TERRY AND BETH
by Sally Stackhouse
He told her she should be grateful, he put the roof over their heads, food in their belly and all she had to do was keep the house clean and tidy and look after the kids and him. She couldn’t be in a better financial situation, there was money in the bank, he put funds in the housekeeping account, he paid the mortgage and the bills on time and he even gave her some pocket money to use just for herself.
Not forgetting the little gifts and presents he gave her every now and then. Friday night he came home with a bunch of flowers before he went to the pub, he was always thinking about her, wasn’t he? It showed in those romantic gestures. Of course, she couldn’t come to the pub, for one thing they didn’t have a babysitter, he wasn’t willing to pay some school girl money to watch his tv, drink his Coca Cola and steal the booze from his liquor cabinet. The other thing was it was a boys’ night out. He had to see his mates to unwind from a stressful working week plus it was darts practice night. They were playing in the league at the weekend. Surely, she understood that.
He always gave her jewellery for birthday or Christmas, chosen himself and it was more than a couple of quid, he wasn’t a cheap skate, up to £50 he would spend. One year he even bought her a painting – OK it was a print but still it had its own frame and he did hang it on the wall in the bedroom for her. She seemed to be really pleased with it but then said she would have really liked a print of water lilies by Monet. He couldn’t do right for doing wrong. He said some words that day that made her cry but he talked her round with a bit of fist persuasion and in the end, she thanked him profusely and said she loved him and he was so good to her. He smiled at her, kissed her cheek and her neck and they made up in that special way they had.
She shook her head in dismay
When would he take her seriously?
Dismissing her thoughts so airily
He might be the big shot at his office
But he didn’t have to be so callous.
His clothes were laundered and pressed
She massaged his shoulders when he was stressed
His dinner was always hot and nourishing
She’d spend all day tidying and cleaning
Now she wanted to go out to work
Starts work as a part-time clerk
She sees the kids off to school
Takes her turn at the car pool
Returns home by four
Quickly mops the floor
Does the laundry
Longing to be free
A few more years
Lots more secret tears
Babies grow into teenagers
They still need a chauffeur
Promoted at work
No longer just a clerk
In charge of a group of people
Her mind and brain more agile
It won’t take long
Before she is gone
The last laugh will be on her
As she walks out of the door.
She gains her freedom along with sweet revenge. The kids were at University, they were almost adults now, she didn’t need to take care of them anymore, they could work it out and as for Terry, he would find another gullible woman who would be taken in by his smarmy charm until she realised the truth behind the words. She wished that stranger luck. Her dearest wish would be to let her know what he was like but she wouldn’t believe her anyway just like she didn’t believe her own predecessor.
Word count: 624