Yesterday’s Shadow (Red Letter Day 2)

She found the letter purely by accident.
Having read and re-read it, she was convinced the subject was her husband.
What to do?
Should she show him? Should she say something? How would he react?

They had been together 17 years, but married for only 10. Their children were 15, 9 and 3, they lived in a nice council flat, he was a good provider as she never had to worry about the important things, and they were happy.
She didn’t want to jeopardize that by raking up the past.

He had never been secretive though. She knew most of the family history, pretty standard stuff:  parents forced into marriage due to pregnancy, a bitter divorce, short-lived relationships, alcoholism, denial, favoritism, facts of life for so many kids growing up with a single parent.

Her brother-in-law had been in trouble way before the day they met. Already a statistic with the local Bill, he had been lucky in not serving time for theft and burglary but given Community Service instead.
He had made a play for her too in those early days, not taking her rejection well as he was used to getting his own way every time, spitefully lying and turning the tables if he didn’t.

Her father-in-law was a mess.
Never accepting to be the one in the wrong, he screwed up every relationship, blaming everyone else, and playing on family sympathy. His mother had bailed him out on countless occasions, but his father and step mother were no more than drinking buddies, and they soon lost interest when they realised he took full advantage of their pub sessions, never buying a single round.
He’d lost his friends years ago, and it was a wonder he hadn’t killed himself or someone else, behind the wheel on his drinking sprees.
He’d been fired from his job in 1990 and signed on for a computer programming course at college, but couldn’t hack it, mainly because most attendance days he was nursing a giant hangover.

The two lived together now in a cramped one bedroom apartment, one sleeping on a sofa bed in the lounge, and continually drowned their sorrows cursing the life they led, not seeing that most of it was their own fault.

Jim was different.
He had his head on straight, and right at the beginning of their relationship, he had never lied or misled her.
After leaving school, he’d got an apprenticeship by chance through talking to a friend of  a Friend.
The guy was an excellent mechanic having set up on his own many years before, and as his own son wasn’t interested in the business, he’d taken him on. Fully qualified, Jim was still there some twenty years on, the two men got on so well.
His boss was fair and honest, but gave ‘credit’ to no-one, not even family. There had been an exception with ‘The Friend’ all those years before, an arrangement that worked for both as she’d ensured he was never out-of-pocket on a job if she couldn’t meet the full bill at once. The assumption that it would continue after things changed was immediately quashed, much to her father-in-law’s surprise and annoyance.

Yes, a lot of things changed that day, the day when after almost nine years, Jim’s father’s partner left.
His Dad went mad at the inconvenience, having to explain to Jim’s mother that he had no babysitter and housekeeper anymore, and what was she going to do about it.
His brother was delighted. He’d never liked ‘the Bitch’, especially since he couldn’t twist her round his little finger, and she’d dealt with the police on his first shop lifting offense, causing him to face the full wrath of his father.
Jim knew why she’d gone though, and in all honesty, didn’t blame her.
He was amazed she’d stayed so long, putting up with his Dad’s drinking, holding down a full-time job to make ends meet and looking after them all but getting little in return.
It was only 3 weeks before a new girlfriend moved in, moving out a fortnight later refusing to put up with his habits, attitude, and selfishness, and being expected to look after the kids when he went down the pub.  Jim had wondered how long their affair had been going on and if She’d known.

Jim had looked Her up a few years later.
Though this was before they met, he’d told her about it.
His brother had got in with a bad crowd, and he was concerned about the road he was taking. He needed to talk to someone other than family, and thought of Her.
Afterwards, he’d talked to his Dad, who refused to believe his accusations and ignored his concerns, that was until the police knocked on the door and took his brother away in handcuffs a week later.
Jim had decided there and then to get out, and his best friend’s family offered him a room for a nominal rent.

She and Jim had met a few years after that and although she’d met his Dad and brother on several occasions, she was glad it wasn’t on a regular basis. She was also glad he hadn’t fallen into the trap of lending either of them money, saying his family came first, not the next pint down the pub, which caused more ill feeling between them. Having seen the effects of alcohol on the pair of them, Jim rarely drank, and even then, it was only a cheap bottle of plonk they shared on a special occasion at home.

As a father, he loved his kids. No matter how tired he was after work, he made time for them. They had their evening meals together always, and the weekends were family time, a picnic on a sunny day, an outing to the seaside or a drive out into the country on Sundays.

Jim sometimes spoke of the woman who cared for him in the early years of his life after his mother’s desertion. It was she who discovered that his Mum had had a nervous breakdown and made him understand that it was not his fault that she had left.
In fact, she hadn’t blamed anybody, saying that it just happened sometimes, and actually befriended his Mum, encouraging their relationship to grow and for her to become a part of their lives without strings or conditions.

She read the letter again.
She would talk to Jim and show him.
It may not be Her, but then again, maybe it was and he might want to know.

© Copyright 2015 Author Pensitivity101 All rights reserved.

About pensitivity101

I am a retired number cruncher with a vivid imagination and wacky sense of humour which extends to short stories and poetry. I love to cook and am a bit of a dog whisperer as I get on better with them than people sometimes! We have recently lost our beloved dog Maggie who adopted us as a 7 week old pup in March 2005. We decided to have a photo put on canvas as we had for her predecessor Barney, and now have three pictures of our fur babies on the wall as we found a snapshot of my GSD so had hers done too. From 2014 to 2017 'Home' was a 41 foot narrow boat where we made strong friendships both on and off the water. We were close to nature enjoying swan and duck families for neighbours, and it was a fascinating chapter in our lives. We now reside in a small bungalow on the Lincolnshire coast where we have forged new friendships and interests.
This entry was posted in fiction, Red Letter Day, short stories and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Yesterday’s Shadow (Red Letter Day 2)

  1. colinandray says:

    Interesting! I hope you can keep track of everybody! 🙂

  2. Pingback: OK. Over to you (Red Letter Day conclusion) | pensitivity101

Comments are closed.