This is a fourth chapter of my novel “Dependables“.
Chapter 4: Katie & Matt – Band Rehearsal
Katie’s workday had been full of dirty nappies, milk bottles and babies without a sense of danger. She felt more tired than usual. The whole baby care show was such a different ordeal than soothing temper tantrums and making sure the pre-schoolers did all steps in the routine of wipe your bum – pull up trousers – flush – wash your hands. She was used to all that. She found it harder to look after the younger human beings.
Anyway, it had only been for today. If Jenny got back to work tomorrow, she would be back with her usual group of under-five’s.
Now, Katie switched off the ancient laptop and glanced at the clock. At 5pm, you would think the teacher’s office would be nearly uninhabited, but it still was a hubbub of activity. Primary school teachers were signing incident reports and fixing the costumes and sets for the Nativity play. In middle of November, the school was already preparing for Christmas.
Katie gathered her stuff and shrugged her coat on, feeling hollow. Matt had his first band meeting of the week that day and that never ended without a round in a pub. Matt and group of his musically talented friends had formed a band early on their teens. They had regular gigs in the local pubs and had a small, local fan crowd. They never had progressed further with the band than that, which is why they all had day jobs.
Matt worked at the local radio station as a composer. He was the man responsible for those little diddles between pitches and advertisements, which purpose were to arouse you to pay attention. Matt felt his creativity was at a loss at the radio, which is why he still held high hopes for the band that he had been a member for nearly 20 years.
Eileen, girls PE-teacher, caught up with Katie before she managed to get out of the office.
“Please tell me you are still coming on Saturday! We will really need your input this time. Then it would be me, you, Jenny and Camilla at the usual place.” Eileen grasped Katies arm and walked down the corridor with her. As usual, Eileen was full of brisk energy. Her red hair flowed behind her like a veil, and there seemed to be ceaseless springs under her feet. Katie always felt slouchy in comparison, with her naturally wavy and equally cheeky brown hair that didn’t gracefully do anything.
Eileen kept babbling, without needing a confirmation of any kind from Katie.
“Vince is taking Charlotte out at the same time, and he’s promised to do his very best to get hints out of her what she hopes for her hen do.” Eileen pouted in concern.
Katie winced. “I don’t know Vince as well as you do, but do you really think that’s such a good idea? Men aren’t so good at reading hints and even worse sending them themselves.”
They reached the end of the hallway and stepped outside, where the rain was drizzling down. Eileen stopped to open her huge umbrella, under which they both fitted.
Eileen tutted. “He is my cousin and the only boy in the family, so it is he if who should be able to do it.”
“Right,” Katie nodded in agreement and then remembered. “Jenny was missing in action today, do you know what’s up there?”
“I’m sure she’s fine,” Eileen answered quickly as they walked through the school gates. She was unwilling to change the subject. “I just have no idea what Charlotte wants to do for her hen do, like, no idea at all.”
“We need to do something memorable, for sure,” Katie replied and remembered fondly her own hen do. Emma and Hanna had taken her to Amsterdam. They had travelled there by train, and Katie had had no idea where they were going. They had had such a brilliant weekend, with the traditional coffee shops, canal cruises and the eventful night out. But then, Katie had got married in her mid-twenties, so all that boisterous action had been expected for the event. Charlotte had just turned 45, so Katie felt out of her depth to imagine what a woman marrying in that age might want from her hen do.
They arrived at the bus stop. Eileen shook out the rain droplets of the umbrella as they sheltered from the rain at the little cubicle of the stop.
“Well, let’s have our most imaginative minds with us on Saturday. I take it you are traveling by bus there?” Eileen checked.
Katie nodded. “Unless I get Matt to drop me off, but most likely I will be taking the bus.”
Eileen nodded, but before she got to continue, her bus arrived, so instead they exchanged quick goodbyes.
Katie watched the redheaded girl disappear into the steamy insides of the bus. Hers was no-where to be seen yet.
It had not always been like this, but Katie, as hard as she attempted, could not pinpoint when it had become this, whatever this current affair was. As Katie closed her eyes as she leaned on the bus stop’s clammy wall, she could see the man she married. The thoughtful, fun, energetic boy who was full of loving gestures and huge ideas that he made come true. Like moving together to Manchester and somehow finding the funds to the flat they still inhabited today. He had been her miracle boy. The man who made all dreams come true.
The band had been the only one of his failings, even if Katie didn’t consider it as such. In her opinion, keeping up a regular practice and having all original band members as committed to the band as when it was first established was quite an achievement.
As so, Katie never waited for Matt on Wednesdays. While her husband was strumming the guitar and singing, Katie had her regular Pilates session at the local leisure centre. Afterwards she usually had a swim too.
Matt switched his phone off completely or at least silenced it at the practice, so Katie didn’t expect anything from him till 8pm the earliest. That is when the boys retired from their practice and went for their first round at the closest pub. They called it an inspirational round, as they claimed to be bounding ideas for their original songs or gig venues. Katie had been with them before, but the novelty of it had worn off quickly. Every time it seemed to follow the same pattern. Boys would practice in good faith; boys would drown themselves in alcohol as they hoped for the big break in the future.
On her way home, Katie caught up with the messages on the group chat.
Katie: Any guesses for what state Matt will be in when he comes home?
Emma: Blastered, can’t remember leaving the pub.
Hanna: Ditto. How are you feeling, Katie?
Katie: Hollow and depressed. Though Pilates did help.
Hanna: You heard from him at all?
Katie: Not a word all day.
Emma: That’s not unusual for Wednesday though?
Katie: So, what have you two been up to?
Hanna: Enjoying my first days of maternity leave. I feel like I’ve managed to do nothing at all today.
Katie: Well that’s good, as your body is doing all the action, growing a little human being inside you. Just take it easy!
Hanna: Yeah yeah, bossy boots.
Katie: What about you, Ems?
Emma: Had my riding lesson today!
Hanna: Did you gallop?
Emma: Well no, because Jack was not my teacher today but Ted, and Ted thinks I’m not ready for it yet. Surprise surprise…
Katie: What did you get to do then? Walk around the rink while he held the reins?
Emma: I am sure he would find that to be too dangerous for me too…
Hanna: Did he even let you on the horse?
Emma: Well to be quite honest, and I am surprised about this too by the way, I had the best lesson yet in my life.
Hanna: Really? Please pray tell!
You have just read the fourth chapter of my book, Dependables. If you liked it, please let your friends and family know about it. Make some noise about it in the social media too! As an amateur writer, I would love all the feedback especially from you.