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How Was I To Know?

by Opal 

Posted: 27 September 2003
Word Count: 1444
Summary: Just a lighthearted piece of fiction

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How Was I To Know?

I suppose it was the final straw when I saw them together.
Of course I realised quite early on that there was another woman.
Brian has a mobile phone that he takes everywhere. That in itself speaks volumes, don't you think?
I ask you, what man carries his own private phone if he's not making secret assignations? I'd heard him speaking to her two or three times. I knew her name was Vera, but I had never actually seen her. Until yesterday.
She's a platinum blonde. Mind you I use the term loosely.
In my day she would have been known as a 'suicide blonde'. Dyed by her own hand. Do you get it? Clever, isn't it?
Well, as I was saying I saw them. She was all over him like a tablecloth. Laughing up into his face, touching his arm. I could see what she was up to straight away.
He loved every moment and his 'little boy lost 'look went into overdrive.
I'd gone to the market to buy some fruit, as Brian does like a piece of fruit after his dinner and I happened to look across at the stall opposite, and there they were.
Of course, I stepped back so that they wouldn't see me, and I watched them. Brian was pretending to be interested in whatever it was she was showing him on her stall.
He's very good at that, is Brian. Pretending an interest in things in order to get friendly with women.

I can remember the time it was a health food fad. There was a girl named Leanne who worked in the shop, she was another flighty piece of goods. I really can't understand the man.
He must know that they're not interested in him as a person.
No! They simply look on him as an old fool who could possibly have plenty of money, and who, if they play their cards right, might be gullible enough to spend it on them.
Anyway, I was telling you about this girl Leanne.
Brian got it into his head that he needed to go on a 'health kick' I think he called it, and he took to bringing home all these herbal tasting things. Horrible they were too, however, he
insisted on going down to the Health Food shop every other day. But somehow the stuff he brought home never seemed to get eaten, so naturally I began to get suspicious, and decided to follow him.
Caught him, didn't I? ' Bang to rights' as they say in the detective stories.
There they were the two of them, heads close together, giggling like a couple of school kids.
Brian went into a sulk after I'd dragged him out of the shop, wouldn't speak for a week, and I know he went down to the hospital to see if that silly little girl was all right. Of course I knew she'd be all right.
It was only a small jar of peanut butter I threw.
Brian made a fuss about me 'assaulting ' her as he put it, said it had cost him a lot of money to persuade her not to bring a charge against me. As if I cared whether she brought a charge against me or not. No judge in the country would have condemned me for what I did.
When you've got a womanising husband you have to protect what's yours by whatever means you can. You'd agree with that, wouldn't you? More tea?
There was no further talk of healthy eating and things more or less went back to normal.
That is until he met Julia.
She worked at the DIY shop just outside of town; Brian suddenly developed an interest in home improvement, something he'd never bothered with before. I always choose the wallpaper, and do most of the decorating; I think women are far better at that sort of thing. Don't you agree? However, there he was dashing down to the DIY shop whenever the fancy took him, and you should have seen the rubbish he was bringing home. Shelves that we didn't have room for but that he decided must be put up, although he didn't fool me for one moment.
I knew there had to be another woman and so next time he said he was going to the DIY shop I said I would go with him.
It was obvious that he didn't want to take me, so of course that settled it. I was determined to find out who she was and put a stop to it at once
She turned out to be a blonde just like this latest one.
'Oh hallo, Mr Gale,' she simpered. 'Bought the lady wife in, have we? Is she going to help us choose some more shelving?'
I felt my blood begin to boil 'Do you mind not referring to me in the third person, miss,' I said, 'I have not come here to choose shelving. I have come here to tell you to keep your dirty little paws off my husband. He is not available. Never has been and never will be.'
Of course I only intended the spray paint to go over her shoes, but when I saw her standing there with her mouth wide open pretending to be shocked, pretending she didn't know what I was talking about, well I just couldn't help myself. Anyway I would have probably missed if her mouth had been smaller.
Brian was mortified when I had to go to court. They fined me, and said that I was lucky to get off so lightly, but apparently the shop didn't want any publicity.
That woman was transferred.
Brian left me. He was gone for three weeks. I don't know where he stayed, but when he came back he I thought he looked rather thin and haggard, and I was surprised at how much older he seemed. I'm sure there was a woman involved although I don't know who she is yet.
He hasn't mentioned the court case at all. In fact he hasn't said much about anything.
. *
So you're a doctor? Brian said he was going to send for one. Is he Ill? Oh I do hope he won't have to go into hospital. I don't trust those nurses.
Let's see, where was I? Oh yes I know. I was telling you about Vera.
Well the day that I saw them in the market he came home with a bunch of flowers. Now I ask you. What man brings home a bunch of flowers in the middle of the week?
A guilty one that's who.
Did I mention that he pretends an interest in anything that his current peccadillo might be involved with?
With me it was books. I was a librarian, 'Belle of the books' he used to call me. I suppose it was because my name is Isobel.
He would come in every other day to change his books. It wasn't until after we were married I discovered that he had didn't even like reading, but that's Brian all over; he can make a woman believe that whatever she's involved with is his all-consuming passion. This time it's flowers and things. Utter nonsense. We haven't even got a garden. As you can see it's just a small patio, with a few tubs
I was cutting the bread for our tea when I looked out of the window. Who should be walking up my garden path as bold as brass, but that woman.
How dare she invade my privacy? At least his other paramours had the common decency not to bring their sordid little affairs to the house, but I thought I would play it cool. Find out what she wanted. I opened the door and asked if I could help her.
'Is Mr Gale at home?' she smirked. 'Tell him it's his Vera.'
'Oh is it?' I said
I'd forgotten I was still holding the bread knife.

There wasn't a lot of blood; I only cut her arm.
Then Brian came screaming. Yes! Screaming down the hall.
'Oh my God. What have you done?' As if I was the one in the wrong.
'Just saying hallo to your new lady friend Vera.'

No. Of course I don't blame myself. It wasn't my fault.
How was I to know there was a plant with such a stupid name as Aloe Vera?
I do know it made a terrible mess on my doorstep when she dropped it.
What's Brian doing with my coat? Are we going somewhere? Oh are you coming too, Doctor?'



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Comments by other Members

old friend at 15:38 on 28 September 2003  Report this post
Hello Opal,

Your piece was extremely entertaining. I like your style very much.

I felt that the reference to mobile phones and Isobel's inference that any man who carries one has a fancy woman at the other end was hard to accept. Personally I would never have one - mobile phone, I mean.

It was a great pleasure to read as the character of Isobel was beautifully developed from her own lips. Do let us see more of your writing.

JohnK's suggestion about radio is spot on.


Anna Reynolds at 16:21 on 28 September 2003  Report this post
Opal, I agree with the previous comment about the mobile- at first, it didn't really quite work for me because everybody has phones and most people do take them everywhere but of course, everything that she's saying/thinking must be seen as part of her highly developed paranoia. The way you drop in the incidents/assaults is cleverly done. A bit Alan Bennett, and that's no bad thing.

Opal at 18:43 on 28 September 2003  Report this post
Thank you all for your very encouraging comments. I did once enjoy writing for radio. I had a story broadcast on Radio 4 some years ago, but now they no longer seem to accept unknowns. However, I will go on to the website John suggests. Thanks again. Can'tsend any more work yet, not a full member, althoughI am sending my cheque tomorrow.

Account Closed at 20:41 on 29 September 2003  Report this post
A great story with some lovely touches. I liked 'she was all over him like a tablecloth'. I found the story amusing and also a little disturbing, but I like those kinds of stories. James x

Opal at 21:01 on 29 September 2003  Report this post
Hallo James
Thanks for comment
Glad you liked it.
It is nice to get feed back isn't it. and much appreciated by me.

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