Free Time

The Telegraph, 2020

John walked through the hallway and into the living room as he had done his entire life. Not bounding through as a boy but striding as a man. The living room was a memorial to itself. Much like the rest of the house all of the furniture and ornaments were in their proper place, though the lustre John once had for them had faded. The various objects, trinkets and treasures sparkled as the sunlight poured through the large patio doors. A fine layer of dust was lit up in the air. On the mantelpiece above the television the surface was completely covered by a plethora of family photographs, wedding pictures and smiling graduates. John wrinkled his nose and picked up his own picture from amongst the beaming faces of his cousins. John adjusted the photo that had slipped in it’s frame. The young man in the photo may as well have been a different person. John pondered the wisdom he might impart to his past self, full of optimism and ambition, in the hope that he might avoid making the same mistakes in life.


“Let me get the tea.”


“No, please allow me, Gran.”


“Don’t be silly, dear, I insist. Take a seat and eat some cake.”


“I’m trying to get fit, only recently started jogging.” The sofa felt as cosy as it did from John’s childhood. His Gran motioned to the perfectly arranged plate of confectioneries.


“What is it they say? I can resist anything but temptation.”