The Helping Hand

‘Let me help you with that,’ he said as she struggled to open the door carrying umpteen packages.
With a grateful smile, she thanked him, even more so as he took the heaviest bags from her and with ease carried them up the steps.
‘I’m Jack by the way, and moved in last week. You’re in Number 2 aren’t you?’
‘Yes, yes I am,’ she stammered, wondering how he knew.
‘We’re neighbours then, I’m across the hall.’
Ferreting about in her bag for her key, she opened the door and he followed her in.
‘I’ll leave these on the table for you to sort out and be off. See you.’
And with that, he was gone.

Over the next few weeks, she bumped into Jack several times, be it on the stairs, in the lobby or in the car park. He was always polite and early one evening, there was a knock on her door.
He stood there looking a little sheepish.
‘I wonder if you could help me out? A friend was supposed to be coming over for dinner but something came up at the last minute. It’s all prepared, so if you haven’t eaten already, would you like to join me?’

It was to be the first of many, and before long, she and Jack were ‘an item’.
He was always such a gentleman, never letting her carry anything heavy, opening doors for her, making her coffee or tea,  helping out with the washing up or any odd jobs that needed doing.
She got used to having him around, and when he proposed, she didn’t hesitate.
They sold both apartments and moved into a small terraced property that Jack had found on the internet.

He arranged everything for the wedding, from the Registry Office to a celebratory meal and a surprise honeymoon in the Lake District. He even bought her a corsage to wear with her new outfit, something he had taken a special interest in when she wanted to go shopping for it.
It was a wonderful day, one of the happiest she would remember.

Nothing actually changed, but she gradually began to see things in a different light.
Jack was still attentive and caring, but more and more he allowed her to do less and less.
If they went shopping after work, he would insist she was too tired and to stay in the car whilst he got the groceries.
If they went out anywhere, he always drove.
He prepared and cooked all of their meals, even to the extent of clearing up.
He did the housework, the laundry, took care of the bills and any household maintenance.
She was the envy of her workmates, so lucky to have a husband take such good care of her.

But something wasn’t quite right.
She saw another side of Jack when she surprised him on their first wedding anniversary by purchasing tickets for a London Show and an overnight stay in a fancy hotel.
He hit the roof, shouting that she’d wasted their money, even though payment had come out of her own earnings. He yelled that it was his responsibility to determine how they lived, what luxuries they could afford, and for her to leave everything up to him.
He eventually calmed down, but the pleasure of the surprise was shattered and they didn’t go. As the tickets and hotel deposit were non refundable, it was indeed a waste of money.

Shortly after, he suggested it would be far easier having just one bank account, and of course both of them would be able to sign the cheques.
Except there was only one cheque book, and Jack always carried it, though if she wanted any money, he said she only had to ask.

Another two years passed, and Abby lived a life of being waited on hand and foot.
However, she felt she was not allowed to have an opinion or think for herself and any friends ‘pre-Jack’ were not welcome in their home. In fact, they had no friends at all, and at work, Abby started any sentence with either ‘Jack said’, ‘Jack did’,  ‘Jack thinks’, or Jack wants’.
She was always well dressed (Jack loved to see her trying on new clothes), had regular visits to the hairdresser (Jack was content to sit and wait for her), they had a new car (her birthday present, though she rarely drove it), they had holidays or weekends away (Jack liked to surprise her), and often had meals out (Jack always chose from the menu and wine list).

She knew he loved her, but she began to feel stifled.
If she wanted to go out on her own, Jack would always make an excuse to want to come with her.
If she offered to cook, he told her to put her feet up and rest, even if she wasn’t tired.
If there was something on TV she particularly wanted to watch, if it didn’t interest Jack, he’d change channels half way through.
She attempted to tell him how she felt, but he just told her it was ‘his way of showing her how much he cared’ and how lucky she was to have a husband do everything for her.

She once broached the subject of starting a family, but Jack couldn’t understand why she would want to put herself through pregnancy with all its possible complications. Using her age against her (she was only 36), he refused to discuss it further, saying they were happy with just the two of them.

Every day she saw more of her Self extinguished. She was slowly suffocating in a relationship of care, love and devotion, a life in which she wanted for nothing.
But it had come at a price.
The Helping Hands she had fallen in love with had bound hers.

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.
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5 Responses to The Helping Hand

  1. A well-written tale of caution!

  2. scifihammy says:

    Sadly this happens all too often!
    Nicely written 🙂

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