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Lesley sat at the bar, something she would never normally do. But then today wasn’t a normal day. Her husband of thirty-one years had just told her that he was leaving her. For a younger model, no doubt, she thought cynically, ordering another large glass of dry white wine. It wasn’t even good wine, despite it costing nearly £9 a glass. Christ, she could buy a whole bottle for that. What was she thinking? Oh, she wasn’t. She remembered. To hell with everything. Throw caution to the wind. So what if she had just blown nearly thirty quid on a few glasses of wine? In the whole scheme of things, it was nothing. Her life had effectively come to an end. The life that she had shared with her childhood sweetheart had just ended as abruptly and as scarily as a car crashing into a brick wall at 100 mph. She was the wreckage and the one left to deal with the fallout because he had gone tripping into the light fandango with his new lover. Bitch!
She ordered another glass of wine but this time carried it over to one of the leather couches near the log fire, which was neatly laid, ready to light in the cold weather. As she sat down and settled her glass on the shabby chic table, Lesley leaned back and took in the vista through the glass-walled bar of the plush country club. All sorts of thoughts were ricocheting around in her head. What’s going to happen to their beautiful home on the hill with the fantastic view over the Kingsbridge estuary? She wasn’t going to move out. Brian had already packed his things and said he would be back to collect the rest later. Should she change the locks? Stop that bastard from ever entering her space again. And what about the kids? Who was going to tell them? Lucy worked in London as a Forensic Accountant and Luke was a Golf Instructor in Dubai. How would they take the news that their parents had split up? And why hadn’t she seen this coming?
‘Is anybody sitting here?’ An older guy dressed in some fancy golfing gear and holding a pint of Guinness loomed over her.
‘No,’ she replied dismissively, wishing he would sit anywhere else in the bar but at her table. No sooner had he sat down in one of the smart upright chairs opposite, annoyingly blocking her view of the golf course and estuary beyond, another bloke plonked himself down next to him and together they started analysing their game, dissecting each hole, one by one.
Jee-zus, she thought, why can’t they go and find somewhere else to natter mindlessly about something so boring as hitting a white ball with a stick and getting so frustrated when it doesn’t go straight into the hole? She took out her phone and sent a text to her friend, Brenda, to see if she could come and pick her up to take her home. She was suddenly feeling very tearful and the enormity of what had just happened hit her like a punch in the gut. She wanted to tell the two golfers to shut the fuck up but of course, she didn’t. If she did, she would just be taking her frustration out on them when what she should be doing is shouting at her husband. Soon-to-be ex-husband. How could she not have noticed that he was seeing somebody else? She hadn’t found any stray lipstick on his shirt collars, nor caught a whiff of an unfamiliar perfume. He must have covered his tracks really well. And why hadn’t he talked to her? Tell her that things between them weren’t great. She thought things were okay between them. The sex had dwindled to once in a blue moon but she had just put that down to their age. People who have been married forever don’t keep having good sex, do they? For a split second, emboldened by the wine, she thought about asking the men sitting opposite but then realised that it probably wasn’t a good idea.
Her phone pinged and she was relieved to see that Brenda was on her way. She desperately needed a shoulder to cry on. Draining her glass, she thought she would make her way downstairs to the fancy foyer to save Brenda coming up to find her. The bar was filling up fast as the glorious summer evening lured couples out for a drink and a romantic meal on the terrace. God, she and Brian had eaten here countless times since it first opened back in the Nineties and it was still as good now as it had been back then. As she pulled out a compact mirror from her handbag to check her appearance, she couldn’t help but think that although Brian obviously didn’t find her attractive anymore, she still had ‘it’ and knew that the men opposite had been surreptitiously sneaking peeks at her shapely legs, which were still beautifully tanned from her and Brian’s recent holiday in the Caribbean. And then she overheard one of them saying, ‘Did you hear about Derek? The golf pro.’
‘No, what’s happened?’ the other one replied, leaning forward in his chair, anticipating something juicy was about to be imparted.
‘Only run off with a bloke. Brian, his name is, apparently. Lives in that flashy house on the hill. I didn’t see that one coming, did you?’ And with that, the two men roared with laughter and suddenly, everything made sense. Her husband had jilted her for another man. Christ! How the hell was she going to tell Lucy and Luke? Bollocks, she thought. Their father can bloody well tell them. And with that, she got up and made her way to the exit, unsure whether she would make it to the Ladies in time before she threw up.
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