Image: Envy © by Iza-nagi
Vera looked out the car window as she and her husband Ernest arrived in front of their new home.
This place was such a come down from the beach side mansion they had had to sell. Ernest stopped the car at the kerb, and they sat a moment, the silence between them was thick with resentment.
In the previous months through a series of scandals and poor investments, they had lost everything. Their luxury home was gone, their position in society and self-esteem shattered and Vera wanted nothing more than to hide and pretend it was all a bad dream.
Ernest had done some really dumb things the biggest in Vera’s eyes was having a fling with his secretary who dumped him once she realised there was no future for her hanging around a man fast becoming a big-time loser.
The humiliation had brought Vera undone. She believed she and Ernest had worked together to provide for themselves and their now grown children.
Now she felt worthless as if everything she stood for meant nothing. She’d moved out of the bedroom leaving her husband in no doubt as to how she felt about him and everything he had done to destroy her life.
The sale of their home, her pride and joy, had well and truly guttered her along with the realisation of the massive debts he had accumulated. So many of her possessions she’d had to sacrifice to help clear their debts.
Somehow they had scraped together enough to borrow to buy the house she now sat in front of. In the financial world, Ernest’s name was mud. His job prospects menial, at best. She’d berated him about their plight and told him to go out and find some sort of a job as she’d suffered enough humiliation without having to sell off the few precious things she was left with.
She never imagined herself as a suburban housewife but now she took in what it was they had sunk to. At least she thought it was a brick building as she surveyed the house next door, a drab weatherboard place with an over grown garden. Please, she thought don’t let me stoop to that. The garden at their new place was modest, but she’d decided manageable, and as they couldn’t now employ a gardener it was to be up to her to maintain it.
The removals van had backed into the driveway, and two grubby men in overalls had begun moving what was left of their lives into the house.
They weren’t quite destitute, but they weren’t far off it.
She went inside and watched as the men dumped boxes marked kitchen and dining room in their respective rooms. One box marked Nanna she opened and took from it a vase and placed it on a stand near the side window. She wanted it out of the box and in a place of safety. She’d worry about the exact location later. The vase was important to her, as it was a gift from her grandmother and the only heirloom she could keep from the auctioneer’s hammer.
Ernest was fussing about shifting boxes to bedrooms and stressing over the move as around him the removals men continued to dump boxes in any space they could find.
This house was not going to be big enough, and she began worrying about how was she going to cope amidst the clutter she saw growing by the second.
It was a three-bedroom house, small rooms, high ceilings; one bathroom and small closet she had thought would be best used as a linen press.
In the kitchen, she found a box-marked kitchen and opening it took out the kettle and plugged it in. Further searching discovered the tea and a few cups but no sugar.
Vera was in no mood for prolonged searching at that point and opened a box she knew held a new dinner set her daughter had given her the Christmas before.
She’d noticed movement over at her neighbours and so decided to go and ask if she could borrow some sugar. How the mighty have fallen, she thought as she took her cup in hand and knocked on her neighbour’s door.
Mary Dowd looked startled when she opened the door, took her cup and returned with some sugar. Hesitant introductions made and Mary’s statement about the Art Gallery raised Vera’s eyebrows, as she didn’t know there was an Art Gallery in this part of town.
Truth be known Vera thought so much modern art was pretentious rubbish and she only attended openings with Ernest when it was in their business interests.
Returning to her house, eager for a cup of tea she wondered how she might cope in this house, this backwater and with a husband she now despised.