My husband left me just over two years ago. He simply disappeared. Perhaps “disappeared” is not the right word because he left a note saying he was going. He never said where to. He’d had enough. To all intents and purposes I might as well have been a widow. Except a widow has a dead body and can start the grieving process. I was still waiting for him to come back months later.
Now I realize I have to face the cold truth. I grasped the future with both hands and booked a two week vacation to an island resort. Imagine that! Golden sands, palm trees, coral reefs! I can relax for the first time in ages. Besides, now that I am up to facing reality, who knows if I might meet Mr Right? Wouldn’t that be fun? As they used to say before it became a cliché – “Today is the first day of the rest of your life!”
Now at last I’m here. It’s not raining! It’s warm, sunny, and beautiful. There is the pool just out the French doors of the apartment I rent. One can get meals delivered to the door, but at present I prefer to go to the communal refectory. It’s an opportunity to meet new people. Every time I go – breakfast, lunch, and dinner – I say to myself “I wonder if I shall meet Mr Right this time!”
But now I’ve just come back from the refectory. I’m packing. I’m leaving this tropical paradise. I know it was him. It was my husband. He was helping himself to a generous spoonful of scrambled eggs plopped on lashings of butter on toast. I don’t think he saw me; he was too intent on his food. It was definitely my husband. Unquestionably.
So on the day he left me who the heck did I shoot in the back?
Curtis and Miriam hadn’t actually frozen to death throughout the winter, but they were never warm, never cosy. The wood burner in the house worked well enough, but they had to ration the firewood to make it last throughout the winter. The next winter they wouldn’t be caught out. They lived on the edge of a pine forest, so the coming summer would be a time to collect, chop and stack firewood.
Come summer, and Curtis and Miriam put several hours a day into the firewood. By autumn, they had enough firewood to keep the fire going all day every day throughout the winter.
That was when they received a notice from their landlord to vacate the house in several weeks. It was needed. It would no longer be rented.
Curtis and Miriam looked everywhere for another house to rent. The only suitable one didn’t have a wood burner. It had a heat pump. They moved in. They sold their firewood.
Come winter, on the proceeds from the firewood, they had a wonderful two weeks basking in the sun on a tropical island.
Julia and Blair were having the time of their lives. They had been blessed with a more than comfortable life and had visited most places around the world. Of course, they had always been generous. Frequently they had been privileged to make rather large donations to the lesser privileged places they had visited.
It was a silly thing, but they had never visited a tropical island! So off they went to some golden-sanded beach on an island somewhere near Rarotonga. It was glorious! One evening they attended a traditional concert. Young men and women performed wearing traditional grass skirts and garlands. What a wonderful event! And the young man who served the cocktails at their table! Well! What a delightful native fellow! And so fluent in English as well as in Cook Island Maori!
It was such a shame that he was stuck on the island wearing all that grass and having to serve cocktails to tourists. Julia and Blair discussed the matter quietly between themselves and decided to surprise him. They would pay for his education!
The young man was thrilled! Utterly thrilled! He’d been working his fingers to the bone all summer so he could finish off his degree this coming semester. He was at Cambridge University and doing his doctorate on the influence of Euripides on the plays of Racine.