Marcy braced herself behind the wheel of her low slung sports car.
She breathed deeply and tried to get the butterflies in her stomach to at least fly in formation! She smiled in spite of herself at her friend Joey’s stand by comment whenever her life was chaotic……..a cliché but somehow it gave her respite from the fear that had been growing in her like a cancer, for the past year.
She had found out just by chance (isn’t that the way it always is she thought sadly) that Mac, her beloved husband of 7 years, had another woman in his life.
A careless remark at a corporate dinner, a guilty glance and it was as clear as daylight.
She had kept her ghastly realisation to herself. After that first year of marriage she had adapted, changed, and become, in the demanding, corporate world, at last a serious ‘player’.
So she had strategized carefully and was finally making her move. This one, and she laid her head on her hands clasped together almost in prayer on top of her steering wheel.
In her initial terror she had quietly consulted a private detective who charged exorbitant rates to get results in a secret manner. The address she was parked in front of right now was his careful work but from now on the action belonged to her.
Marcy had dressed carefully for this confrontation. She wore a designer jacket, nipped in at her slender waist, with a new crisp white shirt tucked into impeccably cut jeans, the price of which would feed a family in a township for a week.
She could well afford each item. Her salary allowed her any extravagances that she wanted to indulge in.
She was surprised at the modest block of flats with an unkempt exterior. A stray dog lifted its leg against a broken wall.
She had to climb the dingy staircase to find number 12 (thank goodness it wasn’t number 13…once again she thought of Joey’s silly superstitions!)
With her heart threatening to jump out of her chest and banging like a base drum, she knocked.
The most that could be said of the woman who answered the door, was that she was clean, even her fingernails, Marcy noticed. She wore crumpled track suit pants all bagged out at the knees. Her shiny hair, it must be said, was scraped up into a pony tail on top of her head which made her face with glasses perched on her nose, almost cute. But she was well past the cute age and Marcy could count the lines tracked across the woman’s forehead and lines like brackets enclosed her straight lips.
The woman drew herself up, removed her spectacles and said in a quiet, modulated voice, ‘At last we meet Marcy, you had better come in.’
Flabbergasted, Marcy did a faint movement to go in, then withdrew. It looked like an awkward dance and then she followed the woman, her husband’s ‘OTHER woman’ into her plain home.
‘I’ll make tea,’ she said as Marcy took in the furniture that had been in the shops 20 years before. No cushion had been selected to brighten up the place.
A simple computer sat in a patch of sunshine on the end of a plain table…. A burning cigarette sat in an ashtray next to it. Smoke curled up lazily.
‘Milk? Sugar?’ asked Muriel, the name she had learned from the private detective, as she pushed a cup of poured black tea across the table at Marcy.
‘I’m not a threat you know Marcy,’ she said, ‘ I am, to put it plainly who YOU used to be.’ She picked up her cigarette and blew smoke out through her nostrils.
‘I met Mac whilst I was on assignment in the medical emergency field in Afghanistan. He told me how you had put your marriage on hold for six months while you helped to rebuild a school in hurricane torn Mumbai. He told me of the Women’s Shelter you established and of the Save the Children project that was your passion in Africa.
Then you married and gradually you lost the spark he fell in love with.’ She inhaled deeply and added milk to her cup….’and I can see what happened. Her cigarette lazily made a circle around Marcy’s polished, beautiful body perched stiffly on a rickety chair. She flicked her wrist through the window at the Porsche surrounded by curious kids.
‘There is no competition Marcy.’
‘I must go,’ gasped Marcy and in a fluid movement was at the door. She fumbled with the awkward lock until Muriel reached past her and opened it for her.
‘All the best Marcy,’ she said quietly.
After 36 hours of non- stop wrestling with her emotions and thoughts she sighed deeply and picked up the phone.
The number that the private detective had given her rang for 10 seconds.....then her familiar voice said.
‘This was the number of Marcy Murphy. She has relocated permanently to Peru.’
fiction The loud CLICK said ‘over to you Marcy.’
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