Image: Envy © by Iza-nagi
On his drive to work that morning Ernest also reflected on how his life had changed.
He had woken to find himself once again, alone in the bed. He and Vera had had many raised voice arguments since his fall from financial grace resulting in him sleeping alone.
His reality was one he didn’t know how to deal with. Vera had insisted he find a job to save them from total financial ruin and he knew he was lucky to get the job at Gonners. It never occurred to him at the time that his undoing would impact on his wife. For so long he had taken her for granted knowing she would be there when he returned home each evening, that she would be on his arm at social occasions always affording him that air of respectability. Vera had looked after the house and garden leaving him to do whatever he wanted, and he had done just that.
He too was surprised he had managed to stay out of gaol. His willingness to make restitution had saved him. He knew he’d never make it in gaol, men like him became the toys of the powerful and that indignity would have been his end.
He shuddered at the thought of what might have been.
His business life had been successful, the beach house was a symbol of his standing and prestige, and now that was gone he was in his own eyes not only a social and financial pariah but also, a nobody.
Success had driven him, one business venture after another resulted in profits and profits built his ego to the point of thinking he could make no errors of judgement.
But his last business exercise of investing in a huge block of apartments in an area where there already was a glut on the market proved his undoing. Investors wanted returns, and when they didn’t come, they wanted answers.
Ernest had been sure the market would pick up.
By the time he realised it wasn’t, it was too late. There were inquiries into his business practices, the banks began to call in his loans, and some investors had begun law suites against him.
His business went to the wall, he owed millions, he declared bankruptcy, and it was time to face the music of humiliation
Vera upon discovering the extent of his debt and deceit moved physically away from him within the home.
She would have nothing to do with him but stayed in the marriage knowing alone she would not survive, but together they at least stood a chance.
He found himself in the employee car park at Gonners and awoke to his reality.
He attached his humiliating Ernie badge and headed in to start work on the paint counter.
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.