Go on - admit it. You saw the title "Duel Control" and your first thought was 'Stupid cow can't spell."
Well, think again. According to Wikipedia - that fount of all wisdom and knowledge  a duel is ‘an engagement in combat between two individuals with matched weapons...’
Can you think of a better way to describe a relationship between a man and a woman?
Ever wondered who really wears the trousers? That’s where the control comes in.
Elementary, my dear student. Now please take a seat.

Explanations are over – it’s time for instruction. Please turn to Round 1, ( you can’t have chapters in a duel) and pay attention! I’ll be asking questions later.

Round 1 – Irreconcilable Socks

I once owned a tea-towel that bore the legend, “It starts when you sink in his arms and ends with your arms in the sink.” A truism, if ever I heard one. So where did it start? Oh yes, it’s all coming back to me.

They met at her twenty-first birthday party, back in the days when 21 was considered your coming-of-age. He came with mutual friends, a couple she’d known for years. He was ‘playing gooseberry’ as they used to call it back then; a single guy, dateless on a Saturday evening, tagging along as the spare wheel. Perhaps she should have read the warning signs. No, that’s not fair. There was nothing wrong with him. He was fun and they fell in love, and got married and had kids and all that, just like in the stories.

So, did they live happily ever after?  Does anyone?
Years down the line, unloading the washing machine before going to fetch the kids from school, she had a revelation. None of his socks matched. They used to – she was sure of it, and hadn’t she been sorting them week in, week out for years? It was as if they entered the machine as couples and many of them came out single. That was it – the washing machine was a divorce court that produced a regular quantity of irreconcilable socks. Suddenly her life seemed like that. She sat on the kitchen floor and cried for a while, wondering when she had stopped being happy.

“Mummy, why are your eyes all puffy?” They were outside the school gate and Jason was struggling with the toggles on his duffel coat.
“I think I’m getting a cold, sweetheart. Now hurry up. The Juniors get out in 5 minutes and we don’t want Lizzie to think we’ve forgotten her.”
Outside the junior gate, Lizzie posed the same question.
“It’s just a cold, love.”
The eight-year-old was not convinced. “It looks like you’ve been crying.”

Ben hung his jacket on the back of the chair, loosened his tie and sat down at the table. He opened the evening paper and read until she placed his dinner in front of him. He looked up, as he folded the paper.
“Got a cold, love? You look a bit rough. Pass us the salt."
In silence, she passed the salt to the Prince Charming who had stolen her life.

After a hot bath, she decided to have an early night. There was football on the TV, so Ben would be occupied for quite a while. She picked up the romance she was reading and climbed into bed. Five minutes later, the bedroom door opened and Ben stood there, grinning. “I know how to make you feel better,” he said.

Needless to say, he didn’t.



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