Colin causes trouble for Jane.
"Hello, Jane, enjoying yourself?
"I knew the voice and quickly turned to look at my husband's friend Colin. He walked away from me slowly, knowing I would follow him. "Colin, wait," I called. I got up and rushed after him grabbing his arm as I reached him. "It's nothing, Colin. I was just giving him a kiss for his birthday, he's only young."
"That's all right, I understand." A smirk appeared on his face.
"Please don't say anything to Bob. He'll get the wrong idea."
"You know, I've always fancied you and because I like you I won't tell Bob what I've seen, but you have to do something in return. I want you to call at my flat tomorrow when you take your dinner break."
"Just for a bit of fun."
" What the hell are you suggesting?"
Colin laughed. "O come on now, Jane, you know what I mean, mutual favours."
"Mutual favours. You mean sex."
"No, I mean female ecstasy, once you've had it off with me you'll never look at another bloke again. Every time you have it with Bob you'll be thinking of me, wishing it were me."
"He's your friend, I'm your friend's wife, how can you even think like that?"
"No one has friends when women are on offer. You're an attractive girl, Jane, and quite horny. All his mates would give you one if they got the chance."
"You disgust me."
"Well, when you call at my place tomorrow we can disgust each other, but if you don't turn up, I'll know you want me to tell Bob and you know what'll happen then don't you."
"I'll tell him you're lying. I'll tell him what you've been saying to me."
"He won't believe you. I'm his mate, ain't I?"
He put a hand onto my breast, but I pushed him away. "You can piss off."
"I'll leave you to think about it." He gave a laugh. "I'll be waiting, tomorrow lunchtime." I turned my back on him and walked away.
I returned from work the next day feeling a bit concerned about Colin, but thought surely he wouldn't tell Bob about the boy; even he was not that low. I put a Vesta curry on and had it simmering as I waited for Bob to come home from work. I went onto the balcony and looked down at the parked cars to see if I could see Bob's car. There was no sign of it, but sometimes he had to park around the side and out of view from the balcony. There was a blue sky mottled with steamy looking clouds. I liked the balcony. It was a special place for me, away from my normal life where I could stand and think, often about my lost love Terry. An aeroplane was passing high up in the sky. I gave a laugh remembering when I had seen a shooting star in the night sky and Terry asked if I had made a wish, I had, but I had lost Terry so the wish could never come true now, if only. I gave a large sigh, thinking of my times with Terry, and wondering if I would ever forget him. I walked back inside and looked at the clock; he was later than usual. I began to worry about spoiling the curry and went to the kitchen to turn the gas off, but just as the gas popped off, I heard the front door close. "You're late tonight," I shouted through.
He walked across and stood in the kitchen doorway. "Yeah, I had a drink with Colin." I looked over at him. "Yes, you can look, you fucking slag."
"Look if it's about that young boy, I just gave him a kiss for his birthday. Nothing's going on, Bob, I swear."
"Bullshit, you had your tongue down his throat, and I've been told it's not the first time either. How long has it been going on ay? I treat you right, I allow you to go out with your mates once a week and this is how you repay me." He rushed over and grabbed my hair; oblivious to my screams he dragged me into the living room and shoved me onto the sofa.
"Don't hit me, Bob, please don't beat me up again."
"I'm not going to beat you up, you're not worth the effort. I'm leaving you, Jane. I'm moving in with Fiona, she's a real woman, a woman who can have children." He walked to the bedroom as I sat staring at him, shocked by what he said. Surely could not do this to me. It was not the same as my other lovers, we were a married couple; we were supposed to stay together. I could hear him opening the cupboards and drawers as he packed his clothes in his old RAF bag. For my own sanity I had to stop him, he couldn't leave me, abandon me, reject me, he mustn't. He walked out carrying the bag and I rushed across to him, throwing my arms around him.
"Bob, don't go, don't leave me. I know we haven't been getting on, but we can work it out I know we can, and we can have children, we can adopt them." He shoved me to the floor, but I dived back at him wrapping my arms around his legs. "Don't do this to me, please, Bob, I'll do anything you say, but please don't leave me." He pulled a knee violently away and then brought it back striking me hard in my face. I let out a scream and fell back, my cheek swelling in a huge purple bruise. I looked back at him. "I'll kill myself," I shouted. "If you leave me I'll kill myself, I can't live on my own, I don't want to be on my own again."
"You want to kill yourself, do you? I'll give you a hand then." He picked me up by my blouse and pulled me across to the balcony. I cried and pleaded with him as he grabbed my hair and bent me over the railings, putting his other arm under my legs he lifted me off the ground, tilting me over the balcony. I struggled and cried in terror as I stared down the side of the nine-storey building, gripping onto the top rail with all my might. I thought my life was over, that he really was going to kill me and I wet my underwear and began screaming. Bob pulled me by my hair back into the living room and pushed me onto the sofa again.
"You've pissed yourself you filthy, disgusting bitch. That's about all you're good at, crying and pissing yourself. What use are you? You can't have kids, you're hopeless in bed, you're good for fuck all." He picked up his bag and walked out leaving me sobbing and trembling on the sofa.
