Fifty Ways

by | Jul 19, 2015 | Creative Writing | 0 comments

Monday evening and Stanley was late going home again. He’d gone to Erica’s flat near the House of Commons for a post meeting drink, along with the rest of the team. Erica collared him in the kitchen, as he was helping himself to a glass of water.

“Well, when are you going to leave her?” Erica snarled in a hushed voice.

“How can I?” Stanley replied, looking shiftily over his shoulder in case the others were within hearing distance. They were all laughing and joking in the lounge, totally oblivious to the absence of their hostess and her private secretary.

“Easy. Just walk out the door and leave her a note. Haven’t you heard Paul Simon’s song ‘Fifty ways to leave your lover’?”

Stanley was really fed up. He’d had enough. He’d dug himself a hole he couldn’t get out of. It was a silly office romance that should have been over as soon as it started. He knew that. Who on earth in their right mind has a romance with their boss anyway? Especially in his job in the Foreign Office. It could only ever lead to one thing: disaster.

Stanley whispered “Well, it would actually be easier to leave you.”

Erica looked horrified. “You know what that would mean, don’t you?”

Stanley nodded. “Oh yes. Indeed I do. I know how ruthless you can be. I know that you would find a way to get rid of me, and I know that you would make sure I never got another job anywhere else either. I was a fool ever getting involved with you.”

“You’re dead right! You had better hand in your resignation in the morning or I wonder what Jenny will say when I tell her about you and me?”

“You wouldn’t sink that low, surely Erica? It wouldn’t do your public image much good either for them to find out about us.”

When the others were leaving, Stanley gratefully accepted a lift to the station from one of the team. Erica scowled at him as he did. “No worries,” she said as he apologized for leaving before discussing the notes he had taken at the meeting and, giving him a meaningful look, she almost spat “We’ll catch up in my office first thing tomorrow morning.”

Sleeping restlessly that night he made a decision. Next morning he stayed in bed late, feigning a migraine. After calling Stanley’s office to say he was sick and administering paracetamol and tea, Jenny went off to work totally unsuspecting. Stanley leaped out of bed as he heard her car start, climbed into the loft to find a suitcase, then changed his mind.

He decided to leave everything and start over.

He showered and dressed quickly in jeans, polo shirt and trainers. Within five minutes he had thrown a few things into a rucksack. Then he grabbed his anorak, slipped his passport, mobile phone and wallet into his pockets, scribbled a note and left it on the kitchen table.

“I’m sorry Jenny. It’s not working any more. I have to go. You can keep everything. Don’t try to find me. I will contact you through a solicitor.  I am really, really sorry.  Have a good life, you deserve better than me. Stan.”

Then without picking up his keys, he walked out of the front door and closed it behind him.  There was no going back.

Stanly walked to the tube station. At St Pancras he bought a one way ticket to Paris and a Daily Telegraph.


As he walked away from the Gare du Nord Stanley was whistling the chorus of Paul Simon’s song. He crossed over to the Café du Nord, ordered an espresso and sat outside in the sun. He picked up his mobile and texted. Half an hour later, he was still sitting there reading his copy of Le Figaro when Nicole came up behind him and cupped her hands over his eyes. His heart skipped a beat, as it always did whenever he saw her again.

Nicole had been like a breath of fresh air to him. He would meet her every few months when he was in Paris on business. He had met her for the first time three years ago at an art gallery where her paintings were being exhibited. He had fallen for her instantly. She had charmed him with her delightful laugh and musical voice. She entranced him. She was a free spirit, a will o’ the wisp. It wasn’t long before he asked her out for a drink. She readily accepted. Within days they were having an affair. He would find as many reasons to go to Paris as he could, sometimes at the weekend, pretending to Jenny that it was more business.

Stanley turned around. Her beautiful dark curly hair was tumbling over her tanned shoulders, just tickling the edge of her hot-pink strapless top. Her matching bright pink lipstick glistened on her full lips, her dark eyes were sparkling. Stanley couldn’t resist her. He could never resist her. He stood up to take her in his arms and kiss her.

Est il un fait accompli, Pierre? (You’ve done it then, Peter?)” she giggled, as he rose. “Tu as déserté ta femme, et quitté ton emploi? (You’ve left your wife, and your job?)

Oui. Je suis ici enfin. Je suis tout à toi au dernier. Nous pouvons maintenant habiter ensemble. Je vais chercher un emploi à Paris. (Yes. I am here now. I am all yours at last. We can now live together. I’ll get a job in Paris.)”

Nicole dodged his kiss and pulled away.

Ah, mais non! Je suis marié maintenant. Tu es trop tard. (I am married now. You’ve left it too late.)

© Jezebel Myschka 2015
Creative Writing homework July 2015 “He decided to leave everything and start over”