Tuesday, 13 February 2007

Affairs of the Heart

There was some drama yesterday! Honestly, this street is getting more like a soap opera each day……are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin.

Do you remember in a previous entry, I mentioned our neighbours, the Robinsons? Okay. She rang my doorbell yesterday morning at ten past ten. And she looked, well, awful is the word that springs to mind. A shapeless grey tracksuit, hair all over the place and red rimmed eyes. Ushering her in, tripping over inquisitive dogs, I deposited her on the sofa and waited for her to speak. She didn’t. For ten minutes She cried, She sobbed, She choked, She moaned a bit and then drew a shuddering breath. “I’m sorry” she gasped and PREPARED TO STAND UP!!! I wasn’t having any of that! She wasn’t coming into my house, depositing the contents of Her nose and tear ducts into my Kleenex and then buggering off!

“What’s wrong?” I asked, hunching down beside her. She sniffled for a bit, blew her nose again and stared at a point over my head. “Mike’s having an affair” she said flatly. Mike? I assumed at this point that Mike was Mr Robinson. “With Her Along The Road” she added, sniffling a bit more and slumping further back into the sofa. I felt it a bit impertinent to ask which Her Along The Road we were talking about so I fell silent as I ran through the list of suspects myself. Her at number 16 was always done up like a dogs dinner, but then Her along at 110 was no stranger to matters of the physical judging by her hair. Shaggers clump Saskia calls it. But then Her at number 50 was a bit of a goer according to her DAUGHTER. It was driving me crazy, I’d have to ask the poor bereft woman in front of me. “Erm, can you…..? Erm, which….? Okay….who?” She wiped her nose rather violently and shuddered. “Susan. Or Susie as she signs herself in texts to my husband”

Susan? The only Susan I know on this road is…….”Not Susan At Number 30?” I gasped. She nodded and shuddered again. I’m not surprised. Susan At Number 30 is what my mother charitably calls “a slattern”. I call her a tart.

Then it all came out. How Mike and Susan met at the pub’s Halloween Fancy Dress Party last year. Mike had popped in for a bottle of wine on his way home and Susan was perched on a bar stool dressed as Elvira. They’d got talking, found out they were neighbours and, She reckons, Susan asked Mike if he knew of any good handymen. Fnar. Mike, She says, is very handy with all things DIY related and soon was never out of Susan’s house fixing, sawing, drilling and screwing. Literally it seems, She said with a grimace. Even on Christmas Day apparently, her fuses blew and she rang Mike to go and fix them. An hour to fix a fuse while She was left with both sets of parents, his sister and her husband and aged aunt with a duff hearing aid.

Thank God David doesn’t have a gift for DIY! Although that was a rather uncharitable thought, the poor woman in front of me would kill for non-practical husband right now. “So how did you find out?” was my next question. I know, you’re probably wondering when I’m going to ask her what her name is but that’s not important right now.

It was classic. Lying cheating b*st*rds everywhere, heed my next words. She found out by accident.

She wasn’t feeling too well on Sunday night so Mike sent her up to bed early with kisses and sympathy. She said she fell asleep and woke up about half past 11 and there was no sign of him. She went out to the landing and called down to him. She said he answered her sounding all flustered, telling her he’d be up in a minute. She then went back to bed and he appeared minutes later, kissed her at length and told her to phone in sick the following day if she still wasn’t right. In his hurry to get into bed, he’d forgotten to set the alarm and woke in a panic at twenty to nine, with ten minutes to get washed, shaved and out of the house.

After he’d gone she had another snooze and then, feeling better, had got up and wandered downstairs to find his mobile phone on the arm of his chair, obviously where he’d left it last night. At this point, She was so far back in the sofa she was very nearly hiding behind it. “I looked at his messages” She whispered. Ah, her big undoing. Or was it?

There were hundreds, She said. All from Susan. She didn’t go into detail and I wasn’t sure I wanted to know anyway. She then checked his Sent items and there were similar, if not worse, texts that he’d sent. Then there was the list of phone calls – the last being made at 11pm the previous night. She was now shaking and I remembered my manners and went off to get the brandy. She turned her nose up at first but was soon knocking it back. “So now what? And how do you know that it’s Susan At Number 30” I asked her as she tipped David’s best brandy down her neck.

Snooping, that’s how. A pastime that’s highly over rated but all snoopers have to be wary that they might find something they don’t like. She snooped in his drawers, in his wardrobe and his briefcase. She finally hit the jackpot in his shed (shed?!) where she found a box full of what She termed as “crap”. A Christmas card signed with ‘love and kisses forever, your Susie’, an empty bottle of Bacardi Breezer (she looks the sort actually) and a champagne cork which She swears could have only been drunk when She was away at weekend conference at the beginning of November and came back to find the very expensive bottle missing from the fridge. The cad had said he’d dropped it on the tessellated tiles.

“Now what?” I ask, removing the brandy bottle from her grasping hands. “What would you do?” she asked me shakily. I had to think of that at length. Thankfully planning revenge on my husband and his floozy is not something I’ve had to deal with – and never want to. I told her that firstly I’d stay calm (yeah, right) and then I’d confront the Woman who had the bare faced cheek to mess with my marriage. I went into great detail about what I’d say to her, possibly using mild violence if necessary, the threats I’d issue and the promises of what I’d do to her if I ever saw her and overly pumped up bosom anywhere near my man again. She looked quite impressed and, I have to say, I quite enjoyed playing the wronged wife.

She thought about this for a while, stood up, thanked me, gave me a hug and staggered to the front door. “Let me know if you need anything!” I called after her, all the while thinking about how brave she was being when I noticed instead of turning left to go home, she went right. Heading for number 30.

Oh shit.

Did I follow? You bet I did.

I was minutes behind her once I’d grabbed keys and coat. She had already rung the doorbell and was pacing the path. One of the upstairs windows opened and a tousled bottle blonde head appeared, attached to a body wearing a tatty looking negligee. “Whaddya want?” said Susan, for it was she. “You……you, you, you…..” She was lost for words so I helped out. “Slut?” I ventured, quite cheerily. A man appeared behind Susan at the window and said, in quite a strangled voice “Lydia?”

Ah! Lydia Robinson! At last! Anyway, you’ve guessed it. The mystery man was in fact Mike.

Oh dear.

Suffice to say, things went down hill from there. Lydia kicked over the bay tree pots, thumped on the door a bit and stomped off down the path, all the time screaming like a banshee. It turns out she didn’t need my help with what to say, she was doing just fine. The door was opened by Susan (she shot me a rather filthy look which I thought was uncalled for, I was picking up her bay trees) and Mike shot out down the path and after Lydia who turned on him magnificently and caught him with a fantastic right hook – blood from his nose shot everywhere. By this time I was skulking along the street and didn’t even stop to pick him up off the floor. Lydia thanked me once again and said goodbye as we made our way back to our respective houses. Apart from the fact that her nostrils were flaring and she reeked of brandy, it could have been one of those feel good moments I hear so much about.

Sneaking a peek back down the road leading to number 30 Mike was still on the floor and Susan was attempting to staunch the flow of blood with a silk scarf. Looking the other way, Lydia was stomping up the path to her house, a look of grim satisfaction on her face.

And David’s concerned I’ll get bored if I stay at home all day!

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Nunhead, London, United Kingdom
I'm a mum of one, wife of one and owner to several dogs, a variety of breeds and sizes. I live in the up and coming area (or so they say) of Nunhead and have mad neighbours, strange friends and certifiable relatives. I shop locally, although I do defect to Sainsburys once a week - shoot me now local shopkeepers.