Our Kind of Love

By: Victoria Purman

Anna knew that if she had a cure for the loneliness of widows, she’d be rich.

She lifted her head and repositioned herself in her chair, leaning back against the black leather and linking her fingers over her stomach. What about the loneliness of the cheated on? The separated? The childless? That’s what she was now and it was a whole new and scary road for her to navigate. While she would never be truly alone – what Italian could? – Anna knew that loneliness was something else altogether and it had already hit her. When she’d arrived home from Middle Point on Sunday, the day after the night of her disgrace, the stark emptiness of her house had still been a shock. There was always noise with Alex; news on the radio, the television blaring. She’d spent the night before surrounded by loved-up couples and happiness and music, promises and new beginnings.

And she’d driven home to a mausoleum. The king-sized bed was exactly as she’d left it, its sheets stretched to within an inch of their life, so pristine and tight a twenty- cent coin could have bounced off them. Positioned at each side, like ears, sat two squat Asian-style wooden side tables, decorated with matching lamps and artfully arranged books at perpendicular angles. They were actually art. Purely decorative. Anna hadn’t had time to read a book for pleasure in about a decade.

When she’d begun unpacking her weekend bag, hanging things in the walk-in robe, the emptiness hit her. There was a great gaping space where Alex’s suits had always hung on pressed-to-perfection display. His sparklingly polished black shoes were, of course, gone. So were the professionally ironed shirts he’d lovingly organised into plain white, striped and coloured sections.

Now there was silence and an empty space in the wardrobe. Part of her wished she’d taken to his suit trousers with a sharp pair of scissors. Anna had seen that in a movie once. But she was a good girl and good girls didn’t do such ridiculous things. And anyway, revenge like that was never as satisfying in real life as it was portrayed on the big screen; it sat inside you and metastasised, grew into a ball of hatred that only withered, taking you with it.

Anna had been there and done that since she’d found out about his cheating. She’d already obsessed over every stupid detail of Alex’s numerous affairs: where, when, how, what was the first lie, what was the last. Whether the trip to Sydney for work last August had been real or not. Which of the many, many women he’d taken with him. His new haircut and the way he’d become fixated with it. His emotional distance. Only in hindsight did all the pieces fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. And once she’d obsessed and nitpicked over every piece, once she’d seen the whole picture, she’d broken it into pieces and put it back in its box. Where she hoped like hell it would stay.

A ping from her computer alerted Anna to a new email. She pulled her chair closer to the monitor and peered at it. There was nothing in the subject line but she could see it was from Alex.

Can we meet for a coffee? When would be a good time?

Anna’s fingers flew over the keyboard.

When hell freezes over.

She pausing and then deleted it, replaced it with a curt:

I’ll let you know. I have patients. And I would like your keys to my house.

With a furious poke at the return key, Anna’s message zipped off into cyberspace. She wasn’t being melodramatic. It was her house. She’d owned it outright when she’d married Alex. When she was in her twenties, her parents had convinced her to sink her savings into real estate. She’d done as they’d wanted, she was a good Italian girl after all. And now? She loved them all the more for it. It would make the separation so much easier.

And the divorce?

She’d have to think about that later. Much later.

Her phone buzzed. ‘Yep.’

Grace sigh was heavy down the line. ‘It’s Mum.’

‘What does she want?’ Anna sighed back.

‘What do you reckon?’

Anna reluctantly lifted the receiver to her ear and crossed herself for the lies she was about to tell.

‘Hi Ma. How was your weekend?’

‘You should have been at Luca’s birthday lunch. Did you and Alex have a good time at the wedding?’

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