This is a true tale that happened when I was in my early 20’s – I knew I had to write as soon as I saw the prompt for Wicked Wednesday was coffee…
In my experience it’s usually a good idea to go into work between Christmas and the new year. Invariably the boss would let the staff leave early. That year was no exception. I arrived home while it was still light and sat down in the sitting room with a cup of coffee. Glancing up I marvelled at the amount of Christmas cards we had received – independently, and as a couple – that year. I had recently started a new job, and Seb a degree in the city, plus part-time work. This was probably why we had received more cards than normal. They were hanging around the room on a string, providing decoration.
My eyes fell on one in particular. While very similar to many others, something about it made my stomach flutter with nerves. Reaching up I tipped it from the string and it fell on the sofa. My cat pounced, disturbed from his slumber. Grabbing it I read the inscription inside.
Dear Seb. Have a Happy Christmas, Love Susan x.
I vaguely remembered he had mentioned someone of that name working at the local supermarket where he had a part-time job. Looking down at her cursive, unsophisticated, writing style I wondered why my stomach had lurched.
I jumped as the phone rang.
“Hi, am I talking to May?”
“Yes, who’s calling?”
“You don’t know me but your husband’s been sleeping with my wife, Susan. I thought you should know.”
He stated this, very articulately, as if he had practised the words many times before calling.
I sat down. Breathing heavily, I quietly replied,
“Thank you for telling me.”
I felt sick, my body began to shake as I picked up the card and read it again. How had this happened? I trusted Seb. We had 3 years of history together. He told me constantly that he loved me.
Why would he do such a thing? When and where had they been having their affair?
I never questioned for one moment if the man on the phone had fabricated events. My gut told me he was telling the truth. As soon as I heard his voice I knew what he was about to say.
Coffee with Brandy!
My mind began to race and I knew I couldn’t be alone. Running down to the neighbours’ house I blurted out what I knew. They looked at me, incredulous.
“Are you sure?” June queried.
I nodded as Rob handed me a coffee.
“I’ve put a nip of brandy in it,” he said, “for the shock.”
Clasping the warm mug I sipped the liquid staring at a spot in the distance. June put a sympathetic arm around me.
Shortly there was a knock at the door and Seb walked in. These neighbours were friends of ours. I looked at him and tears sprang from nowhere.
“I think you better take her home,” Rob stated.
Grabbing my handbag I rushed past him and back up the street to our house. He followed.
Once inside I accused him.
“Susan’s husband called…why would you do that to us?”
He didn’t deny anything.
“It meant nothing. I just wanted to be close to her. You are always so distant with me. I don’t love her, I love you. “
“That’s the way you love me?” I screamed, picking up a nearby hardback book and flinging it at him. The cat fled past my feet as I continued to shout obscenities.
He stood there and took it all, offering no further defence. I felt exhausted. Grabbing my holdall I went upstairs, packed a few supplies and headed for the front door.
“P-p-please,” he stuttered. “Please, don’t leave, I don’t want her, I want you, its always been you,” he begged, sobbing.
He reached for my arm. I pushed him away and headed for my car. Standing in the middle of the road to block my departure Seb held his hands out. I turned on the engine and drove straight at him. Sidestepping out of the way he watched me drive past. Glancing in the rear-view mirror I saw him stood on the pavement, hands in his trouser pockets, like a lost child.
Tears streamed down my face – I sobbed for the whole journey to my friend’s house.
“Whatever has happened?”
Slightly trembling, yet all out of tears, I slowly relayed the chain of events to her, arms crossed, clutching at my elbows.
My mouth was dry. I licked my lips and looked up. She realised I was thirsty, dehydrated from the trauma.
“Oh you poor love, let me get you a coffee, I’ll put a drop of brandy in it for you, it should help with the shock.”
Read another true tale from my younger days…