Vera woke and paused to take in her new surroundings. There was light coming through the curtains against the window for her to assume it was the beginning of a new day.
As she rolled over in her bed, her new reality loomed over her. Her single bed was uncomfortable, her back was aching, but she had chosen to move into the smallest bedroom leaving Ernest the larger of the bedrooms. Also, the bedroom she chose had a bathroom adjacent, and to Vera that was important.
The room had a built-in wardrobe, enough room for her small dressing table, her bed and her good self.
Everything had been sacrificed so they could have what they had now. A three-bedroom house in the suburbs, a place where she hoped to be anonymous.
Immediately she could feel the resentment towards Ernest returning. It had been all his selfish fault, his poor business decisions, his fling with his secretary and now this, a penniless existence surviving on their meagre savings. She had no idea how long they might last as money matters had always been controlled by her husband. That she decided was a terrible mistake she’d made in trusting him, and she was sure it wasn’t going to happen in the future. Already she had taken charge of their finances, putting what little money and assets they had into her name.
She could hear movement in the house and knew Ernest after their hushed argument last night was up. He’d promised to put together some bookshelves for her before he went out job hunting. There were a few pieces of timber in the old garage at the back of the house he thought would do the job.
By the time Vera ventured out of bed and put her face on, appearances were important for Vera, no matter your circumstances, Ernest had constructed a sturdy set of shelves for her.
He was all ready to go out and dressed more casually than she’d seen him in such a long time. He said goodbye as she was switching on the kettle.
In recent times their only communication had been through argument. She found no reason to be civil to him but plenty of cause to be hostile.
She heard him drive off and realised she had the house to herself.
With a coffee in hand, she sat and looked out though the back window. Behind the house was a farm, stretching across an expanse of green to another road.
Vera thought the view was pleasant, at least something here might be bearable she thought.
She didn’t know how long she and Ernest might survive, but they were in no position to split when together they had nothing, divided it would be less than that.
Her mind turned to her neighbour Mary Dowd. A strange woman, seemingly meek and scared was her first impression. Hospitable enough but not in any warm, welcoming way. She wondered if all the residents in the street were the same?
From Vera’s first impressions there didn’t appear to be a Mr Dowd and Vera thought maybe it was possible to survive on your own. Though she did note that Mary Dowd didn’t appear to take much care of her appearance.
Vera spent her morning unpacking boxes, the kitchen firstly as she needed to get that organised, plus the items she needed for her room and bathroom. The rest she left either where they had been dumped by the removalists or in Ernest’s room.
At the bottom of a box marked ‘miscellaneous’, she found the sugar and her mind turned to her neighbour. Looking at the clock she saw it was close to morning teatime, she could return the sugar and take in the teacake she had bought on her way from her previous life.