Image: Envy © by Iza-nagi
Mary stood at the door watching Vera disappear up the path and back to her house. It had been a far more enjoyable morning than Mary anticipated.
Vera was not unlike herself. Once you stripped away the pearl necklace and matching ear-rings Vera was a very down to earth woman.
Once the pleasantries had been spoken, it was question time. How long had Mary lived there? What did she do with herself? How close were the shops? Was there a David Jones store nearby?
Each woman had a story, and it surprised Mary when she glanced at the clock to see two hours had passed.
Despite the privileged life Vera had led underneath she was a woman damaged, with needs and desires the same as everyone else.
She was surprised by Vera’s attention to her answers. Mary had lived a solitary life, she didn’t mix all that well and Ray had made her life a nightmare with his demands and criticism. His leaving, had in fact, been a great relief for Mary.
With his drinking releasing his inner demons she had walked in fear of him for many years. Social outings were edged with trepidation less he drank too much, and in a social setting, he was not adverse to levelling criticism and sarcasm her way.
So often towards the end of their marriage, she had felt so belittled by him she would actively seek excuses not to go out with him.
This didn’t help as he used her excuses to further rage against her.
By this time unbeknownst to Mary, Ray had engaged in a full-on affair with Maggie Jupp, a client he had been doing a lot of plumbing work for.
When the time came, and he announced his intention to leave her he bombarded her with every fault he perceived she had.
She didn’t satisfy him, she was slovenly, she was the world’s worse cook, her dress sense was shocking, and an embarrassment and she’d let herself go such she’d become a millstone around his neck.
His life was one long, dull event thanks to her. As a result, once he was gone, she had retreated into the house finding little reason to go out and be recognised as the failed woman she was sure others saw her as.
Mary was aware that depression had descended upon her but had not sought any help being essentially too afraid to go out and admit failure to anyone.
So she stowed herself away, living a life of organised routine pretending she was okay and pushing all thoughts of her hurt from Ray out of her mind.
Vera had listened and now understood why Mary looked so challenged when she first knocked on her door.
To Vera, Mary was a step or two ahead of her even if Mary didn’t see herself as any sort of free woman.
Mary’s story had given Vera strength to tell her story as well.
Earlier parts can be read here: