Monday, 24 August 2009
Love is a many splendoured thing 2
Brendan had spent ten of his thirty years of marriage inside. He thought this was a natural consequence of being a career criminal. His wife, June, who’d brought up their two boys alone, thought it was a consequence of Brendan being pig thick. She tried not to dwell on it.
June’s friend, Winnie, whose Dave was a serially unsuccessful robber, said her marriage wouldn’t have lasted without Dave’s lengthy prison sentences. Absence made the heart grow fonder, she said. June hadn’t noticed this, but kept it to herself.
June found herself becoming close to Terry, her next door neighbour, well past forty, who worked for the council and lived with his sister. Terry ran June around, dropped the boys off at football and fixed things around the house. June wasn’t sure what she’d do, if Terry made a pass at her but was somehow disheartened this never seemed to cross his mind.
Brendan was in Wandsworth, looking at another three years, when June surprised herself by fondling Terry’s bottom beside the airing cupboard. Terry pretended not to notice and went on replacing the landing light bulb, so June persisted, almost petulantly. They ended up under the quilt in the second bedroom, where Terry went through his aerobics apologetically and June hung on for dear life. At last, she was meeting her own needs. Terry persisted conscientiously until she gave a little hoot of triumph, whereupon he got off and went downstairs to make a pot of tea.
Their affair went on for three months until, for once in his life, Brendan was acquitted for lack of evidence. On his second night back home, he met Terry at the local pub and Terry bought him a large scotch. Brendan thought he’d never seen the man looking so free and easy.