Image: Envy © by Iza-nagi
Vera met Mary at her front door sporting the biggest of grins.
She took Mary in and invited her to sit in the sunroom while she made the tea. Mary carrying her mornings baking did so eagerly awaiting Vera’s news. Big grins usually meant big news in Mary’s estimation.
“You wouldn’t believe what I saw this morning,” said Vera setting down the teapot and two cups which Mary immediately saw were not Royal Doulton.
“Goodness,” replied Mary, “ something has certainly tickled your fancy.”
Vera was having trouble stifling her giggles and finally managed to settle herself enough to tell Mary the reason.
“I came out to get my breakfast, and there was Ernest dressed ready for work. He had on his uniform; he’s gone to work at Gonners just down the street. Apparently, he talked them into giving him a job on the paint counter as he made out he knew about paint. The only thing he knows about paint is, it comes in a tin, and you put it on with a brush.
But that’s not why I was laughing. On his chest was his nametag. Only it didn’t say Ernest, it said Ernie.
Now when you meet Ernest, and I’m sure you will at some unlucky stage, you’ll discover that he is very much an Ernest. In fact, up until now, he would yell at anyone who dared to call him Ernie. He believed Ernest gave him a sense of superiority and class. Yes, Mary very much up himself.
He told me Gonners wanted to have him known as Ernie as it was much less formal than Ernest and Ernie was more a name people might connect with and feel more confident when receiving advice.
Oh, how I’d love to be a fly on the wall when he tries to give out advice.”
“Well,” said Mary, “I can see why you are finding all this so humorous. But I can see too that for Ernest it must be humiliating as well.”
“Oh Mary, please don’t feel sorry for him. He deceived not only me but also every client he had each of who trusted him completely. He’s not only destroyed their lives but mine as well. He deserves every indignity.”
Mary could see Vera’s point and sipped on her tea looking around the room. She spotted the vase she had seen when Vera had moved in. She got up and wandered across the room to have a closer inspection.
It was a beautiful piece so like the one Ray had smashed. The only difference was the roses on Vera’s vase were a beautiful mauve where her’s had been pink.
“I had one very similar,” said Mary, “my grandmother left it for me. It was the only memento of her I had until Ray smashed it.”
Mary went silent as she felt the tears building up in her eyes and Vera came and stood beside her, placed an arm around her shoulder and gave her a cuddle which made Mary feel less conspicuous.
“This one was from my grandmother too,” said Vera, “they were obvious very popular once.”
“It’s beautiful,” replied a teary Mary.
“Well, I doubt Ernest even knows its here, to be honest. When we had to sell up, I buried in my suitcase when the auctioneers came. There was no way his folly was going to cost me my only connection with my grandmother.”
“A wise move Vera, when Ray smashed mine I had no idea he would do that as he knew how precious it was to me. He dismissed it as sentimental rubbish. I don’t really think I’ve recovered from that. Men can be so cruel.”
“They can indeed,” agreed Vera before inviting Mary to return to the sunroom where a fresh pot of tea awaited them.
Earlier parts can be read here: