They sat in the kitchen as the darkness gave over to dull grey light. They made tea and ate toast. They cried and they held hands across the table top and they worried and wondered together.
“So, what are you going to do about Steve?” Suzanne asked.
“Oh, I’ve had it with him. I can’t believe I’ve put up with his moods and bullying for so long. He has always been too keen to lash out, usually just with his tongue, now and then with a grip just too tight on my arms, once or twice a push and just once before he slapped me across the fact. I always found excuses. I’m an idiot. I never would have believed I’d have put up with it. I disgust myself to be honest. I am appalled that I valued myself so little. It wasn’t even that I needed him for his wages and so on. I’ve got my NHS pension and the money Granda left me.”
“Embarrassment, I think. When I was working it wasn’t too bad because we only saw each other at weekend and the kids needed stability so I just muddled through. Then when the kids had gone I couldn’t face telling people what I’d put up with for all those years. There I was, a specialist nurse, a professional telling people what they should do, how they should behave and my own life was just pathetic.”
“You never said. You could have told me. I had an idea and you could have come here.”
“I know, love. But I didn’t want to admit I’d made such a cock-up things. Anyway, it’s over now. I’m going to get a solicitor and start a divorce. I’ll move out. Can I stay with you until I find out how I’m fixed? I’ll be able to buy something with half the money from the house. I only need a little place. A flat would be nice. No gardening, easy to run. I might even look at one of those retirement places.”
“Oh no. You can’t. They are just God’s waiting rooms. All you do is count out the dead and demented. It’s horrible.”
“I don’t think they’re like that now. They have restaurants and hairdressers and whatnot.”
“And coach trips to garden centres. The one my mum is in is lovely but it’s too much like waiting for the inevitable. I couldn’t abide it. I would feel as though I’d given up.”
“Well you could be right but that’s for later. Tomorrow I need to find a solicitor.”
“Will you go to the police?”
“He hit you. That’s assault. You should report him.”
“No. I’m not doing that. I couldn’t bear the questions and the embarrassment. Think of what it would do to the kids. He’s their dad after all. No, I’m not doing that.”
“It’s your choice of course but honestly I think you ought to make him pay for what he’s done.”
“No. Not doing it. He can go and live with him bit on the side if he likes. He can bugger off and die, I just don’t care. I don’t want to see him again if I can help it.”
Suzanne sighed and shook her head but it wasn’t her decision to make and all she could do was be supportive. Starting again at their stage of life was daunting but she would be four square behind her friend no matter what.
They sat quietly for a while. It was Lucy who broke the silence. “What about Ginny?”
“I’ve tried to get the police interested. They don’t want to know. I was lust living in hope that she’d turn up and we could move past it.”
“Where the hell can she be?”
“I haven’t a clue and I don’t know what to do now.”
“Okay. We’ll go this morning back to the house. I know you’ve already had a look but we’ll go again. There has to be something there that’ll give us an idea of what’s going on. We need to do something properly now.
“I have a horrible feeling about it. The more time that’s past the more it seems to me that she has gone away and doesn’t want to be found.” Suzanne’s eyes filled with tears. “I just have a horrible feeling that maybe she’s gone and killed herself and the next thing we hear will be that they’ve found her body. I don’t think I’ll be able to live with that.”
“I’d love to tell you that you’re wrong, love. In all honesty, I can’t because I have started thinking the same thing myself.”
“Before we do that though, we have to work out what happened to your shower curtain.”
“Oh lord, I hadn’t thought about that for a bit. The shock of finding you in the living room. All this upset. It’d slipped my mind. Come on up and have a look.”
“Maybe a cat got in, or a bird-a big bird and it panicked.”
“So where is it now? No, come on up and see. It’s horrible.”
2 responses to “Missing”
This appears to have the legs to make at least a novella. But whatever length it makes, it is a good, well built story.
That’s ever so kind of you thank you. I never intended it to be book length but it’s growing a bit and I still don’t know where Ginny is. Well I kinda do but it’s going to take a while to get there I reckon. Still the idea was for trying out a new editing programme so I continue. Thank you so much for your support