Ukulele

"Two tickets for tomorrow, please." 

"Charlie, no, I told you."

He read out his credit card details to the bored sounding man at the box office.

"What even is a ukulele?" Mary was sitting on the sofa, contemplating a jar of chilli jam.

"You know what a ukulele is."

"I know you're obsessed."

"My birthday, my choice. And can you not wear that shirt?"  

Mary tapped her nails against the top of the jar. She had been wearing the shirt the whole of the last week - silver butterflies on yellow silk. She claimed they cheered her up. What? They talk to you? He'd asked. She'd shrugged and said yes, more or less, they do. 


"It's just - " He glanced over at her. "It's fine. Wear whatever. Just come. You might even enjoy it."


She did enjoy it. Sweet, sparky music that got into her bloodstream and lifted her mood. She enjoyed it so much that when they got home that night it was she who suggested he take his ukulele down from its hook above the fireplace in the living room. And when he played, she didn't stomp into the kitchen and wash up noisily, she sat, in her yellow shirt with the silver butterflies, and listened.