“Maria Marks? You’ve got a phone call,” the man at the main desk said, “You can take it in the phone booth over there.”
She’d was at the conference as translator and wasn’t expecting any calls except from her husband who was due to fly into Rome from Uganda.
“Hello, Michael?” she said with enthusiasm.
“Hello Maria.” came his reply, a little flat.
“When are you arriving, they’ve given me a double room so just tell me when and I’ll have a driver pick you up!”
“Listen, I won’t be coming. I’m afraid that, well, it’s over.”
“Our marriage. You see, while I was down in Uganda, I met this woman and … well, I’ve brought her back with me, I’m in love.”
“What? Just like that?”
“I’m sorry, I know … I’m a bastard, but you know, these things happen.”
Silence fell. She felt as though she’d just been dropped into a lake full of ice and that ice had seeped into her blood stream. Now she understood the silences…the counter order for her departure to Uganda last month, why he’d encouraged her to go to the conference, where he said he’d meet her. She wondered why she hadn’t caught on sooner.
“I need you to do me a favor.”
Could he be kidding?
“Well, I’m at the house, and well, it’ll cost me a fortune to go to a hotel, do you think you mightn’t stay at one of the firm’s apartments?”
“What the fuck are you saying!” she felt the ice turn to fire.
“Well, I know you can if you want to … it’ll just be for a little while, until I can get settled.”
“I’ll be home tomorrow at 5:00 as planned and you’d better not be there with anyone else. If this is a joke, it’s really in poor taste!”
“It’s no joke. I couldn’t leave her down there, you know what those countries are like! Come on it’s just for a few days, until I find an apartment! I know you won’t mind helping out.”
She felt light-headed. So, this was the image he had of her was, nice sweet complying Maria, always ready to help out.
“You get out of that apartment. I’m having Joel pass by and you better not be there when he gets there. You hear me. You go and find yourself a hotel for you and your new girlfriend. You just get out of my house!”
“It’s my house too, I’ve got a right to stay here!”
“Not with another woman you don’t”
She put the phone down and called Joel, telling him everything. He agreed to go by the house and then have the lock changed once he was sure Michael was gone.
She went to the beauty parlor. She had long red hair when she went in, Michael had always loved her hair, when she left she had a short bob. Somehow cutting her hair made her feel stronger.
Written for Mindlovemisery’s MenagerieTale Weaver’s Prompt.