This is the twelfth part of a fiction serial, in 776 words.
Married life suited me well enough. Susan took to it like a fish to water, and became a real housewife. She cooked nice meals every evening, and at weekends we usually went back to see my parents, and hers. Her mum and dad had never come over for that tea, but she couldn’t be bothered to argue with them about them not seeing the house. She thought she knew why they had never visited.
“They’re just jealous, Danny. They could have bought a house years ago, but chose to stay renting off the Council. Now they are embarrassed because Keith has an upper-class girlfriend, and they are ashamed of Deptford”.
She found out that Graham Simpson had an art exhibition in Brighton, and one Saturday,we drove down to see it. Because she was that few years older, she had known him briefly back in Deptford. I hardly remembered him, but we got on well. He introduced his friend to us, but the bloke was a shade too effeminate for my liking. He made me feel uncomfortable, talking like a woman, and his long hair perfectly styled.
As for the art on display, well that was a matter of taste, and it wasn’t my taste. It looked like a little kid had got paint on its feet, then run around the canvas. But I kept my opinion to myself, and when Susan whispered that one of them had been sold for two thousand quid, I was suitably impressed. We even had our photo taken with him, and he told us it was going to be printed in the local paper.
Before we left to drive home, I had a chat with Graham about his brother and his dad. He seemed to be fully aware of what had happened, and it was soon obvious that he was in regular contact with his mum.
“Yes, I hear that Johnny is not doing well. He is working part-time in a warehouse in the railway arches, and spending a lot of time alone in his room. By the way, I wanted to thank you for being so kind to my mum when all that happened. She speaks so well of you Danny”. Then he hugged me, and I let him. He didn’t know that musketeers don’t hug.
In work on the Monday, Nancy came and sat on my desk. She didn’t care that I could see right up her skirt, even opened her knees a bit to make sure I could. “Tell me you are coming to the Christmas party this year, Danny. I’m organising it, and there’s going to be a nice meal followed by a club night. I doubt most of the old geezers here will show up at the club, so I am counting on you. Can you give me a tenner deposit to confirm?”
Handing over the tenner, I grinned at her. How could I resist?
Three weeks later, Susan had an interview for a new job, and she was offered it there and then. It was in a new Estate Agents that had just opened up in Brockley, and she would be doing the typing and some secretarial work. The pay wasn’t much more than she got at the factory, but she could walk to work in five minutes, and save on the train fares. We went out to celebrate when she handed her notice in. I took her to an Indian place in Lewisham, and we got a taxi both ways so we could both have a drink.
After a couple of months in her new job, she started to talk about kids.
“With me working so close, it would be easy to find a nursery. You don’t need the car during the week, so I could manage to still go shopping and everything else would get done. If I come off the pill now, we might get lucky next year. Is that okay with you, love?” I said it was. I didn’t want to upset her by saying no.
I thought about Terry, still living with his in-laws. Keith, trying to act posh for his new bird and his job with the M.P. Johnny, stuck in the house scared of his own shadow as people thought he might have grassed up the real criminals. Alice, bringing up a kid her and her husband both knew was someone else’s. Georgie, released from prison but living in his siter’s spare room in a Charlton flat.
Then there was me. With a nice wife, our own house, decent jobs, a car, and a future.
No doubt I had come off best. As far as I was concerned, anyway.