In Her Words(6)

By: J.S Ellis


Richard fiddled with his drink as we sat on the sofa opposite each other.

‘I’m sorry I behaved appallingly,’ I said.

He glared at me, ‘you have.’

‘I’m sorry.’

He sighed. ‘When I married you everyone thought you were too young for me. I knew the risks, but for God’s sake, is it so hard for you to behave?’

I stared at the floor.

‘And can you put the cigarette out? You’re like a chimney!’

‘Sorry,’ I said, putting the cigarette out.

Richard got up and went to the kitchen. ‘Promise to cut down the drinking, we all need to blow up some steam, but you seem to be blowing a lot of it lately,’ He said coming back into the room with a snack, ‘where did you go?’

I laid on the sofa. ‘For a drink with Sylvie. I lost track of time. It won’t happen again.’

‘Would you like a sandwich?’

‘No, thanks. I needed a change of scenery, darling. All I see is figures and papers,’ I said.

‘I know you have a stressful job and I don’t mind you going with Sylvie, but please take it easy.’

‘Ok. I will. I’m going to bed. I need to get some rest.’

I laid on the bed staring at the ceiling for ages. My whole body still ached. Richard didn’t come to bed, I could hear the TV blaring out for hours. I couldn’t sleep at all. My brain was going haywire trying to remember what happened to me last night.





16th January

Afternoon,

Diary,

A client, whom I hadn’t seen in a while, came into the office today, claiming his VAT had never been paid and was years overdue. This is the last thing I need. He sat across from me with his old suit and greying beard.

‘I need to see the books,’ I said to him.

‘Books?’ he asked.

‘Yes, you do keep your accounting records, don’t you?’

I knew what was coming, he didn’t do any bookkeeping that year.

‘No, I didn’t. Can you fix this for me? I need this done this week.’ He demanded.

Excellent, a man who didn’t do his books and, by the scared look on his face, has no clue where that year’s actual documents are and wants me to sort out his mess in less than four days. Why am I even in this business, again?

Evening,

I can’t stop thinking about that night. What if I did something horrible? There is one last hope, to shamefully go and ask Michael. Maybe he can help me pick up the pieces. I don’t want to see him. The prospect of being intimidated by someone so young is laughable, but there’s something about him which is dangerous and sexy.

My mind’s racing. What if they pulled a practical joke that went horribly wrong? I can’t think of anything in particular. And how much did I have to drink? How much would I have needed to drink to fall over and pass out?

The truth is, diary, I thought my life would be so different from what it is right now. I had good grades and worked hard to get my ACCA. I thought being successful was everything. But I paid the price for this achievement and didn’t put myself “out there” as the other girls did. Go out, party, and go on crazy one night stands. I was the girl who had long-term boyfriends, not escorts.

And now, what’s become of me? I pass out at the age of thirty-seven in the company of twenty-year-olds. It’s disgraceful and pathetic, a woman of my age allowing herself to get into this position. I’m living my life in reverse.





18th January

Afternoon

Diary,

I’ve done it, I left a note addressed to Michael in the mailbox.

I need to speak to you. There’s a small coffee shop a few blocks away from here called Teas Me, can you meet me there on Tuesday around 5pm?

Sophie.

I hope he can make it.





19th January

Evening

Diary!

He was there all right, facing the door by the window, drinking a cup of coffee, looking bored. He saw me straight away and smiled.

The smell of coffee was overpowering. Etta James played in the background. I placed my bag on the stool and felt my cheeks flush. He looked me up and down. I wondered what he thought of me. His elbow rested on the table. His fingers curled his glorious hair, looking demure and serious.

‘Hi,’ I said.

‘Hi,’ he said.

‘Thank you for coming.’