,” said Ed to a departing Sharon who was already on a totally different wavelength.

One week on... The library book on Aerobics for Lazy Men remained unopened on the hall table. As he made a half-hearted attempt to thumb through the pages, Ed replaced the tome saying: “Hell, I need a fag. Thank God I saved one from last year for emergencies. I’m going for a very short stroll, Sharon,” he shouted heading for the door.

Once outside his past habits soon caught up with him as he said to himself: “While I’m out why don’t I head for the local offi and buy another packet? Come to think of it I’ve been good for a week so maybe just one bottle of wine. Can’t do any harm, can it?”

Two weeks on... Ed was really suffering from his New Year’s resolution as he found himself saying: “Sorry guys, haven’t got time for lunch. Wot you mean I’ll be missing something? Oh Jack’s farewell party. Well only for a few moments then.”

The few moments were fatal.

“Hey, it’s great in here since they’ve done it up. Thanks Joe,” smiled Ed as he was invited to place his drinks order, “I’ll have a large whisky and soda, now where’s the menu? I’ll have to soak it up. Cod and chips’ll do for now – and make it a double portion of fries, will you? You say the party’s continuing tonight. Well I wasn’t going to but – oh what the heck, of course I’ll be there after work - Jack’s a special occasion.”

It was Ed’s last train, which he nearly missed, but on waking up the next morning he had the indignities of a sore head, getting Sharon’s blast of derision and retribution while the kids drove him mad with the noise. He went to the bathroom cabinet for aspirin. They were all gone.

“Time to shop Ed,” said Sharon without pity as she thought: “Why should he enjoy an office do while she had to slave at work then come home and cook a meal for him to leave uneaten?”

As they reached Tesco and parked for the weekly shop, Ed hurried straight for the pharmacy to buy some panadol, then he headed to the restaurant for a black coffee.

As he sat brooding over an empty cup wondering whether he ought to buy a second industrial strength black coffee, Sharon returned with a laden trolley.

“When’s the siege starting?” muttered Ed who was already thinking of the cost of what he saw.

Ignoring his comment Sharon said: “The kids and I have seen those fabulous new slimline TVs which are on a bargain sale. Help me to load this lot up and we’ll go and take another look at them.”

Ed’s head was still spinning, but he was in no state to argue as he admitted to himself their present set was getting old.

Reluctantly he took the trolley and the family headed to the car where they filled the boot.

“Now let’s look at those TV sets,” ordered Sharon.

Within five minutes of seeing what she wanted, Ed was pulling out his already over-burdened credit card. He knew he had about £1,000 worth of credit left but nothing could stop the sinking feeling as that was reduced to about £10.

Week four... “Oh Lord I’m almost back to where I was last year – and the year before,” wailed Ed to himself. “I’m a year older, fatter, slower and unhealthier. Worse still I’m also a darn sight poorer now the credit card bills are coming in thick and fast with the Tesco TV bill yet to be included. There must be a better way.”

Week five... Ed and Sharon’s house is still looking crabby. The library has sent a reminder that the book Ed borrowed is overdue and now there’s a fine to pay – although small it’s more debt!

It was no consolation for Ed as he heard Sharon saying for the umpteenth time: “Ed, you’re getting short of breath you really must book an appointment with the doctor – oh and I’m going to sign you up with Weight watchers and see if they can do what I can’t.”

Weeks six to 52... As Ed and Sharon are watching one of their favourite TV programmes, while enjoying a glass of wine, an increasingly overweight and debt-ridden Ed turns to Sharon during the commercial and says: “I’ve made up my mind, for 2013 my New Year’s resolutions are going to be...”