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Real People (Gift exercise)

by Jubbly 

Posted: 24 June 2004
Word Count: 375
Summary: Hey Shay, rushed this, sorry it's so quiet must be the footy and the tennis, and everything else. eh?

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My marriage is a lonely one. We have a nice home, a large living room… if you could call it that. It houses a 26-inch television that is only content when tuned into a sports channel. We have a dining room complete with cherry wood table but we eat in the lounge, hot dishes poised on our knees to the soundtrack of men shouting and crowds going wild. There are only the two of us, we have no children, he's not sure he wants any just yet. Upstairs there's a very small room, a box room they call it at the estate agents, inside there is a floral patterned zed bed pushed into the corner and covered with mountains of ironing. A few boxes stacked up with unused wedding presents and his beloved collection of football programmes and assorted fanzines line the wall. Then there is a desk and a chair and on top of the desk my computer. My sister gave it to me for my birthday, I don’t know why; it’s not something I really needed.
It's a small room but inside it houses nearly 30 people. They live in that room, you'd never know they were there, they keep so quiet. When I'm downstairs with him and I feel all alone I gain comfort knowing they're up there. When we've finished dining and I've done the washing up I make my excuses and say I must attend to the ironing then I go upstairs, with each step my heart beat quickens, soon, I think, soon I'll be with them and my life can really begin. I close the door leaving it just slightly ajar to warn me if he comes near and I go to them.

Tip tapp tapp.

Hello, it's me; I'm here, anything doing today?

And my screen comes to life, there's Jill who's just like me and has her secret too, and Jim who loves a good mystery and Rona who paints portraits of family cats and Dave and Bob, and Sally and He man and Esmeralda and Good year and Black pudding and Mysterious girl, ssh, they all live in my little room and I have my sister to thank for my precious gift – a life line.

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Comments by other Members

ShayBoston at 18:40 on 24 June 2004  Report this post
Hi Julie,

That's quite sad (very well written though). That's me, innit? Waiting for people to respond to my challenge! Glad I found this before the football, I'll be drunk by nine.

I think she should just leave. There's no kids. Take the computer and run.


Account Closed at 19:22 on 24 June 2004  Report this post
Thank god for football, eh? Gives us a chance to spend the evening on the computer without any snide comments.

Liked your description of the living room - for a moment, I thought the guy had 30 mates round to watch the match - now that would be exaggerating!

crowspark at 14:28 on 25 June 2004  Report this post
I always wondered why they designed 26" television screens. Love the idea that the tv prefers sport channels. Mine is much smaller and prefers history programs.
Enough of tv - loved the archetypal box room, a bit like my potting shed only hygienic.


anisoara at 21:32 on 25 June 2004  Report this post
Jubbly --

Yes, this is good. And yes, it is sad. At first, I thought it was a TV of her own, and her programmes, but that would have been superficial. Then I read the line "I have my sister to thank for the precious gift" and I understood that it was the computer and the life line to other people. Yes, it is very sad. I liked the way you described that little room, a "box room" with the mountains of ironing, etc. Very sad, but all too common a fact of life, isn't it?


Colin-M at 15:52 on 26 June 2004  Report this post
My first reaction to this is one of sadness. It's horrible to think of anyone trapped in such a one sided marriage. The computer as a means of a lifeline is a strange one. In on respect it's also sad, that her only way to reach out to world is by staring at a screen. But on the other hand, these are real people; she's not lost in a world of fantasy or games: she's involved in a real community and she's getting something back.

The irony is that her husband's synthetic community of tv football is totally one sided - yet if he's anything like the fans I know, he'll shout out intructions and warnings and all kinds of comments to a screen that never hears and never responds.

Damn good things these computers.

Damn good flash fiction too.

Colin M

Jubbly at 11:28 on 01 July 2004  Report this post
Thanks to all who commented on this. Sad, yes, but what with techonology moving faster than an athlete on steroids these days, will it all become a reality for many? By the way, my partener always goes to the pub to watch sporting events, I insist.


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