Image: Envy © by Iza-nagi
Ernest breathed a sigh of relief that afternoon as he sat in his car at the end of a day that had been far harder than he imagined.
He hurriedly removed his badge and stuck it in his top pocket. Being ‘Ernie’ was going to take some time and several times during the day he realised people were addressing him and he’d failed to respond.
Initially, he thought: How hard is it to sell paint?
What he hadn’t reckoned on was dealing with people.
In his past business, he had dealt with people who had money and most had some intelligence. At the paint counter, he was confronted with people who couldn’t choose which shade of white they wanted, had no idea of applying paint, didn’t know the difference between sheen and flat paint and were more than happy for him to make their decisions.
As it was, he still didn’t know the location of other areas of the store and often had to consult his shop guide to point customers in the right direction, though one man had returned to tell him his directions sucked.
On top of all that, he had been on his feet all day, and his lunch break was only thirty minutes. Sitting in the car was a relief, his feet hurt, his back ached, and he was feeling very hungry.
Now there was going home to a wife who held him in contempt. Vera had stopped cooking him dinner, preferring to make her own and leave him to his own devices. His limited knowledge of the kitchen had led him to finding every takeaway shop within the suburb.
His mind drifted to his workdays when his secretary, Madison had been a warm and vibrant companion at the end of a long day.
They sort of fell into each other. At least so Ernest thought.
Madison was affectionate, enjoyed spending time with him. She flattered his ego in ways Vera had once but no longer. While he had needs, it appeared to him Vera didn’t.
They hadn’t had sex in years and apart from snuggling up to him on a cold winters morning, Vera had been content to leave their affection to those few moments.
Madison satisfied his physical needs.
In the office, she flirted with him during the day, accepted his gifts and never backed away from his offers of going away with him on ‘business’ trips.
That was until he ran into trouble. Once it became clear he was not going to provide for her in the financial ways he had she was gone. Left him a curt note of resignation, disappeared and completely cut him out of her life.
He sat and reflected on all that had been. In his mind, the voice of his mother echoed the old phrase: “There’s no fool like an old fool.”
He had made his bed, and now he had to lie in it.
If you wish to read the earlier parts of this story, look on my blog page, there is a page heading ENVY and all the previous parts can be found there.