Playing The Cards

Today began like every day had for the past forty-five years. At 7am, Arthur sat at the table, shuffled the deck and laid out the well-used playing cards in the standard formation for patience. This routine had served him well. Time to drink his morning tea, time to wake up and time to himself before heading out the door a half-past eight for the commute to the office.

Time was something he had a lot of now. The previous Friday had been his last day and had been followed by retirement drinks with colleagues. The reality of the occasion was only sinking in this morning. Of course, he had plenty of suggestions for what to do and ideas of his own. Taking that first step to making any of them realities was not happening. Years of routine were hard to break.

There was always the garden, a worthwhile way to spend time. He could get back to bowling, darts or another favourite game or try a new one. Bridge was a natural choice for his card playing. Aware of his stage of life, he considered taking some spiritual steps. Perhaps head back to St. Matthew’s. It was nearby and that troublesome trendy vicar had moved on. Maybe there was a chance of a last gasp romance. Some more company would be nice after ten years alone.

The cards were not going his way today. He took a drink of tea and gathered the cards. After a thorough shuffle, he laid them out again in formation and began to play another hand. He had the time. Before drawing the next card, he decided today really should mark a change. He mentally assigned a favoured possibility to each suite:

Clubs - Bowling Spades – Dog Hearts – Dating Service Diamonds – Church

He turned over the card and smiled. A golden retriever it was then. Everything else would have to wait for tomorrow’s game.