On Tuesday he leaves me.
I arrive home from work around 3, check the chicken has defrosted I laid
out the night before, place the bag of fresh veg on the marble worktop.
That's when I see the note lying on the kitchen table, and the smudgy
handprint on the glass. I swear under my breath and get some polish
from under the kitchen sink.
I forget about the note as I begin preparing dinner. I use my marble
chopping board to neatly dice the carrots and onions and lay them out
on the casserole dish. I check the time. Roger is due in around 6 ,
although he has the irritating habit of never being on time. Despite
him knowing I like him to be sharp, he practically always arrives 10
When the casserole is in the oven I set about vacuuming the carpet in
the sitting room. It is an expensive pile and I like to ensure that
there are no lines left in either direction. It's quite time-consuming
but worth it.
This takes about 20 minutes or so . The polishing only takes around
another 15 minutes as I spent an hour on it yesterday. This works out
fine as I still have to touch up my makeup and lay the table. I have
bought some new place-mats and candles .Roger thinks it's too much fuss
every day of the week, but I like to make an effort. I open a nice
bottle of red wine and leave it to breathe. We only have one glass each
at dinner. Roger knows how I frown on overindulgence in that
Finally I put the potatoes on to boil at exactly 5.30 and prepare to lay
the out the place-mats, cutlery and candles. It's then I see the note
again, folded up.
Told you I'd had enough ,it reads. will pick up my stuff on Friday when
you're at work. P.S. Sorry about the smudge
I stand for a while staring at the note. Surely not, surely he isn't
serious? I quickly grab the phone and dial his office. Answering
service. I dial Mike, Roger's friend from golf. No, he hasn't seen him
and is everything ok?
I politely tell him everything's fine and I can't reach Roger at his
office, that's all. I carry on setting the table, sure that he will
arrive at ten past six as usual. At half-past six I'm washing the
kitchen floor as I have noticed the tiles have lost their shine from
Occasionally, I glance out the window , thinking I hear his car on the
gravel. I try ringing his office again, his parents and anyone I can
By Wednesday I am becoming preoccupied with worry. I hurry home at 3
with some fresh steaks-Roger's favourite. I don't particularly like him
eating too much red meat and I've told him so. I have decided, however,
that a nice treat now and again isn't so bad. I get in and check the
answering machine for messages. The bank has called for Roger. I stare
at the phone, wondering if it's working properly. I check but
disappointingly there is plenty of room for more messages. I call him
and get his answering machine.
I freshen up my make-up and begin vacuuming. I can't concentrate and
keep stopping to look out the window. I polish one room then give up
and lay the table. I put out two place-mats just in case and some
cutlery. I forget about the candles.
By 7 o'clock the steaks are lying cooked in the oven and I have opened a
bottle of wine and drank half of it.
On Thursday I'm feeling a bit ropey after drinking a whole bottle of
wine to myself the night before. I just about managed to clear away the
dishes before I went to bed but neglected to clean the oven. I make a
mental note to do it as soon as I get home.
I stay at work till 4 as I cant stand the thought of cooking for one. I
stop off at M&S and throw a ready meal into my basket .When I get home
I check the answering machine. “No new messages”. By now I have
realised that Roger's answering machine is permanently switched on so I
don't bother calling. I set the table for one but I can't eat the ready
meal although it looks nice. I stare at the vacuum cleaner and go into
the sitting room to watch TV. There are no dishes to wash and I'm
thankful for that. I completely forget about the oven.
On Friday morning I can hardly get out of bed through sheer exhaustion
.As well as tossing and turning throughout the night, I imagined I
could hear the phone ringing and jumped out of bed frantically every
time. I call in sick to work. My boss is full of concern as I haven't
had a sick day in 10 years. I get up, shower , and change but I don't
bother putting on my make-up. I make my way downstairs and lay on the
couch watching day-time tv. I end up crying over a woman on a chat show
who's husband has ran off with his therapist. I lay on the couch all
morning and cry, even though the people on tv are laughing.
In the middle of this , I hear someone come in. I look up from the sofa
and Mike is standing. He looks at the pile of hankies on the floor and
the used coffee cups on the table. I burst into tears again and he
walks over and sits down .He puts his arm around me and pulls me
towards him. I get snot on his shirt but he doesn't seem to care. He
loosens his tie and we lie side by side on the sofa, watching the
afternoon film. We decide to have a takeaway pizza for dinner, right
here in the front of the TV.