Wednesday 21 September 2022

Cafe Confidants by Ann Bright, gin and tonic,

What a beautiful day.  Suzie sat in the courtyard garden of the café, sunglasses on, face turned upwards enjoying the warmth of the sun on her face.  The smiling waitress appeared, placing a pot of chamomile tea and a china cup and saucer on her table.  She took a book out of her bag and settled herself in for a luxurious half an hour before her hairdresser’s appointment, followed by a bit of shopping with Jo.  There were two girls at the table in front of her chatting and laughing together, dressed for the weather all tanned limbs in short summer dresses.  She remembered when she used to dress like that, now she preferred a maxi dress, much more forgiving.

She was feeling particularly happy this morning.  Rob had woken early and they’d made love-which always put them both in a great mood.  They’d had breakfast together, then kissed goodbye on the doorstep like a pair of loved up teenagers before he left for work.  She wouldn’t see him again till tomorrow night, he was going to a conference as soon as his shift at the hospital finished.  Things were obviously so much better at work than they had been, he was so much less stressed, even though he was still working regular nights and the odd weekend.  He was attentive, loving, so generous-she looked down at the quilted Chanel bag in her lap that he’d given her last week.  She opened her book and as she looked for her place, she overheard the prettier of the two girls talking to her friend.

“He’s so fit and really classy” she said, face lit up “we text like a hundred times a day.”

Suzie smiled, there’s nothing so wonderful as when you first realise you’re in love.  She was a nurse and Rob a junior doctor when they met-they’d been crazy about each other from the start and the whirlwind romance had become a twenty year relationship.  They’d had their problems for sure, but with perseverance and some marriage counselling they’d endured and at the moment, things were better than ever.

“How long have you been seeing him?”

“Three months”

“How did you meet?”

“I was working in the bar, he came in with a group of mates.  We flirted all night and he took my number.  We hooked up the next week.”

Suzie sipped her tea and went back to reading her book. She had twenty minutes until her appointment.

“He’s a bit older, and he’s like so good in bed-better than any of the other boys.”

Suzie felt herself blush, suddenly feeling voyeuristic at overhearing intimate details, she sneaked a look over at the girl through her sunglasses.  She was self-assured in a way that only attractive people are.  Suzie felt frumpy in comparison.  She returned to reading.

“The thing is,” the girl lowered her voice “he’s married, so we kind of  have to be careful.”

Suzie’s head snapped up.  Suddenly she felt disgusted, horrified that there was a poor wife somewhere being made a fool of.

“Are you really sure you want to be with a married man?  Not sure it’s such a good idea.”

“No, but this is totally different.  And kind of exciting.  We really love each other, I mean he hasn’t exactly said that but I’ve told him.  It’s serious, I think he’ll probably leave his wife, why wouldn’t he?”

Suzie snorted, how many tramps were out there being strung along by vain, middle aged men, with the promise of a potential happy ever after.

“I see him once a week, sometimes every other week when he does a “night shift” the girl did air quotes.

The hairs on the back of Suzie’s neck stood up.

“I have a text, oh its Rob.  He’s picking me up after work tonight-we’re spending the night and all day tomorrow together.  He was supposed to be at conference, but he’s cancelled it to be with me.  He’s booked the most amazing hotel, four poster beds…..”

Bile rose in Suzie’s throat and she felt dizzy.  She took hold of the table with both hands to steady herself, closed her eyes and concentrated on slowly breathing in and out, in and out.  Oh god not again, it’d been so long since the last time that she’d missed the signs- attentiveness, gifts, showering as soon as he got home-she was such an idiot.  Her body crumpled and she fought the urge to cry.  How could he be doing this to her again?

“It’s about an hour from here, I wish we didn’t have to go so far from home but I’m just happy to be with him.”

“But it's always going to be like that, aren’t you bothered?”

“Of course I am, I want to show him off, but we don’t go out in public, we even have room service.  I want him to meet my parents but he says not yet.”

She wasn’t so special, Susie wondered if this girl knew that she was the third vacuous tramp Rob has had affairs with.  And she had no idea how many random shags there were in between.

“It doesn’t sound like he sees this as a long term thing, you know Tiffany.”

“Well we’ll see, I think I’d make a great doctor's wife.”

Suzie laughed under her breath.  Tiffany picked up her bag, put it on the table to put her phone away.

“Ooh that’s nice, is it new?”

“Yeah Rob bought it for me from Topshop, for no reason.”

Suzie placed her hand in the soft leather of the bag on her lap that she knew would have cost Rob about £3000.

She would no doubt have discovered this affair eventually, as she had before.  On both of those occasions she’d confronted him and he’d ended it straight away.  And once the crying, self loathing and counselling sessions were over, they had slipped back into middle aged monotony, with him working too hard-stressed all the time.  These past few months they’d been like honeymooners again, he’d been making so much effort to mitigate the deceit.  And she did have a pretty good life, she didn’t have to work, she had help to keep her beautiful big house,spa membership, long lazy lunches.   She also currently has a husband that worshipped the ground she walked on.  She was sure this infatuation would fizzle out once the novelty wore off for Rob.  Hopefully that wouldn’t be too soon, there were some diamond earrings she had her eye on. 

Suzie rose from her chair and walked over to the girls table.  They both turned towards her.  Tiffany’s shine wasn’t quite so bright close up; she could really do with getting her roots done.   She took a £20 note out of the matching purse in her bag and put it on the table. 

“ There you are,” she looked a very confused Tiffany in the face “consider it a tip.”  


About the author









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