Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Episode 57 - All the lonely people

I had a lovely time last night. Some of the young Mums from the school arranged a girls’ night out. Yes I know that they are a lot younger than me, but we all seem to enjoy the same things, good food, stimulating conversation and the opportunity to get out of the house for a while and pretend that we are grown ups.

I don’t think that Martin was too amused though. He went out to the golf club as soon as I left the house, it’s a shame that he never wanted to take me out on a Friday night. I was supposed to be grateful for a quick drink in the club house after golf on Saturday, if I was lucky. Well I’m sorry but I have finally started to take control of my life and I’m enjoying it. I suppose that this is what being an independent woman is all is about.

Talking about independent women, I must give Clara Hale a ring soon. I haven’t seen her for ages, come to think of it I haven’t even seen her at the market, I hope she’s OK. It’s lovely that she is getting on so well with Michael. Gloria was saying that he has been really good to Clara, taking her shopping and even having her over for lunch once a week. With everything he’s been through lately I’m amazed that he can still be so thoughtful of others.

I phoned Michael earlier to ask how Clara was but Michael said that he hadn’t seen her since last week. Apparently they were having lunch together when the police called for him to go to the station. He’d left Clara to lock up the house and walk back to the village because he didn’t know how long he was going to be with the police. But he said that he’d phoned her later that evening and that she sounded fine then.

Gloria said that she hasn’t seen Clara for a while either so maybe she is poorly, well no time like the present I’ll give her a ring now if only to put my own mind at rest.

That’s strange her phone is just ringing out. I would have thought that she would be home now, after all it is lunch time and I know that if she does go shopping it is always of a morning before the siesta. Maybe there’s a problem with her phone, well the only way to find out is to go down and see if she is alright. It’s a lovely day and the walk will do me good.

It’s been ages since I’ve had the time to walk down to the village. I’ve been spending a lot of time looking after Grace and Olivia for Sophie. Not that that is a hardship, I absolutely love being able to see so much of them. When we first moved out here I missed my little granddaughters dreadfully, they are so adorable. Even so it is nice to have a day all to myself when I can catch up with my friends. I suppose I should be spending it with Martin as he is only home for the weekend but he has his golf today and I probably won’t see him until this evening when he will want picking up from the club house.

I wonder if I’ll see Paolo working on his farm, I hope not, that chapter in my life is well and truly over. I nearly fainted when Ella told me how he had been flirting with her and how she might have been tempted by him if she hadn’t have been so in love with Frank. Now don’t get me wrong, I know that he’s a free agent and that I have no right to be sanctimonious about this but did he have to pick my daughter to make a move on, for heaven’s sake it’s no time since we were rolling around in the hay together. What is that man’s problem, is he looking to bed the whole of my family, is he going to hit on Sophie next? No it’s best I don’t see him for a long time or I’ll have to learn enough Spanish to be able to tell him what a randy old bastard I think he is.

It’s a good job I didn’t drive down here today. I’d forgotten that there is a fiesta in the village this weekend. The police have been busy with the traffic cones and a lot of the side streets have been closed off for the procession. It would have been a nightmare finding a parking space by Clara’s house.

That’s strange, her curtains are still drawn, maybe she is still in bed.

‘Clara are you there, is everything OK?’ I call at the front door.

‘Senora are you calling for Senora Hale?’

Clara’s next door neighbour calls leaning at of her first floor window.

‘Yes Aina, have you seen her today’

‘No I think that she has gone away her curtains have been closed all week and I haven’t heard moving about in her house.’

‘That’s strange Michael didn’t mention that she was going away and I’m sure that she would have told him. I’m getting worried now. Is there any way that we can get to the back of her house?’ I ask

‘Yes Senora down the little alleyway and through the gate at the end. Would you like me to come with you?’

I have a terrible feeling about this and I must admit that I’m grateful that I don’t have to do this on my own.

Aina has come round with her husband Bernardo and it is with some trepidation that the three of us make our way down the narrow passage between the houses.

‘I’m sure that Senora Hale is fine’ says Bernardo, not looking sure at all ‘it was only the other evening that her friend called to see her and I’m sure that he would have said if she was unwell.’

Letting ourselves into the pretty little courtyard I try the kitchen door and find that it is unlocked. The kitchen is dark with the curtains closed and the three of us are fumbling around before Aina opens up the curtains and Bernardo and I walk through to the hall.

And that’s when we see her. Clara’s twisted dead body is lying on the cold hall tiles. Before we can stop her Aina follows us through the kitchen and her screams are drowned out by the band walking in the road outside leading the procession through the village.