Cross your fingers: a short story

The sound of the radio wakes
me.  Saturday morning and the
announcer calls out the details of the horses that will be running in the
various race meetings of the day.

I turn over and his pillow is
empty.  A typical Saturday.  I find my man in the kitchen, toast
crumbs on his plate, the newspaper folded to a manageable size. He holds a red
biro in his hand and with it circles the details of each horse and race to
establish where he will put his money. 
His preoccupation with the form guide borders on insult but I do not
take offence.
start the day by loading whites into the washing machine, whites and lights
first, followed by the darks.  When
the basket is full to overflowing I take the clothes out behind the apartment
block and hang out as many as the line can hold.  I try to keep the excess washing to a minimum forcing
clothes together as closely as possible and sharing pegs.  I know it will not speed up the process
of drying but to me there is a certain satisfaction in a full washing line
without a chink of light between the clothes.  Recently there has been an underwear thief in our
neighbourhood.  I do not relish the
thought of some stranger stealing my knickers, worn and un-sexy as they may
be.  I will hang our underwear on
the small clotheshorse that stands on the balcony of our apartment.
man  comes out to say goodbye as I
clip his shirts in order of colour to the washing line.  ‘Wish me luck,’ he says.  I wish him luck and any niggling
feeling of dissatisfaction I tuck away inside the peg bag.  My man provides for me while I am a
student and have very little money of my own.  If my man wins today we might go out to a flash restaurant
and if he loses they may yet turn off our electricity next week because the
bill is still unpaid and long overdue. 
Ours is a tempestuous life but I tell myself I like that.  I thrive on the uncertainty.  Never a dull moment I think as I hang
out the last of the white handkerchiefs.
day goes by quickly enough, floors to mop, the toilet and sink to go over with Ajax.  I do
not dust the surfaces in the bedroom as there is too little furniture in there
beyond the bed to warrant it, but I dust everywhere else and in the kitchen I
wipe down the bench tops and scrub the stove clean with a hard scrubbing
brush.  I drag the vacuum cleaner
from the bedroom to the lounge until my back aches with the effort.  Bend and straighten. This is good exercise
I reason and the rewards are great. 
Soon I will have a house that is spick and span, my man will come home,
and we will be able to relax in the comfort of a clean home.  I cross my fingers and hope for a win.
man has devised a system whereby he can maximise his returns.  He is ruthless.  He does not become emotionally involved
with the horses. They generate an income that is all.  Twilight and I hear the clip of his heels in the stair
well.  The door rattles open.  The look on his face tells all.  We do not say a word but crawl into bed
for a coupling that offers comfort to both.  He for his day on the job and me for my domesticity.  Afterwards we will decide what to do
for dinner.