The last of the furniture is in the van. It’s not a big van, but I’m not taking everything that is in the house. You see, I have never liked most of the furniture we’ve owned and especially not the sofa. I actually didn’t have much choice about what came into our home, but I have always really hated that orange leather sofa! However, Max liked it, so the sofa stayed. What Max wanted, he always had.
Nevertheless, I can see that the men with the van are confused.
“You’re sure you’ve got everything you need?” one asks me.
I suppose most people do not leave half their worldly goods behind when they move house. These men don’t appreciate that I am starting a new life.
“Quite sure,” I say. “I’ll see you at the other end.”
So, the van drives away down the road, heading to the storage units.
Now, I need to get myself ready. I was supposed to be at work today, but instead, I have fifteen minutes to the start of my new life. I hurry past the kitchen, now completely empty. I chose everything in that kitchen, from the teaspoons to the cupboards. That confirms what I told you earlier about my life with Max. Even as I rush, I wonder if he would be able to tell you what isn’t there!
Upstairs, I pull off my clothes and turn on the shower, soaping my body and shampooing my grey hair, washing the house out of my life. I get out of the shower and dry quickly. I leave the wet towel in a heap on the floor for someone else to deal with.
Next, I dress in the new clothes I have bought for the occasion; a vibrant red dress with matching shoes. Red – the colour Max told me never to wear!
I peer into the bathroom mirror as I put on my make-up, using colours I’ve never tried before. Then, I zip the precious new containers carefully inside my bag. Triumphantly, I sweep the old, discarded cosmetics onto the floor. When I walk out of the bathroom, I leave the old Jenny behind.
Downstairs, I put my suitcases by the front door. Inside them are the things I’ll need for the hotel. Then, I wait – not long now.
I hear the car in the drive and the sound of giggling as they make their way up to the door. I can’t see them, but I imagine them creeping, with that action all part of the game and their betrayal of me.
That game is over now.
I stand behind the door and I wait. I can see them through the small spy hole in the centre of the door. They are entwined in each other’s arms, her blonde hair falling over her shoulders, as she tosses her head in delight when he kisses her neck. And I wait. He is still kissing her as he reaches up to put his key in the keyhole. Finally, I open the door and they tumble through the open doorway and land on the floor.
“I’m going, Max,” I tell him, looking down at the pair of them. “I’m leaving you.”
He looks stunned. I’m not sure if that’s because I’ve found him out, or because he is in a heap on the carpet.
“I thought she’d be out,” the blonde says. “You said she was at work today.”
He doesn’t answer her. As they both struggle to their feet, Max doesn’t even have the grace to offer her his hand. I almost feel sorry for her – almost.
“I’ll be off,” I say. “Oh, by the way, you might need to replace a few things.”
And I pick up my suitcases and walk out of the house.
I don’t know if they’ll go straight upstairs. I’ve left them all the bedding. I didn’t want the sheets or pillows or pillowcases – definitely not the pillowcases, since that was where I found the first blonde hair. Although, from what I’ve heard from the neighbours, I missed the brunette hairs last year and the red hairs from the year before. I have no idea who they belonged to, but I don’t care anymore.
I wonder what Max and the blonde will do when they get upstairs and see that I’ve taken the bed. Still, I think to myself, as I walk down the road, it’s not all bad – at least I’ve left them that sofa.