‘I want a divorce.’
‘I said I wanted a divorce.’
‘Well take an aspirin dear,’ I said trying to concentrate on the rugby. ‘You’ll soon feel better.’
‘I’m not ill.’
‘I thought you said you feel worse?’
‘Turn the bloody television off for a moment; you haven’t heard a word I’ve said.’
I looked across at Hilda. She was in one of her moods again. I turned the television down. It was half time anyway.
‘Now what’s all this about you feeling ill?’ I said, doing my best to look concerned. ‘You don’t look ill to me.’
‘There’s nothing wrong with me,’ she declared, sitting down on the edge of a chair, gripping the armrests.
‘That’s all right then,’ I said, turning the television up in time for the second half. ‘Go and fetch me a six pack, there’s a love.’
This is the life I thought, putting my feet up on the coffee table. Hilda trundled off to the kitchen, muttering to her self. Yes indeed. A good game of rugby, a wife that adores me and a belly full of beer.
What indeed, I reasoned. Well I could do with the beer for a start. Where was that woman?’
‘Hilda,’ I shouted. ‘Where’s the beer?’
She loves these weekends. Got me at home to herself. The kids grown up and left home. I think she misses them. Can’t say I do. I suppose I should take her out occasionally. Can’t find the time though; what with the golf club and so forth.
Where has she gone with that beer?
Yes, the golf club takes up the time. Pity she’s not interested in golf. If she was, I could take her, now and then.
I don’t know what she’s playing at. Looks like I’ll have to get the beer myself. Selfish bloody woman.
Mind you, she’s getting very forgetful these days. Hope she hasn’t forgotten I’ve got a ‘do‘on tonight at the club. I got up and fetched the beer myself, and sat down to watch the game.
The front door opened and closed. She must have gone next door to borrow something. They are always borrowing or lending something or other. Last week they borrowed the iron, well he did… can’t remember his name. Anyway, his wife left him a couple of months ago. Hilda always seems to be helping him out.
Hell, I hope she’s remembered to iron my shirt.
The front door opened and I heard her going up stairs.
‘Hilda,’ I shouted. ‘Where the hell have you been? I nearly missed a drop goal getting my beer.’
No reply; just a sound, from the bedroom, of draws and cupboards opening and closing.
‘Hilda…Hilda,’ I shouted. ‘Have you gone deaf?’
‘George,’ she shouted from the hall, ‘I’m leaving you’.
‘OK dear,’ I said.
‘George. Did you hear what I said?’
‘Yes dear, just leave it in a chair,’
‘I said I am going to leave you. I’m going to live with Henry.’
‘Well don’t be back late dear. I might bring a few of the lads back.’
‘You can bring Prince Charles back, for all I care.’
‘Good idea love; and while you’re at it you might make a few tit bits. You know, a couple of chickens and some cold meats and stuff. Oh, and some salad things. And while you’re at Tesco’s get another case of beer.’
I don’t know why she’s gone round next door. He’s never got any beer. Hasn’t got much of anything, come to think of it. I came back early from the club, last Sunday and found him in our kitchen, with Hilda. Returning our hedge trimmer, he said. I didn’t know we’d got one. Funny time to return it, I thought, eleven thirty at night.
Then there all the DIY tools he keeps borrowing from Hilda. DIY mad he must be. Never goes out. Tried to get him to go with me to the golf club once. Wasn’t interested. No wonder his wife left him. Must have driven her mad.
I opened another can. He wouldn’t do for my Hilda, I thought. She likes a man of action does my Hilda. Couldn’t put up with me under her feet all day. Loves my involvement with the golf club. Mind you, she didn’t at first, but she seems to encourage it lately.
Just as I was about to doze off, I thought I heard the front door open and close again. It’s Hilda with the beer, I suppose. Good woman…one in a million.
Waking up an hour or two later. I went upstairs and stumbled into the bedroom. Looks a bit bare, I thought. No ironed shirt. No suit, come to that. And why are all the draws pulled out and empty.
‘Bloody hell!’ I said, ‘We’ve been burgled.’
I rushed downstairs into the hall and picked up the phone. I had dialled the second of three nines when I caught sight of the letter.
‘Dear George,’ it began.