The continuation of a story written last month by another member of our Creative Writing Group. We swapped stories and continued each other’s this month.
Mary took a deep breath, drew herself up to her full height, and screamed. It was a loud scream. It was a piercing scream. It was a scream that said, ‘I am not getting my way and I don’t like it’. She knew there was no-one around to hear. She knew that by the time her husband arrived home she would be composed and calm but just in this moment, she was able to vent her true emotions, which were anger and frustration. Why? She was not getting her own way.
Mary was spoilt. Had always been totally spoilt by her parents, especially her mother, her teachers and then by her wonderful, handsome young husband. He had never seen her angry because he never went against her, well that was until today, but even then, on the phone. This was a wise decision, more of necessity than planning but never-the-less a good decision because he didn’t have to face her and see her reaction. Of course, what he didn’t know was that he was not witnessing her screams.
Mary attempted another scream but actually found she was getting quite hoarse, so clutching her neck, as if she had been grabbed by the throat, she rushed to the bathroom to gargle gently with some soluble Aspirin, hoping to soother the strain she had administered to herself in the few seconds after putting the phone down.
Mary sat on the toilet seat, thinking about what had transpired in the last five to ten minutes. How could he upset her so much in so short a time? It was unbelievable and just so unfair. She was so looking forward to them going out together that evening, to the celebration of two friends who were getting engaged. She had been to the town, bought a wonderful outfit from the Heart Foundation Charity shop. It was almost new, hardly worn, made by a famous designer she was told (the label had been removed) and fitted her perfectly. The colour was stunning and contrasted so well with her full head of beautiful dark hair. She felt wonderful and knew that she looked the same. No-one ever thought she was in her early sixties. With her trim figure and immaculate skin, she was a sight to behold, whether in suits or tee shirts and jeans.
This was the problem. Her handsome young husband, Guy, now approaching forty, fair hair and loads of it, blue eyes and a sweet cheeky smile when he was not just looking … handsome, was adored by everyone, including Mary, BUT he was such a threat to her and she had felt this more and more as they both got older. Now, the decision he had made today, that he was not going to the celebration, work having caught up with him and he had to work into the evening, was too much for Mary. She knew his work was important, he was a surgeon at the local hospital, he hardly ever had to work extra hours in the evenings but there were some occasions when he had no choice. Thankfully they had never clashed with something Mary wanted …er… no, was determined, to do.
It was strange because Mary was very proud of Guy’s work and position but that was when he was with her and that was when she was at her best. He gave her the confidence she needed. In their early married life, when he had been very young and training, they had a bed and breakfast establishment which Mary loved. She ran the whole thing like clockwork and behaved as lady of the manor, enjoying playing the part and even the housekeeping chores and of course the breakfasts which she was so proud of. She made many friends during that time and she was still in touch with some of them, although some were not in her ‘class’ these days, with Guy becoming such a famous surgeon in the area.
Mary, still on the toilet seat, holding her throat, realising how stupid she had been but still very angry and determined to ‘do’ something, although quite what, she wasn’t sure. How could she go to the celebration without Guy? She’d never done that before, but this time, with such an important event (she believed) she felt she should go… just to show him that she was not dependent on him. This was revolutionary for Mary…
So, at ten to six, Mary stood admiring herself in her cheval mirror, twirling around each way. She knew she looked stunning in her new scarlet dress, having had her flowing dark locks freshly styled at the salon in town and long nails manicured and painted to match her dress. She was going to be positive. She was going to make the best of the party. No, better than that, she was going to have a good time. She heard a beeping noise outside. Her taxi was early. She grabbed her matching red handbag and the fake ermine stole she had found in the Marie Curie Charity shop last week and ran downstairs out to the waiting taxi.
She felt a bit overawed when she first walked into the big marquee. She couldn’t see her two friends and she didn’t recognise anyone. She walked over to the bar to buy a drink. It was very busy, bustling with men waiting to be served or leaning against the bar chatting and laughing with their mates. She took a fiver from her purse and waved it around a bit. She thought that was what you did to attract the bartender’s attention, but she wasn’t sure. When they went out together Guy always bought the drinks while she waited at the table. The bar men just ignored her. She inched further forward, stretching her arm nearer to the bar. Surely the bartender must see her.
“Let me buy you a drink, pretty lady,” a voice to her right said, expertly summoning the bartender. “What are you having?”
“Oh, thank you so much,” Mary replied. “I thought the bartender would never see me. I’d like a large glass of Shiraz please. But I will pay for it, not you.”
The man laughed. “No, It’s MY treat,” he said. “Anyway, how long is it since you bought a glass of wine? A fiver sure won’t cover it!”
“My husband usually buys the drinks,” Mary confessed, feeling highly embarrassed.
The man ordered the drinks and turned to Mary. “Guy’s a lucky man being married to you,” he said.. “You look amazing. Where is he tonight then?”
Mary was surprised that the man knew her. “You know my husband? He had to work late.”
“I am your postman, Barry Matthews,” he said, offering her his hand. “I often see him when I am delivering your post. We quite often stop and chat. I recognised you immediately. I say hello to you when you’re pottering around in your garden sometimes. You probably would have recognised me if I were wearing my postman’s uniform,” he said laughingly.
Mary blushed. She felt very foolish now. “I am so sorry,” she apologised. “I recognise you now. You have a classic car, don’t you? Guy told me all about it.”
Barry paid for the drinks that had just arrived, handed Mary her glass of wine and shepherded her away from the bar and to an empty secluded table in the far corner of the room. Mary started to feel a bit more comfortable. She chose a seat facing towards the room and sat down.
“So how to you know Wendy and Mick?” she asked.
“I’m their postman too. I seem to have gathered a lot of friends since I started doing this job when I was made redundant from my proper job a couple of years ago. I used to be an accountant, you know, and didn’t get much chance to chat to people while I was doing my job. I rather like being a postman and I feel much fitter than I did when I was sitting at a desk for at least ten hours a day. So much pressure, so much stress… I’ve been stress free since they gave me my redundancy. So what do you do? That’s a lovely big house you live in.”
Mary told Barry she was retired now and that the house used to be a B&B when they first moved there. They sat chatting easily until they had nearly finished their drinks. They had almost forgotten that Wendy and Mick hadn’t arrived yet. Suddenly someone rang a bell asking for silence.
“Wendy and Mick won’t be coming tonight,” someone announced. “Something terrible has happened…”