George got up quietly. He wanted to do the washing up without Judy hearing. He imagined her in an hour’s time, after he’d gone: she’d wake and find the kitchen clean and spotless—just the way she liked it. But George faced a problem: he was used to dishwashers, while Judy always did the washing by hand.
He’d waited in the kitchen many times, late at night, after one of Judy’s meals, ready to go to bed, while she insisted on washing up before sleeping. She hated to come down in the morning to the sight and smell of dirty dishes. Last night, she hadn’t washed up because they’d argued.
How was he to do it?
There was the sink. What did she clean the dishes with? He found a blue sponge and the washing-up liquid on the white windowsill. He turned the hot tap on slowly, trying to make as little noise as possible. Then, in a hopeful sort of way, he squirted some liquid into the blue plastic bowl. Was that too much? He didn’t want Judy to accuse him of being wasteful. Next, he squirted some more liquid on the sponge—didn’t she normally do that?—and carefully picked up a grubby plate, still caked with last night’s lasagne. A pang of guilt struck him: she’d made it specially for him! A few swipes with the cloth, and the plate looked mostly clean. But it wasn’t perfect. Despite his best efforts, bits still clung on to it. He rubbed furiously, but the plate slipped from his hand, then fell on the counter, clattering out his incompetence.