by Alison Proud
glass of proseccoThe door of the house shut with a bang; David had left for
yet another business trip.
Kate had lost count of the number of times he had been away this year and it was only March.
She made herself a cup of tea and sat looking out into the garden. They’d shared a short embrace before he left but there was little emotion and no passion. In fact, there hadn’t been much of either in their marriage for quite some time.
She decided today she would go shopping to cheer herself up. At least she would be amongst people in town; she felt lonely at home when David was away. She wandered along the street until she got to her favourite shop. The clothes in here were always tempting to buy. She picked up a few things for herself and then browsed the men’s section. This would look nice on David she thought and added it to her basket. Then that annoying voice in her head said, “what the hell are you doing buying anything for him, selfish bastard”. As always Kate ignored it. She walked to the till and paid for everything including the jacket for David.
The lady behind the counter smiled and said, “He’s a lucky man, I love that jacket, is it his birthday?"
Kate replied “No, my husband is away with work, so I thought I’d buy it for him for when he returns."
“Wow” said the lady, “he’ll be happy when he comes home then”.
“No, he will not” went the voice in Kate’s head. “He’ll be as grumpy as he always is, ungrateful and then he’ll stay away overnight again”. “Yes, he’ll be very happy” said Kate.
The first week David was in Dubai passed slowly and Kate worried when he didn’t respond to her text messages.
“He must be so busy on this trip” she told her best friend Sally when they met for coffee. That voice started again “Busy, he just doesn’t care about you”.
“Why don’t you just ring him Kate” Sally said. “Yes, I think I will, just to check he is ok”.
Later, Kate called his mobile but there was no answer, she left a message. He never called her back, so she rang his hotel in the evening, and they put her through to his room. This time he did answer but said he couldn’t talk as he was leaving for a dinner. He assured he was ok, just busy. Exactly as she had thought. When the call was finished that voice said, “There was someone with him in that room, you heard another voice, stop fooling yourself."
Kate shouted, “Shut up, he's busy, he works hard, that’s all it is”.
The only other contact she had with David in the second week he was away was a short text to remind her to collect him from the airport the next day. “Don’t go,” said that oice. “Leave him to find his own way home”.
Kate paused in her thoughts; would she do that, could she do that, should she? “Oh, for goodness sake” she said out loud . "He is my husband, of course I will collect
him from the airport."
She left the lift at the airport on the wrong level and realised she was in the departure hall, not the arrivals area where she was meeting David. She glanced at the departure board and took in all the flight destinations. Brussels, Paris, Tenerife, New York, Rome……. she stopped at Rome, oh how she has dreamed of visiting Rome. Maybe David would surprise and take her there one weekend she thought. “Never”, shouted the voice in her head, “he’s more likely to take that woman with him, the one you heard in his room last this week, the one whose lipstick was on his shirt last month, the one whose text message you found on his phone on New Year’s Eve. Go to Rome Kate, do it now, book yourself a ticket, go on, I dare you. Leave him at the airport with no way home.”
“Don’t be ridiculous, I can’t do that," Kate shouted out loud. People stared at her and
she scuttled off back towards the lift. She pressed the button for the arrivals hall and watched the lift doors close. That voice started again, at the same time as the text message alert on her phone. It was David asking where she was. She smiled, he was here, she was looking forward to seeing him.
Or was she? She thought about the person in his room, the lipstick, the text. She thought about that voice in her head going on and on, putting doubts in her mind.
Kate put on her seat belt. As they were about to leave the airport her text message alert sounded. “For god's sake Kate where are you, I’ve been waiting for over an hour now”.
She switched off the phone and sat back in her seat. No voices in her head now. The only sound she could hear was the loud noise of the plane's engine as it thundered down the runway on the start of its journey to Rome.