‘I’m heading out now honey!’ I called up the stairs, grabbing my keys from the bowl.
‘Where to?’ she asked, suddenly behind me. I jumped, clutching my chest.
‘I thought you were…’ I started weakly, pointing up the staircase. She raised an eyebrow at me.
‘The hardware store,’ I sighed.
‘What do we need at the hardware store?’
‘Oh, y’know,’ I laughed nervously, scratching the back of my neck. ‘Stuff.’
She crossed her arms and fixed her eyes on me, coldly.
‘Fine!’ I threw my arms up. ‘I’m gonna fix that back gate.’
‘We’ve talked about this,’ she sighed. ‘You can’t fix the back gate.’
‘Of course I can, it’ll be easy–’
‘Where’s the closest hardware store to Bayside?’ she asked, cutting me off.
‘Give me the address. General area. A landmark.’
‘Uh…’ I started to sweat. ‘Well, you see, it’s right next to the… uh–’
‘You were gonna look it up on your phone, weren’t you?’
‘Hey,’ I protested, ‘most people in my generation don’t have a sense of direction!’
She uncrossed her arms and rolled her eyes in one impressive movement, turning away from me and heading up the stairs.
‘Just ask my dad,’ she called back to me. I felt my eye twitch.
‘I don’t need to–’
She wheeled back down the stairs and advanced on me, finger pre-raised to poke me in the chest.
‘Ow,’ I grunted when the poke landed.
‘Call him!’ she glared. ‘I don’t want your pride destroying another piece of our home.’
I scoffed. ‘Name one–’
‘That toilet has never worked the same, John,’ she shook her head. ‘Not once.’
‘Fine,’ I sighed, dropping my head. ‘I’ll call him.’
‘You know it’s for the best,’ my wife said, not unkindly. ‘Plus he knows where to get all of the most affordable building supplies in Cheltenham.’
‘I know,’ I sighed again. ‘You’re right.’ She smiled and patted me on the arm, then headed back up the stairs. I watched to make sure she’d gone, then quickly whipped out my phone. ‘Closest hardware store…’ I murmured to myself as I typed.