Image: Envy © by Iza-nagi
Vera returned home to find Ernest sitting at the breakfast bar, a coffee in one hand and a chocolate biscuit in the other.
He had that supercilious look on his face, one Vera had grown to despise in recent times.
He announced as she came into the kitchen that he had secured a job at the local Gonners store.
Vera looked at him and asked, “Doing what?”
“I’m on the paint counter, helping with the paint and assisting people with colour selection,” replied Ernest feeling he had, at last, managed to gain a foot hole in their waning relationship.
“But you know nothing about paint. You’ve never painted a thing in your life. So you conned your way into this job?”
“They were looking for an older man. They want to believe an older man can instil confidence in their customers.”
“Ernest you are unbelievable. You convinced them you knew something about paint? How?”
“I told them I had renovated several houses, and I have.”
“You engaged a builder every time, and I was the one who organised the painting. You’ll come undone again I can see it. I suppose the more they stroked your ego the further you went with it all?
With that, Ernest shut up realising he was on thin ice so took himself outside to finish his coffee.
Vera retreated to her room and thought about her morning with Mary. Mary had revealed far more than Vera expected, she was anticipating a quiet morning, some coffee and teacake and the exchange of pleasantries.
It was clear to her that Mary was after a friend, as was Vera, but it developed far quicker than Vera thought it might.
Mary’s revelations about Ray had struck a nerve with her. She too had been wronged but in a different way. Vera had always been aware of the precarious nature of her relationship with Ernest. He was a shallow man, driven in business to achieve and be better than the next guy. She was well aware of his propensity to walk over anyone in his way. She saw her role within the marriage to support him and provide him with a confidante. She had stroked his ego, been at his beck and call and had tried at every turn to be the devoted, attentive wife.
When things went bad, firstly the scandal focusing on his financial advise to his clients and if that wasn’t bad enough the news that he and his secretary had been having an affair had cut her to the quick.
Up until then, Vera had been sure she could ride out the scandal with her husband.
Now with the news of his deceit, she felt such a fool. She’d trusted him believing he was a part of the machine that made up their marriage.
She felt outraged and humiliated at the same time. She’d made so many special efforts to maintain the marriage, dressed to the nines to make him proud of her, organised dinners for him and clients, had prepared late night dinners for him when he’d worked late, had always been willing in bed to satisfy him.
They had everything they needed materially; it was as much a desire to love her husband and show him she did that motivated her.
It was a month before the news hit that she began to notice Ernest was distracted, he stopped talking to her, appeared moody most of the time, came home later each evening, ate very little and said he was tired and wanted to go to bed rather than spend any time with her.
She saw the loneliness descending on her and soon began to understand why she was feeling isolated in their marriage.
It was a dreadful time for her, and she was determined that from now on she would be holding the reins to the Winston-Jones carriage.
Earlier parts to the story can be read here: