The Colleague Who Came To Stay
Caribou Coffee – bittersweet cocoa and cedar finish
It was already the third night and I was at breaking point. She was a colleague rather than a friend whose home was a fair distance from work and prone to flooding. Hearing her complain about that morning’s difficult journey in treacherous conditions, I offered a bed for the night should the weather show no improvement.
How a bed for the night had become half board, laundry, entertainment and free bar with no check-out date in sight, I wasn’t quite sure. All I know is that I cooked her food, which could have been tastier with this herb or that spice, I did her laundry, which didn’t look as though an iron had been near it and I cleaned her room but missed a cobweb in the corner. I even included her in my family and social life only to hear how my best friend looked like mutton dressed as lamb and I how I was treated like a doormat by my family. The cheek of it!
I was constantly checking the weather forecast, placating my family over her extended use of our one bathroom and assuring my friends that my guest would soon be gone. I wasn’t looking for gratitude or reimbursement. Many guests have stayed at my home over the years and genuinely seemed to enjoy the experience and none had got on my nerves like this one. The looks she gave if I forgot a condiment on the dining table or ran out of milk or biscuits. Every word she uttered was like a knife in my gut; I was exhausted.
On the fourth morning my husband issued an ultimatum; someone had to go and it had to be today. Summoning up my courage and not used to duplicity but knowing it was the only way to get my life back, I entered her office with the intention of telling her about my mother-in-law’s imminent visit.
‘I was just about to e-mail you,’ she said. ‘I won’t be staying at yours tonight, Alison from Accounts has offered me a room and she has two bathrooms,’ she added smugly.
‘That’s great,’ I replied eagerly and I was just about to add ‘you’re welcome any time’, as you would; but I didn’t.
Linda Casper hails from Yorkshire and, after a long career as a high school teacher, she has recently begun to write and has had many short stories, poems and travel articles published. Linda has a keen interest in gardening and is a judge for Yorkshire in Bloom.
Check out her website here: http://thirdageblogger.blogspot.co.uk