THE LETTER



It was so frustrating not knowing whether or not we were going to Butlins for the weekend or not. I so need a break from routine it was killing me. I hadn’t had any of “my kind of fun” for some weeks and I was chomping at the bit to say the least.

Deciding not to go into work and try to get a bit prepared just in case..and start packing one,  I hovered at home unable to settle. Olivia phoned me to ask if there was any news I said no!!! in an exasperated tone.My days off are precious and I like to fill them up with all good things. Instead I was smoking a cigarette and drinking coffee and watching “Judge Judy” I love it when she says pulls rank!.

My phone went off and I looked down hoping it was my friend, but it was an unknown number.Answering it suspiciously I recognised the voice of a journalist from the magazine that I had been talking to about one of my stories. (A girl had to do something to pay for the extras in life)

We discussed the angle and what she needed and for a change it wasnt just about my preference  for the younger man. This one covered my divorce and how I dealt with finding myself put out to grass. The good news was that they wanted to run the story and I managed to negotiate my fee up a little. So here I was hauling over the coals and embers of what used to be my marriage and how I dealt with the departure of my husband to the country with “horseface” AKA her next door.

I could hear I had another call coming in and was anxious to answer it but couldn’t interrupt the journalist who was now in full flow. As soon as she finished I called my friend back. We were in! Thank Fuck for That!. With a spring in my step I started the packing, I couldnt do it before I didn’t want to tempt fate. I carefully put in the bright Red Mile High Club outfit courtesy of Ann Summers and matching red stilettos. I was looking forward to wearing that tomorrow night!.

Dashing out of the door I hurried down to “Laurels” (Beauty Salon) to have my toes and finger nails painted in bright pillar box red to match the outfit. Grabbing a bottle of wine on route to share with the ladies I got seated and Kelsey got painting. By the time I left I was feeling more relaxed and slighty merry..wine on an empty stomach you know how that goes.As I tripped up the road looking ridiculous in a fur coat and wearing pink flip-flops..my phone went off.

It was my ex neighbour and comrade in arms “Horseface” ex husband. He was near my office and had been sorting through his car and cleaning out the glove compartment and he had found something I might like to see “A love letter from my then husband to his then wife” Before he binned it he thought i might like to have a look at it.!!! My immediate reaction was yes please. Anything that confirmed what a lying cheating SOB I had lived with for all those years was always useful in reminding me that I was in a much better place.

He handed me this envelope. Inside there were the remains of a letter that was obviously quite lengthy but torn into pieces. He apologised for the state of it but said when it had been found his daughter had shredded it. However it was readable and luckily I am good at jigsaws. There was also a couple of love notes scribbled on receipts. I exchanged pleasantries with N and then realising the time I flip-flopped at speed up the street.

I only had half an hour to get ready.For once my mates were on time and I wasnt. I was walking up the street with my precious few bottles of Henry Westons Cider and some supplies..crisps and sweets. We always have a full tuck shop on these trips.Throwing everything in the car ..off we go. its late and we are going to hit traffic but it can’t be helped. I am chattering madly about the letter and with music blaring we hit the motorway.

The journey takes nearly three hours but we get there in one piece. We unpack quickly I am sharing with Jo and Olivia is sharing with Michelle. The rooms are opposite each other and are the adapted rooms meant for the disabled. So we have a huge walk in wet room. With our clothes hanging up and the tv on bottles opened we relax and suddenly I remember the letter.

Pulling the envelope out of the bag. I lay the pieces out and start matching them up. No doubting the handwriting..its not dated of course a timeline would have been useful. It opened with My Darling…..and ended with I will love you always…The bits in between became a blur as the red mist was rising behind my eyes. How can I still be affected in such away after all this time ?.

I picked out one or two lines…the words making love stood out and the wonderful letters you have written me . This was his first offering in return, it would seem in what must have been an array of paper plopping through my letterbox unseen by me and written by her!! The red mist stalled at half mast but was eventually pushed to its limits when the words all the things you do for me sprang of the page and hit me straight between the eyes. All the things you do for me??!!!

I must have been dreaming then when I washed his clothes..cooked his dinner and took it up on tray (because he was incapable of sitting for too long)kept the roof over his head when he could no longer work, fended off the creditors and getting into more debt so as not to bother him because he wasnt well. Went to every hospital appointment with him, fought his court case against the NHS with time-consuming and lengthy emails to his solicitors and trawling over medical records. Sat all night by his hospital bed when he came out of surgery and bought him hot homemade food. Ran the home, looked after our son, and helped him with his precious dogs, walking them when he was too ill and staying up all night with a whelping bitch!. The only comfort I had was to remind myself that he was a high as a kite most of the time on pescription opiates. I suppose even “Horseface” looked alluring through his hazy drug fuelled brain.

But never the less I had unwittingly adopted the role of housekeeper,Banker,Medical Advisor and Kennel Maid! And while  I and N were hard at work the two left at home were making good use of their free time!!. She used to sweep in and sooth his fevered brow and listen to his pipe-dreams enabled by my need to work full-time. To think I used to buy her presents for feeding my son after school and we used to share dinner parties on New Years Eve and she even invited us on a holiday. Duplicitous Bitch!

I had of course had a gut feeling that something was going on and had confronted her more than once but the plausibility they offered was good and the fact that he never ever went out in the evenings lulled me into a false sense of security. That coupled with the fact that she was “My friend” and mother of three. But for all you women out there listen! and trust me on this..If your woman”s intuition is telling you that youre missing something and your gut is telling you something is going on, but you can’t quite put your finger on it. Trust yourself !Look and you shall find .There is no point in the burying your head in the sand consciously or not!. Dont waste valuable years of your life being deceived.

I was glad when I knew and glad when he confessed and the day I caught up with her alone in the street I relished knocking her down!. The sort of anger I was feeling could have eaten me alive.

The other two little notes were just simple ” I love yous”  but one was scribbled on the back of a receipt and was dated 2004 a full four years before his departure.! There is none so blind as those that cannot see and that was me with knobs on!!!

Realising that the bloody letter was affecting my mood I put it away and we opened champagne and having dressed ourselves up to the nines we went out into the night to reload the 90s…to be continued..

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