THE MOVE by Sally Stackhouse
The pressure was on. She was so tense. The move was not going great. She dithered between joy at a new opportunity and nervous anxiety at moving to a different country. A different country no less. They might speak English over there but they used different words for so many things. How would she ever cope?
It was too flippin’ much.
Her husband had no right to just take the job without even discussing it with her first. He came home on a Friday night, opened a bottle of wine as they sat down to their evening meal and before she had had a chance to take the first mouthful of her home-made stroganoff, he made his grand announcement.
She lost her appetite. Pushing her plate away she stared at Greg in disbelief.
‘We’re moving to America at the end of next month.’ His grin was so wide she thought it would split his mouth in two.
‘Why?’ Miranda just got that word out. One simple word. A myriad of causes but she would be happy with one very simple explanation.
‘Why? What do you mean, why? You know I was going for the promotion and – I got it! You could at least be pleased for me.’ Greg yelled the last sentence at her. He downed his wine and promptly poured another one. He glared at her for a few moments. Then he took her hand, ‘sorry, my love. I didn’t mean to shout.’
‘OK,’ came her hesitant reply.
‘It will be fine, you’ll see. I’ve got it all set up, passports are ready, work permits, visas, you can come as my wife, no problem. We’ll have to have Covid tests nearer the time but we are both fully vaccinated so there won’t be a problem there.’
A weekend of cajoling, persuading and promises of ‘everything will be fine, you’ll see,’ became the norm for the next 48 hours.
Monday came, Miranda kissed Greg goodbye as he left for the office, his step buoyant, she could see the happiness in every step he took. His cheery wave as he backed out of their driveway and a toot of the horn as he turned on to the main road.
As she tidied up the breakfast things her tears fell. What about her? Did her feelings not count for anything? It was all about him. All he thought about was ‘me, me, me.’
Still, she knew it was such a good opportunity. She couldn’t, in all honesty, not go with him. Suitcases were packed, her friend was taking their cat – she would miss her dreadfully as well as her parents and friends but she couldn’t not go with him. She had to go with him, didn’t she? Of course, she did, he was her husband and she wanted to be with him.
The nerves kicked in, a last run to the shops to stock up on things she might not be able to get in America, she knew it was silly because this is the modern world and most civilised countries had the same thing and if not, there was always Amazon to fall back on!
She came out of Boots the Chemist holding on to her favourite perfume when a hand grabbed her elbow.
‘Come with me, madam.’
The big, burly man, steered her upstairs into a suite of offices. Miranda was shaking like a leaf when they accused her of stealing a bottle of perfume.
She had never, ever in her whole life done anything unlawful and here she was accused of stealing. That’s when she looked at her hand clutching a bottle of Chanel No. 5. For the life of her she couldn’t remember going to the till to pay for it.
‘Oh my god! I’m so sorry, so very sorry. Please, let me pay for it. I don’t know what came over me.’
Miranda started to get her credit card from her purse.
It was explained to her that the police had been called, the store would wait and see what advice they would give them as to whether they would go ahead and prosecute.
Miranda’s heart sank to the bottom of her shoes. If she got a criminal record, could she still go to the States? What would Greg say? He’ll go crazy, absolutely crazy. Figuratively crossing her fingers and her toes she prayed and prayed to whoever might be listening who could help her. What a stupid mistake to make and it really was just a lapse with so much on her mind with the move she just forgot to pay.
Luckily, the police advised the store manager to give her the benefit of the doubt and they took that advice.
She told Greg that evening, as predicted he went crazy. After he had calmed down, he banned her from shopping even when they get across the pond. Miranda thought it was totally unnecessary to take her credit card and cut it up but it was what it was.
A couple of weeks later semi-settled in to their new home, Greg relented and opened an account for Miranda. She set off to the huge store in town, trying to decipher all the different names for things in the store. They might be written in English but what the heck was Jimmy Dean?
Feeling brave and slightly reckless she purchased the trademarked items. Finding recipes on the internet for Jimmy Dean she produced a fantastic meal that went down so well with Greg he was confident enough in her abilities to cook that he invited his boss and his wife for a meal.
Now that is a story for another day.
Word count: 960