by Melissa Wade
The glib undercurrent of my sister Angela’s words cut. If only it were that simple: this is an enormous life changing event. Over ten years, mind body and heart had got used to being part of another: the comforting reassurance of his muscular presence.
I'm definitely not jealous of Angela, who whispers, 'so get over it and get on with your life' whilst throwing out the hymn as if we were singing to a crowd at the O2 rather than in a church practising for a concert. I might hate my life right now but I wouldn't swap it for Angela’s, whose husband does nothing to help round the house and whose idea of romantic is a bunch of wilted flowers reduced at the supermarket. Don't cry, I tell myself as I think of Tim who'd buy me lilies, my favourite, because I was suffering from a cold and feeling sorry for myself. As soon as the last words of the hymn are left echoing I make a hasty exit. Today, Angela foregoes talking to the vicar and links her arm through mine, marching me to a cafe. I sink into the sofa as she orders a latte for me, iced coffee for herself and cinnamon pastries for both of us.
'So he left you,' she says setting the tray of goodies down on the table. No plonking down for Angela, who smooths her skirt out before sitting. Thanks Angela. I'd completely forgotten Tim had walked out on me. ‘After all, you did have an affair.'
I take a bite of the light, flaky pastry.
'And it was a stupid, stupid mistake, which I deeply regret.' I didn't even love the man. It was fun, nothing more. Tim worked away from home. I couldn’t talk to him about the army. He felt so distant and I needed something.
'But that's no reason to stop taking care of yourself. Why don't you come swimming with me, you're gaining weight.'
Says she, whose idea it was to get coffee and pastries. I stare at her.
'Okay, you have hydrophobia. Running then?'
I don't even run for the train when I'm late for work three times in a row.
'Or Pilates then?'
'Pilates will make me lose weight?' I ask skeptically. 'I just want Tim back,' I whisper. I don't want Angela to see me cry or this tough love approach.
'Well he's not coming back, sweetie, and you need to move on. It's not even as if you were married.