Image: Envy © by Iza-nagi
When Ernest left for work earlier that morning, Vera had sat over her coffee aware that later in the morning Mary would be coming over. With Ernest out of the house and now employed at the local Gonners store Vera was going to have her mornings to herself. She was glad that the day was to be hers. Ernest had driven her crazy the night before telling her he had to learn the layout of the store so should he be asked where buckets might be found he could direct the customer to aisle 42. He had the store layout spread on the dining room table and spend hours studying it and getting her to ask questions about where she might find any product she could think of.
Now he was gone it was time for her to reflect on what had happened in the recent past and how their lives had changed so drastically.
Ernest had been caught giving bad advice to clients who wanted to invest in the property market. He encouraged people to invest in properties he owned, and when the property market crashed the investments, he said he had made for his clients crashed along with it.
He was exposed as a dodgy businessman, and the papers were not backward in saying so. How he avoided gaol was more a miracle than good planning or defence counsel.
Once he was exposed, he had one option only, and that was to sell up and attempt to make restitution.
The upheaval to Vera was all but unbearable.
Their lives changed forever.
What little money they did have was in accounts in Vera’s name and that money they were lucky to keep.
So the Winston-Jones’ went from beach side living to suburban living with no friends and very little in financial security.
Had Ernest not been able to make financial restitution there was every chance he would have ended up locked up. She knew he would not have survived gaol.
She remembered the son of an aged Aunt who spent a lot of time in gaol. She recalled her mother taking her to see her sister and the boy in question after a long stint behind bars was home living with his mother.
He was a strange, withdrawn man. He sat in the corner of the room making no conversation and looking out the window onto the train tracks below. She remembered her Aunt saying what a mess he was, and she didn’t know what was to become of him. A week later her mother announced that her cousin had taken his life, on the train tracks below his mother’s house.
Vera looked around the house she now had to live in. It wasn’t a patch on the beach house, but in some ways it was perfect, it was what Ernest deserved having deceived so many people. For Vera it represented a hiding place, she could feel safe here in the suburbs, away from prying eyes and newspaper reporters who had parked outside their beach house for weeks on end recording their every movement.
She had a good feeling about Mary in that she felt she could talk to her as she’d ascertained early on that Mary had her fair share of secrets too.
If you wish to read the earlier parts of this story on my blog page, there is a heading ENVY and all the previous parts can be found there.