“Thanks Jessica, It’s been a wonderful night.” I said as I disentangled myself from my dear friend’s embrace. We’d been at her first grown up “couples” dinner party and thanks to her flare for meticulous planning and excellent cookery skills it had gone off without a hitch. Now, tired and well fed we were the last of the guests to leave, sensitive as we where that whilst close friends even we could outstay our welcome! I wrapped my pashmina around my shoulders against the summer breeze and headed for the car.
“Can you?” Marcus started as we got into my car.
“Can you drop me off at mine tonight? It’s just that with all the work I’ve got to do I’d prefer to be alone.” He scratched his chin. I know he’s having an affair. I’ve known for weeks and I even know who he is sleeping with. It isn’t that I’m not hurt. It isn’t that I’m scared to end it. It’s just that I want to sort myself out first. I’m back on the pill and I’m making sure we always use extra protection. I can’t really believe he has the gall to do this to me. Now, after this lovely evening he wants me to operate a door-to-door service, right back to her arms. It’s not that I don’t care, I really, really do, but I’m too tired to care. This relationship isn’t worth putting up a fight for any longer.
“Sure thing honey.” I turn the key in the ignition and the car springs into life.
The journey through the city is a bit stop start at first, late night traffic going into the hotspot areas, people travelling through on their way home from other towns. It was not a comfortable journey so I concentrated on what I was doing with the gears. Eyes on the road, away from him. He tried to rest his hand on my when I changed gears once or twice and I flinched. I brushed it off as not seeing his hand there in the dark and him making me jump.
When we pulled up at his house I tried to ignore the fact his bedroom light was already on. I tried to ignore the alacrity with which the seat beside me was vacated. Wow, she must really be something, eh? I sped through the now clear streets; full of light pollution and the waste of the previous day. It looked so barren and cold and so... untouchable. Like if you reached out to it you would hit a pane of glass before you got there. “Earth, Early 2000’s” it would say on the placard beside it. The rows of houses and badly kept shops started to fade away and melt into the country.
The stars were mapped out above me, uncaring and unmoved by my journey. They lit the vast fields alongside the roads, guarded by their animal-filled hedgerows; thick and ancient as the land. This was the place I adored. I could think here, I could have time to myself, time to figure out what to do next, how to unravel the complicated knot our lives had become over the last eight years. At least my flat in the little village was in my name, I would be safe there, and I could retreat there. The rental property we jointly owned would have to be sold and the assets (if there were any!) split. That, I thought wistfully, was to have been our family home. I should have wised up years ago, should have...-
In the middle of the road, right in front of me is this figure. He is sitting bolt upright, His legs are crossed, his arms are steady and his eyes, oh his eyes, oh dear god! They are staring right into mine and there’s no way, no way at all that I am going to miss him. And he looks at me, looks right into this soul of mine and he, he smiles. He knows what is coming. He wants what is coming and he is damning me with him for whatever reason he wants this to happen. Oh god, I’m sorry, I don’t know why you want me to do this but I don’t want it.
And I hit him, hard and I feel his body impact on the car. I lose control of the car that I have always had such a great feeling for. I feel it skid across the road and my foot is somehow on the accelerator. I look up and oh my life there’s a tree...
As they examine the scene the next day they find the battered car, with its bonnet bent concertina shape into the tree. All signs of life within had long been extinguished. And upon the road, laying there was a mangled corpse, bent and bruised from the collision, but still with his staring eyes wide open and that smile, that beatific grin stretched across his face. In getting what he’d wanted he’d damned her to follow the same journey, when she was ready to choose her life, choose her own path. Her partner, for what it’s worth, spoke glowingly of her in his eulogy, and then without much further ado, moved in with his bit on the side. But you know what they say about mistresses and vacancies, yes? What a destiny to find!
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