It was back in those olden days where men were men and women sighed, but not often enough in the ways that those men hoped.
Still, though, many a man would mount his mighty war steed and after doing that thing with the manual choke so the engine didn’t flood, he’d ride off to do battle with the vast forces of the rush hour. All in the distant hope this time they could afford more than just a week on one of the most rain-swept portions of the Welsh coast in a caravan. A caravan smaller than the rabbit’s hutch in the corner of their garden he’d made himself out of an old packing crate and some off cuts of chicken wire Harry at the hardware shop had let him have cheap.
Inevitably, the kids’ desperate need for a rabbit only lasted until the third time they had to clear the hutch out. Now the lettuce muncher just sat there gorging on dandelion leaves until either he or his wife had the time, and enough inclination to look after it.
But like many other things at the time, time and money were always in short supply. He’d have liked a dog himself. A dog he could take on long walks over the waste ground that wasn’t even a forgotten bombsite any longer. A place now just known to everyone from the kids endlessly refighting aspects of the Second World War, to those teenagers – and sometimes older couples – who knew where they could lie down together as the dusk turned into darkness.
Not that he wanted much to do with any of that, WWII was still a strong memory to him. As for the other thing… well, that was how come he was married now. Married to a woman who seemed more of a stranger to him than the people he saw at the traffic lights during that morning rush hour.
He still noticed the women, of course. Especially the young unmarried ones still working in factories and offices while they waited, not so much for Mr Right as much as Mr He’ll Do, or if unlucky, Mr You Should Have Been More Careful. He passed them waiting at the bus stops or hurry along the street in the rain to and from those bus stops.
Occasionally, waiting at the lights for his engine to stall or the lights to change, or more usually both at the same time, he would wonder about offering one of them a lift ‘just to get out of the rain’. Then maybe as they got to know each other as those lifts increased in frequency and the autumn evenings got darker, he could take her down one of the dark streets where there were no or few working streetlights, and they could…
Knowing his luck, he’d end up as Mr You Should Have Been More Careful… again.
No, he should get a hobby, something he could do in the shed of an evening, while the wife watched those… what were they called… soap operas. Maybe get a few of those magazines that passed from oily hand to oily hand at work.
That would be more careful.