Wednesday, 16 July 2008
Martin stood at the arrivals gate and scanned the waiting crowds. Impatiently he looked up at the large wall clock, the damn woman is late again he seethed. Too many things were changing in Martin’s life and he wasn’t happy about it. Before he was ill he knew his place in the scheme of things. He travelled back to London on a Monday with a case full of freshly laundered clothes and arrived back at the villa on the following Friday tired after a busy week to Fliss waiting for him with a light supper and a weekend planned with a few rounds of golf and drinks with friends. All very civilised and ordered.
In those days he never had to worry about whether he had enough clean shirts for the week or if his suit was back from the cleaners. It was understood that Fliss took care of things like booking the pool man and sorting out the gardeners. He didn’t have the time to be worrying about whether the car tax needed renewing or if he should switch utility suppliers on the apartment in London.
But since his heart attack it seemed to him as if his whole life had changed and not for the better. He felt that some weekends he was home Fliss treated him like an inconvenience, just one more thing that she had to schedule into her busy timetable. He was just another box on the chart that had to be fitted in between her friends, her grandchildren, her charity work, her life…well what about his life.
He wanted things to be the way that they had always been. He wanted to be the most important thing in Fliss’ life and didn’t consider for one minute that he might have been the reason why their relationship had changed after all it wasn’t as if he was still seeing Laura and thanks to Sophie that business with Tony Eagleton was all cleared up. So what was Fliss’ problem?
Martin walked out to the taxi rank seething with the injustice of it all. There was he trying to get home after working hard all week and she couldn’t be bothered to get to the airport on time to meet him. As he joined the long queue of weary travellers waiting for a taxi Michael plonked down his case and sulked like a teenager who has just realised that he isn’t the centre of attention anymore.
Running across the car park Sophie spotted her Dad looking petulant in the taxi queue.
‘Dad over here’ she called
‘Where’s your mother?’ sulked Martin as followed Sophie back to her car.
‘She’s looking after the girls, I said that I would pick you up. I’ve been checking out some stud farms and as I was over this way I thought that it would make more sense if I collected you from the airport. Sorry I’m late I didn’t realise what the time was.’
‘No harm done I suppose’ grumbled Martin ‘but Mum could have told me what was happening. I was just about to give up on her and get a cab.’
Martin’s mood slowly lifted on the journey back to the villa and by the time they were parking up he was a lot more relaxed and looking forward to a long cold drink before having a quiet supper with Fliss and hopefully the promise of an early night together.
‘Grandma look, Grandpa’s home’ called Grace as she ran out of the front door. Before he knew it Martin was being herded into the villa by his little granddaughters who were trying to tell him all about the new goats on the farm and how they had spent the afternoon baking cakes and going swimming. His head was spinning with the noise as he made his way into the kitchen looking for Fliss.
‘Hello darling, I’ve left a cold supper for you in the fridge, just a sandwich and some salad. I had mine earlier with the girls. I hope you don’t mind but I’ve arranged to meet some girl friends for a drink this evening and I’m running late. Sophie darling, would you mind dropping me off in the village on your way home?’
‘No Mum that’s fine. Are you ready to go now?’
‘Just let me grab my bag. Oh and Martin don’t wait up for me, you must be exhausted. I’ll get a cab home.’
Martin looked in disbelief as Fliss practically ran out of the house and helped bundled Olivia and Grace into the back of Sophie’s car. Is this was it has come to he wondered, a cold supper and an early night alone. It wasn’t that long ago when Fliss was complaining that he was the unromantic monster who didn’t have the time for their relationship, now here she was running out on him the moment he came in the door.
Taking his supper from the fridge and pouring himself a large glass of wine Martin sat down in the lounge and wondered why he had bothered coming home at all if this was all he had to look forward to. Drinking the wine in one gulp Martin and threw empty glass down on the coffee table.
Striding up the stairs to his bedroom he decided that even an evening at the golf club listening to Malcolm banging on about the bloody donkey sanctuary was better than sitting here on his own. So throwing his crumpled suit on the floor Martin changed into his cool cotton trousers and a clean sports shirt and grabbing his car keys from the hall table set off to spend the evening drinking with all the other sad buggers who had nowhere better to go on a Friday night.