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U3A Writing: A Spanish Tart

Heather Pickup tells of a domestic drama in which an unfaithful husband gets his just desserts.

The two women were waiting in line at the checkout at the local supermarket.

‘I always seem to choose the slow operator. I could do the job quicker than him,’ said Sally Wagstaff.

‘Yes, I know. Of course we should have known it would be slow with a man doing the checking,’ replied Enid Shaw.

The ladies knew each other, although they hadn’t seen each other for quite a while.

‘Is your husband picking you up?’ Asked Sally.

‘No. I am on my own now.’

‘Oh, when did he pass away, if you don’t mind me asking?’ Sally felt rather uneasy, perhaps she should have known already.

‘He didn’t pass away, just passed along to another woman,’ sniped Enid.

‘Oh, I’m really sorry to hear that,’ said Sally.

‘Thought everyone knew about it. I have been getting some very strange looks from the neighbours; like it was my fault he left me. We had been married for twenty-three years you know.’

Sally had checked out and stood waiting for Enid.

‘Enid, how about we go and have a coffee somewhere. I could do with one before that drive home.’

‘Yes, that would be nice. I will follow you in the car.’

The two ladies continued their conversation at a select café a short distance from the supermarket.

‘It’s so good to see you again Sally. We used to have some good times together when we were both single. Seems ages since we had a good chat.’

‘I’m really surprised to hear that Colin has left you. You seemed so happy together.’

‘Well we were, at least I was. He obviously wasn’t happy.’

‘Do you want to tell me about it Enid? I don’t want to pry, but it might make you feel better to tell someone.’

Enid looked around the café. There was no one near them to overhear what she was saying.

‘Well, it started about 18 months ago. We went for a holiday to Spain. It was the first holiday we had had since the children had left home. We went to the Costa del Sol, along with thousands of others. All the Brits seem to like it, because English is spoken there, as you know. Anyway, we sat at a small table in the hotel bar, overlooking the sea. This young Spanish woman asked if she could sit at our table. A hussy she was! Of course Colin said yes, gushing like a schoolboy. After that she seemed to be wherever we went. I wasn’t too happy about it, but didn’t think it was anything other than a holiday fling. We were there for two weeks, and I really enjoyed the warm sunshine. The day before we were due to leave, Colin went off on his own, saying he had some shopping he wanted to do. There was nothing unusual in that, as he often did his own shopping at home. But he was away the whole day; I started to worry in the afternoon, thought he may have been mugged or something worse. But he arrived home in the evening, looking very pleased with himself. He gave me some yarn about meeting people he knew from his firm in London. Being the naïve being that I am, I believed him. Well, more fool me! The upshot of it was, that when we got home, he threw in his job, packed his bags and left me for the Spanish tart. Sorry if I sound bitter, but it was such a shock. It was not that we had any marital problems; everything seemed fine in that department.’

‘Oh Enid, how dreadful for you. How are the girls taking it?’

‘Sally, you wouldn’t believe it, but they have gone out to Spain to join him. What do you think of that?’

‘I am shocked. Thought they would be here keeping an eye on you.’

‘Well, you would think so wouldn’t you?’ Enid sniffed, and wiped her eyes.

‘What are you going to do now?’ Sally asked.

‘I will have to sell the house. He has asked for a divorce, and the house is in both our names, so I will only get half the proceeds, and that means buying a smaller place.’

Sally was beginning to wish she hadn’t suggested the coffee, but Enid was an old friend, who was finding life hard going. She thought for a few minutes.

‘Enid, why don’t you go back nursing? They are always looking for trained staff at the Presbyterian Hospital, and will even retrain those who have been out of the workplace for a number of years.’

‘I suppose I could. I always like the challenge of nursing. I’ll make some enquiries and let you know how I get on. You are a good friend.’

The two ladies went their separate ways, and didn’t see each other for several months. Then Enid called to arrange another coffee morning.

‘Sally, I had to see you. I have so much to tell you. Didn’t want to do it with a phone call. I have so much to thank you for. I did as you suggested and went back to nursing. The retraining brought it all back to me, it was like I had never been away. I have bought another place, a small apartment. Its lovely and handy to town, and…I have met someone; he works at the hospital, in the office. We are engaged to be married. I wanted to ask you if you would be a witness for me at the registry office.’

‘Of course I will. How absolutely wonderful. I am so glad everything has worked out for you.’

‘I heard from Colin the other day. Only wanted to come back to me! I told him where to go, and enjoyed telling him so too!’

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