Deep down, the realistic part of me always knew that one day this would happen. I suppose that the inevitable is always, well, inevitable. But even so it was still a big blow, and a really massive shock when she announced her intentions.
I imagine it’s normal that when a loved one throws an unpinned hand grenade into the mix, the injured persons’ thoughts go into reflective mode.
So here goes ….
I’d met Suzy in a delightfully sleazy wine bar, just off the high street. It wasn’t my usual haunt, but I and a few others thought we’d give it a try after work. It had been an exacting week, and we were all pretty much burnt out, so a few glasses of red would be a welcome sight.
Suzy was already in the bar when we turned up. She was sitting alone, back against the wall tapping her phone, with a bottle of Chilean Merlot and just a single glass on the table before her. I remember that she glanced up when we noisily burst through the entrance, all giggles, and laughter, letting off steam. Although we were all of mature age, we still could act like
teenagers when given the chance!
My group settled down at a long wooden table. I arranged my seat so that I could get a good view of this lonesome woman. Our eyes met on several occasions. Eventually, she smiled directly at me, and slightly raised her glass. I smiled back and returned the gesture. But it was soon time to go. My companions, Joan, Ian, and Alice drained the remainder of their glasses and stood up. I stayed sitting. I said to the trio that I was staying for one last drink, and I’d make my own way home. Neither of them tried to persuade me otherwise, they all knew me too well!
As soon as my crew had left the bar. Suzy glanced up and with a slight nod of her head she gracefully sidled over to me with a bottle in one hand and her wine glass in the other. As she sat close to me, a waft of Chanel Number 5 engulfed us. I looked at her intently. She had long brown hair loose around her shoulders and she was wearing a tight navy-blue skirt and a bright white shirt. A silk formal blue jacket was casually slipped over her shoulders. I guessed that she was probably in her mid-twenties.
She poured me a drink. I watched as her perfectly manicured fingers tenderly caressed her bottle. We chatted. She told me that her name was Suzy and that she worked in IT. She seemed genuinely impressed when I told her about my role as a Lead Nurse in the local NHS hospital.
It seemed only natural that she would end up in my bed.
Suzy moved in exactly three weeks later. Her wardrobe was vast and her makeup and perfume filled the house. It was a blissful period for me. We shared a love of the arts, theatre, fine wine and gourmet food. During the week Suzy worked long hours, so when I had my weekend off, we made the most of our time together. We jointly purchased a fancy
convertible red Mercedes, and with the roof down, like a modern-day Thelma and Louise, we visited stately homes, art galleries and we ate in five-star restaurants.
We celebrated Suzy’s twenty-fifth at the London Landmark Hotel with champagne and truffles. It was a brilliant day and evening, but as the day wore on it only highlighted to me our age gap. I was pushing forty-five and as much as I tried, with the help of an array of expensive cosmetics, my years were starting to show through. As I was getting ready to go out, I saw myself reflected in the bathroom mirror. To my horror, I could see I was growing ‘bingo wings’, a startling symbol of approaching middle age!
Time drifted on, and although I tried hard to park my suspicions, Suzy began spending a lot of time away. ‘Working’, she told me, but I couldn’t help feeling that something or someone was getting in between us and pulling us apart.
It was a Tuesday. Suzy arrived home early. I had just finished my shift, and I had swiftly changed into my ‘civilian’ clothes. She was plainly preoccupied, her eyes flitted around the room. I heard her draw breath.
She was leaving.
After it had all spilled out, Suzy clutched a cushion to her stomach and stared blankly ahead. I turned away as a sharp pain formed and began stabbing, relentlessly inside my forehead.
After several minutes of total silence, I eventually found my voice. So, who is it, I demanded? I interrogated her with the usual questions; is it anyone I know? Where did you meet? How long has this been going on? Is it someone younger than me? Still silent, Suzy continued to clutch onto her cushion. Finally, she turned towards me, with glistening eyes, she spoke softly, only slightly above a whisper. I strained hard to hear her.
Then came the second bombshell, and this was no hand grenade, this was a full-on mortar shell.
You know, as unbearable as it was for me, I could understand her leaving me for a younger model. Someone nearer her own age with similar interests, that’s only natural. But I wasn’t expecting this. She wasn’t taking up with some famous musician, or high-flying CEO of a public company. No, this was a hell of a lot worse.
Suzy was abandoning me for a man!