The front door slammed shut, the sound echoing through the flat. I got up and dashed to the bedroom to get changed. There were many items thrown onto the bed, as Bob cleared all the old RAF stuff from his bag before packing his clothes. Seven blue airmail letters were lying amongst some old receipts and out-of-date documents. I didn't take much notice thinking they were some of his old letters. I knew he was sure to call at Colin's flat and I was soon on my way there stopping only to look in the hall mirror at how the flesh on my cheek had swollen up from Bob's blow, almost forcing my right eye closed.
* * * * *
Colin stared at my swollen face looking as if he was shocked, but then he started to laugh. "Walked into a door have we?"
"You bastard, this is your fault."
"Oh no it isn't, you could have avoided all this."
"I want to speak to Bob, is he in there?"
"Bob!" He hesitated. "Oh yes, he's inside, you'd better come in."
I walked into the living room and turned to look at Colin as he closed the door.
"That's right, he's not here, but I am and I'm gonna give you the best shagging you've ever had."
"I don't think so." I went to open the door, but he grabbed me, dragged me across the room, and pushed me against a sideboard. I was trying to force him off and was startled by how strong he was, as if I were powerless to stop him. I was in pain from my face injury as he tried to force kisses on me. I felt as if my spine was going to break from the way he was arching my back against the sideboard. His hands, one molesting me, the other trying to undo his trousers in between trying to control me. I saw a red wine bottle on the sideboard; the bottle was almost empty and was wobbling from the effect of Colin's attack on me. I picked the bottle up by its neck and smashed it across Colin's head with great force. It shocked me the way the bottle seemed to explode, showering me with glass, red wine, and lots of blood. Colin fell to his knees clutching his head.
"You stupid, fucking cow," he screamed.
I rushed from Colin's ground floor flat and ran to the lift, panicking and continually looking round. The lift door opened and I pushed past two women who were leaving the lift. The women were shocked by my appearance, looking as if I had just left a war zone. "Are you all right love?" one of the women asked. I pressed the ninth-floor button and turned away, facing the corner, shying away from the women's attention.
I unlocked my front door and bolted it behind me with some difficulty, my hands shaking frantically. Dropping onto an armchair I leaned forward and grabbed my knees tightly, trying to stop myself from trembling. The smell of the wine was beginning to make me feel sick and I thought I would get washed and changed, but as I stood up, I heard the siren of an ambulance approaching the flats. I stood silently thinking as it pulled up outside. Colin, maybe he was seriously hurt, maybe I had killed him. I rushed to the balcony and looked down relieved to see an attendant walking Colin to the ambulance. A police car pulled up and I panicked and dashed back inside. I walked about the flat unable to settle but was soon back on the balcony. The ambulance had gone but the police car was still there. I walked to the kitchen and leaned on the cooker, knowing that the police were coming up for me.
The banging began on my front door, loud banging and I stood as if frozen to the spot. Would they smash the door in and get me, dragging me off to prison, and who would care if they locked me up and never let me out. I heard a man calling through the letterbox, and then silence. I remained as if glued to the cooker. I didn't want to move in case I made a noise; the police might still be there, listening. A car started up and drove off. I peered through the window relieved that the police had gone. My head was throbbing and my left eye was closed up. I went to the bedroom to remove my spoiled clothing and noticed the letters on my bed as if they were standing out. I shook my head feeling like I had been hallucinating, and then the letters were normal again, but I was now attracted to them and picked them up. They were not Bob's letters, they were addressed to me at Uxbridge with Terry's name and BFPO address on the back. It was a shock to me, although Bob treated me badly I found it hard to believe he had stolen them. I needed a drink and walked to the kitchen putting the letters on a coffee table as I passed. I returned with a half bottle of Bacardi and some cans of Coke. Not bothering to change my clothes I poured a drink and sat down, eager to read Terry's letters. Letters wrote with a love that I had always craved from him, from the first full of hope and passion to the last full of pleas and despair.
The empty Bacardi bottle lay on the floor. I had sat for hours reading the letters repeatedly. It was getting dark, I couldn't read anymore, but I was afraid to turn on the light in case the police were watching and they would know I was at home. I was drawn towards the balcony, drunk and highly depressed. I looked up and this time saw a shooting star crossing the sky. I again thought of the time outside the barrack block with Terry, and then briefly re-lived the moments when we were making love after walking back from the American Base at Ruislip. I remembered the highly emotional passion I had felt, so intense it frightened me, and then the bloody seagulls came screaming across. "What a fool I've been, what a bloody idiot," I mumbled to myself. "If only, if only." I looked back to the sky. Had it been a star, a plane, or even an alien craft, I didn't care anymore and I looked down over the balcony and down to the ground, thinking of ending all my heartache. I leaped back away from the balcony and dashed into the room. "Great, now I'm bloody going off my head." I kicked at the coffee table feeling frustrated because the Bacardi was finished. Bob's Brandy, that might do me some good, might calm me down and stop me from shaking. I took the bottle from the cupboard under a wall unit and poured myself a glass. I took a large gulp of the spirit and immediately felt nauseous. I began wandering about the room, staggering, and found myself on the balcony again.
Even in the drunken state that I was in, my fear was too great as I looked down. I put my hands across my ears. "Stop it, stop it," I screamed and stumbled back across the living room. I stood with my back against the far wall looking at the open door for what seemed to me like minutes, but was possibly only seconds. Tears began running down my cheeks and my trembling had reached an almost exaggerated level. The excessive drinking had finally taken its effect and I collapsed in a heap onto the floor.