For nearly 50 years he’d worked at the factory – everyone of Ted’s age went straight from school to the factory. Three wives had come and gone in that time, two divorced, one dead – only the last one did he remember with any particular fondness. Six healthy children had been raised in the same red-brick two up, two down on the Marlow Road – all had left, apart from Mary.
‘A gold watch? A gold fucking watch? Is that all I meant to them?’ he spat.
‘But Dad, it is a very nice watch,’ said Mary.
They’d all liked Ted. For 30 years he was Santa Claus to the children gathered at the Christmas party in the factory canteen. Every summer it was Ted who organised and ran the fete in the sprawling grounds of the chairman’s estate. If there was a living, breathing embodiment of a company man, it was Ted.
‘Sod them, and sod their fucking watch!’
Ted coughed, bent double in his armchair: his scarred lungs had paid a heavy price for his loyalty.
Mary handed her father his pills and a brandy. Neither would really make him feel any better, but at least they’d keep the worst of his pain, and disappointment, at bay.
‘A fucking watch,’ he spluttered, once more, as he threw the glinting retirement gift into the fire.
These words form my entry into this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction challenge.