Envy © by Iza-nagi
Mary Dowd saw she was getting new neighbours, and she couldn’t help but spy through the window as the removalists unpacked and carried their possessions into the house. She sat far enough back so as not to be obvious to anyone who ventured a glance her way.
Here were so many boxes marked kitchen and dining room, an impressive leather lounge and a bed head she immediately coveted.
The new neighbours were obviously well off, that was clear, and she looked around her humble abode and suddenly wished she’d insisted Ray had painted the lounge room before he left.
Ray’s departure for a much younger woman had crushed her since believing their marriage was solid and would last forever.
Out of shame, Mary had isolated herself inside the house.
She kept the front door locked, and the thought of having to front her new neighbours with all their perfect possessions and admit to failure in her marriage was too much to contemplate.
Then something caught her eye. An antique vase was removed from a box and placed on a stand near the side window. Immediately she felt that twang of jealousy as she had had one a long time ago. It had been given to her by her grandmother, and she’d treasured it up until the day Ray in a fit of anger had knocked it flying. She’d cried for days after. Thankfully her Grandmother was long dead by then, and she only had to shoulder the grief of her own disappointment.
But the sight of it brought back so many memories.
Then from the back of the truck came an unexpected item, a full-size harp, carefully carried into the house and she felt even more intimidated as her musical tastes were restricted to the Easy Listening radio station now playing in the background.
Over the morning as she watched she was aware of so many nice things disappearing into the house. She thought how it would be to have new things, not the worn out lounge, the dining room table and chairs that had had more repairs done than she cared to remember.
Even her cups and sauces had chips out of them. How could she possibly invite them in for afternoon tea with such a terrible kitchen to sit them in when theirs would be resplendent with Royal Doulton and what have you?
A knock on the door awoke her from her troubles.
She waited a few moments making sure she was dressed properly, buttons all in the right holes, hair in some semblance of order before she opened the door.
There stood a woman she assumed to be her new neighbour.
The woman was dressed to the nines and was, she surmised, about her age.
“Hello,” said the lady in front of her, “I’m Vera Winston- Jones. My husband and I have just moved in next door, and I was wondering, apart from introducing myself if you would have some sugar I might borrow. We have driven over this morning, and it’s been such a long day, we are both famished and somewhere in a box is our sugar, but I can’t lay a hand on it. Would you mind, ah, Mrs?
“Dowd, Mary Dowd. Of course, no trouble I’ll be right back,” said Mary seething inside, as she didn’t look a patch on Mrs Winston-Jones with her fancy double name. Even the cup she brought with her was flawless, spotlessly clean and looked like it had never been out its box.
She returned with the sugar and hurriedly saw Vera off saying she was about to go out, the Art Gallery Board meeting was on, and she was running late.
With Vera gone she sat back down and breathed a sigh of relief mixed with her own disappointment as she hated art and what possessed her to make a statement such as did was beyond her.
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