You give it everything you’ve got. And then the day comes when you’ve got nothing more to give. Nothing. He’s had it all. So you decide to leave. Just like that. If you thought about it, you’d find reasons to stay. Your sister found reasons to stay. She said she’d be happy with what she had and develop a thicker skin. Your sister’s always had a thick skin.
You go. With your old suitcase. You don’t take the one he gave you to take on honeymoon, the red leather one with your initials on it, your married initials, for when you became his possession, Mrs Him. You take your old suitcase which was your brother’s when he went to college and which was handed down to him by Uncle Bert because your brother was going to be a lawyer, like Uncle Bert and not a farmer like your father who wouldn’t even give your brother a wallet when he left, never mind a suitcase.
But what do you take when you leave your husband? Some women would take his best things, or ruin them. You could wreck his Naim stereo equipment. You could shatter his collection of Ella Fitzgerald on vinyl. You could granulate the Royal Doulton dinner service his great-aunt left him over his Carrara marble tiles.
You won’t touch any of it.
And you won’t take anything. None of his presents. Not one. He can wear the sexy underwear himself.
You’ve left the house the way he likes it. The baby’s fed and won’t need attention for an hour, and anyway he’ll be home in fifteen minutes. No harm will come to her.
He’s at the door.
Valentine’s Day red roses?
By Joy Manné