The Final Performance (1/4)

By Drum Digital
14 October 2014

Gloria’s friends thought they were better than her – but she was going to show them just how wrong they were.

I quickly disconnected Florence’s call. I could feel the rage building up inside me. I paced my living room floor to vent some of that anger, which was rapidly rising to the surface. I veered back and forth so much that in the end I had to sit down as I was making myself dizzy. My two closest friends had just come up with own their version of the old saying: A friend in need is a friend indeed.

They could now rework it as: A friend in need is no friend of mine. It had been a whole week since I found out that my soon-to-be ex-husband was having an affair. I looked at the empty space on the ring finger where I used to wear my wedding band.

I remembered what it was like to be 21 and wildly in love, full of dreams and plans for the future. And now here I was with my thirtieth birthday looming, sliced through the heart by his stab of betrayal – and left all alone to pick up the pieces after my marriage had disintegrated. At first Tiny and Florence had been great. They had comforted me when i broke down and sobbed my heart out in their arms. “Lucky was a good-for-nothing scoundrel,” Tiny said. “You deserve better than him,” Florence said. “Besides, he drinks too much and a man who drinks too much is no good.”

As I listened to my friends saying all the right things, tears burned the back of my eyes. Whenever I couldn’t sleep I knew all I had to do was pick up the phone and one of them would come around. Thankfully it never came to that, but it was reassuring to know that they were there when I needed a shoulder to cry on. Now, suddenly, everything had begun to change between us. I don’t drink much but right now I felt I needed a stiff measure of some hard liquor. I opened up the drinks cabinet and poured myself a double tot of brandy. My eyes watered but the drink did the trick.

I started to calm down. About a week later I bumped into my neighbour, who was trying to lift a huge box from the boot of her car. “Here, let me help you carry that box, Beauty,” I said as I went over to her. “Oh, thanks, Gloria,” she said with a huge smile. Beauty was one of those people who never seemed to let life get them down. She always appeared to be in a good mood.

Once when I’d asked her about this she had quoted these words to me: “The day which is totally lost is the day during which you didn’t laugh.” “Did you just make that up?” I’d asked her, impressed. “No, some French guy called Pierre Chamfort did.” Beauty was a high school maths and English teacher. She was forever quoting some verse or other.

We dropped the box at her front door. She rummaged in her bag for keys and finally found them buried under an assortment of school papers and loose change.

 To be continued...

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