Friday, 19 April 2019

Vanity



by Stephanie Simpkin

a half-drunk mug of cold tea


Last night I had a dream, so vivid, so real.

My wife Maureen, we met, when we were both, seventeen, a lifetime ago!

I, an apprentice engineer, she a typist, first serious relationship, for both, of us.

The usual story, in those days, pregnant! We married, much to our parents dismay. A whole life in front of you, they, had all said.

A son Peter, soon, followed by our daughter, a year later. How old would they be now, let’s think, Peter, forty-seven, Caroline forty-six.

I wonder if they have children, if I have grandchildren?

I was stupid, foolish, unfair, unfaithful, the women, so many of them. I told Maureen I would never leave her.

We had a beautiful house, swimming pool, tennis courts. Both the children at private schools, then university. Wonderful family holidays, I played golf with my many friends. Why, was it not enough, why?

Why, I met Suzy. The ONE. Stunning, beautiful, young,  a famous model. Cold she was, so cold. She always got, what she wanted. I gave her everything,  anything. Spoilt, selfish, I didn’t know  that, at the time. Love, love at first sight, me, not her, blinded by love, addicted to love.

Funny, when we first met, Brian Ferry preforming live, the cabaret.

I saw her, was drawn to her, an irresistible force, a magnet, I had to have her, fate, destiny.

We were celebrating. I had been  invited to the palace, in June. Sir Edward,  had a nice ring to it.

By now, I was a very, very, successful, wealthy man. I had just made it into the Sunday Times rich list.

A lowly apprentice, from Grimsby. I can still  remember, the fishy smell. Our first flat, above a newsagents, we were happy, so happy!

Now, I mix with royalty, captains of industry, film stars, donate huge amounts to charity.

I asked my oldest friend, (we had been at primary school together, he’d done rather well too), to introduce us, he knew her.

Don’t do it Andrew, he had said, she’s bad news, don’t, be an old fool!

Old, a fool, me?

My friend brought her over. Up close, wow! She took my breath away, her eyes, bright emerald green!

I ignored Maureen, all evening. I couldn’t help myself. I was hooked,  smitten, mesmerised. Eventually Maureen  left. I didn’t notice, I, didn’t care.

I went home three days later, not ashamed, no phone call, no apology, I, was so happy! Ecstatic!

My bags where packed, on the front lawn. Maureen had the locks changed. She wanted a divorce. I had humiliated her, over the years, but now, all over the papers, front page news.

All my friends told me, I was mad, vain, stupid, she only wanted  my money. She was thirty years younger than me.

No one liked her, the women, were probably jealous, all the men wanted her, she, chose me.

I gave Maureen the house, the cars; I paid her a very fair settlement. She would be a very wealthy woman. At first, I saw the children every, weekend.

She stopped me seeing the children. Stopped, me, talking to Maureen, stopped me playing golf.

I know I was weak, foolish. I couldn’t help myself. I loved her, pure love, the sex, she was wild.

After a month, she had the first of many affairs. She said the men meant nothing to her.

She’d crook her little finger and I would go, run! She said, if I married her,  she would be faithful.

We married, immediately, the wedding of the year!

I gave her everything. Diamonds,  emeralds, especially, emeralds. Expensive cars, whatever, she wanted. She was mine, my wife, I was so, lucky.

My solicitor advised a pre-nup.  I would not listen,. It was ME, she wanted, not, my, money. She promised to love me for ever, the age gap, no problem.

By now, we were Sir Andrew and Lady Frost. She told me, no children, it would ruin her body, what, a body. People misunderstood her, why, did no one like her?
 
We had homes, in the south of France. A huge house in Barbados, where we spent winters. A penthouse in London. A super yacht, I named after her. A private plane. Everything, a women could possible want, never enough, never.

I tried contacting my kids, now both married. I wasn’t invited to the weddings. I was informed, I wasn’t wanted.

They would not speak to me. I sent Christmas, birthday presents, returned, unopened, no contact.

I tried asking  Maureen for help, pleaded, begged, nothing!

By now, all my old, friends, had deserted me. Our new friends, hers really. Parties
late nights, she was a brilliant cook;  she never cooked!

The drugs, they all did drugs, she said. She would stop, if, I changed my will.

I left everything to her. She was perfect, is perfect, absolutely perfect.

She said she loved me, she would be with  me, forever, in sickness, and health.

Oh! I hear her voice, she’s here, can’t wait, to kiss her sweet lips, see her, my love, my life.

“Good morning, Lady Frost!”

Who’s that, not one, of her men  friends, no!

I can smell her perfume, I am so, excited.

That beeping, that constant beeping, I can’t hear, what they are saying, turn the beeping off.

 “Lady Frost, I need a decision, please. Any family, children, grandchildren, friends?”

“No one! Switch, the machine off!”


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