They say it's life changing, a lottery win. I used to think that it was impossible, but no. Again, I was wrong, and it was just improbable. I stopped buying my weekly ticket years ago. Once a week was manageable, a tax on the blindly optimistic maybe, but just one pound every seven days was fine. Then they started with their Thunderballs and bi-weekly draws, Eurowhatsits and, well, it was all too much. I gave up, as is my way. But Georgie, well, he never did.
I gave up on lots of things, over the years. We've been through our ups and downs, more of the downs than the ups, it has to be said. In and out of bad jobs, just about scraping by. We were neither of us ever meant for anything bigger or better than we had.
For a long time, all that we did have was each other. When we were working, that seemed to take over our lives and "us" was just a hobby that we sometimes, rarely, got to partake of. Georgie got lucky though, he always had the best of that. He got a job at the fruit machine factory that seemed almost secure. Long hours, not quite decent money, but for what it was, it was something. It was enough.
"It's not forever," he said.
He was always looking towards the future, always optimistic, always positive. But a part of me hoped that it was forever. I'd become used to us passing each other by, him heading out of the house as I arrived home. The more time that we spent together, the more I tired of him.
I had signed up to a temping agency, with high hopes of becoming a PA to some top executive. Instead all I got was filing, typing, and a slap on the arse from some suited prick. Not quite what I had dreamed of, but is life ever what anyone dreams it will be?
"It's not forever," Georgie said, when I told him about the sleazeball who called me into his office, and then had me sit there and do nothing, just so that he could leer at me.
"I hope not," I replied, but I didn't mean just that incident, I meant everything. I hoped that none of it would be forever, the way that my life was then. I wanted change.
And, of course, things do change. I was in that company, paid for my time and not for my skills, wasting my hours and their measly money, for only a month. Holiday cover, that was all, and then I was moved on. Looking back, things would have been very different if I had stayed. In the next organisation, there was no sleazy suitman, but there was Alex.
I was used to being treated as a temporary inconvenience, being looked down upon and walked over, but Alex, well, he was different. You can guess what happens with a woman, unhappy in her life, meets someone that finally shows her some respect, and gives her some attention.
I was ready to leave Georgie, to tell him that this life of long hours, passing in the hallway, always hoping that it wouldn't be forever, that it wasn't enough. I was ready to tell him that I wanted out, but then, the improbable happened. The numbers came up, and that life changing moment happened.
Georgie ran into the lounge, Friday night, when he was meant to be at work until the early hours of Saturday morning. He was laughing and crying and I couldn't even work out what he was trying to say at first. Then I saw it in his hand, he was waving that pink-red ticket, and I knew. I knew that he had been right all along.
"We've won," he said in a gasping heavy burst.
I scrunched my eyes up, trying to block it out, trying to wish him away, but the world shifted to slow motion. I knew what was coming next. I didn't have to think of what to say, or how to react because there, coming down the stairs was the life changing moment. Alex, half dressed, but still smart, sophisticated, solvent; everything that I had wanted.
Georgie's face changed in a flash. He had gone from being a man who had everything to a man who had come home from work to find his wife had been sleeping with her boss.
And all I could think of to say was,
"It's not forever."