Martin could hear the sound of distant drawers from the bedroom upstairs, Sally opening them; noisily rummaging through them and then ramming them shut again.
“Socks! I said: socks!” Sally yelled down the stairs.
“Socks?” Martin replied walking across to the bottom of the stairs and looking up.
Sally appeared on the landing and stared back down at him, hands on her hips. “Yes, darling - socks. Is that too difficult for you to understand?”
Martin noticed she was clutching a pair of his underpants in one hand. “Well... frankly, yes. I mean... well, you've never mentioned socks before.”
“I did, once.” Sally said, sitting down on the top step, smoothing out then folding the pair of Martin’s underpants on her lap as she spoke. “Can you remember? It was that time we were on holiday… in that place... where was it? You know, where we had that ice-cream?”
Martin thought for a moment. “Oh, there! Er… thingy. What about it?”
“That was the place where you wanted to do it on the beach at midnight. We walked… well, you stumbled… I think you must have drunk most of that bottle of wine yourself.... Anyway, we got all the way down to the beach - it took us ages to cross that road, even at that time of the night. And then… then when we got there... when we got there... there was no bloody beach! The tide was right in, right up against the sea wall at the edge of the road. We would’ve had to strip off in the middle of the bloody dual-carriageway - or whatever they are called over there. You were in a really foul mood, and me - I couldn't stop laughing… giggling. Maybe I'd had a bit too much to drink too and - of course - that made you even more of a miserable bastard than usual.”
“Anyway Sal....” Martin said abruptly, breaking her reverie. “What were we talking about?”
“Socks… I think.”
“Oh right.” Martin looked up at his wife. “But what has not finding my socks got to do with that holiday?”
“That was the time when you kept losing all your socks, can't you remember?” She seemed surprised that Martin could not remember such a momentous event in their marriage. She shrugged, dismissing his puzzled frown. “I found them all on the last day, remember? They'd fallen down the back of the drawer in the hotel room. You know… for some reason I was never able to fathom… the drawers in that hotel room didn't have proper backs on them. So whenever….”
“Yes, yes… right.” Martin interrupted, before she moved on to some other memory. “Listen Sal, I've got to…. y'know… I don’t want to get stuck in the rush hour traffic again?”
“Yes, sorry darling…. Right.” She stood up, showing him the now neatly folded underpants. “I think that is everything, apart from the socks, that is.”
A few minutes later, Martin knelt in front of his full suitcase, checking it was fastened securely. He picked it up, sighing at its weight. “Right then, I'm off. Sorry about the… well, the short notice. But y'know….”
Sally stepped forward, almost formally, to kiss him. “Yes, darling, it’s all right. Have a good trip and don't forget to ring this time. At least, if only to let me know how long you'll be gone.”
Martin glanced at his watch. Realising he was running late, he rushed to open the front door, turning to face Sally as he eased his case through it. “Yes. Right. Okay. Bye Sal. Kiss? Bye.” The door slammed behind him and Sally heard a final muffled “Bye” from behind the closed door.