'Where is he?' she muttered to herself, as she let go of the curtain, which draped over the china figurine of two people dancing the waltz. Taking another look in the cheval-glass she held her dress by the bottom and did a twirl, smiling all the way round. Still fits like a glove, she thought. Christine flicked some non-existent fluff off her dress and adjusted herself. What was the time? Where were her glasses?
Her hands fumbled round the wedding photos on her dresser, pushing a hair brush, before finding the small school-teacher style glasses. Lifting them up to her face she flicked their golden chain from her hair and squinted as she put them on to look at her watch. Not a chance, she thought. How many times could I have told him to spend more time with me. Begged him. And what would he say? 'I'm doing for us luv. So we can have nice things and go on holidays.' Work, work, work. Nothing but bloody work. You are always working. You are never here, I kept telling him, she thought.
A sigh echoed in the lonely silence as she started walking down the stairs, pressing her feet into the new thick carpet. It was just like reflexology. After putting the kettle on, she tossed a teabag in a mug that said 'I prefer wine.' Whilst the kettle was boiling, she gazed at their new garden through the leadlight sash window. It was Brian's idea to move to the hamlet. One of his better ones. Away from the urban hustle. She grimaced when she thought of the mortgage payments. Flipping banks. They skin you alive, she thought.
Pouring the hot water in the mug, she turned towards the window as she heard the wail of sirens in the distance. The main road was around two miles away. If he was not here in half an hour they would never make it to London. The Phantom. She could watch it again and again.
'Think of me, think of me softly when we say goodbye,' she hummed.
They had bought the tickets to the Phantom two months ago for their wedding anniversary. Christine had made Brian promise her that he would take the day off. Christine had suggested lunch at a Thai Restaurant in Holborn, then cream-teas in Haymarket, before the theatre.
'I'll take the day off Christine. Don't worry,' she remembered him saying. But you never did.
She was startled out of her reverie by the sound of another siren. 'I wonder what's going on' she muttered to herself.
Another siren made her pull the net-curtain back and look out of the window. But the road was too far to see anything. Why am I crying, she thought. The tissue paper was covered in tears and mascara as she threw it in the bin. She took another look at herself in the oval ornate mirror at the bottom of the stairs.
What a mess. We are gonna be definitely late. We'll never gonna make it if we don't get going in half an hour. Cancelled outings, last minute excuses to my family, friends stood up. I can't even go on a date with my husband anymore.
The car pulling up made her dash to the door. Finally, she thought.
She opened the door to see a policewoman stepping out of a big patrol car, like the ones you see on the motorway, putting her white bowler hat on. There was a policeman locking it. The policewoman was already making her way to the cast-iron gate, hesitating before opening it to walk up the cobbled path. Christine had crossed the threshold and was on the balcony-style porch, biting her bottom lip.
'Mrs Harrison?' asked the policewoman.
'Yes...yes... this is she.'
But her legs crumbled. She clutched her chest and fell to the ground knocking over a small metal bistro coffee-table as the officers raced towards her. The policeman was supporting her head as the other officer was on her radio calling for an ambulance. Christine looked up.
'Is he dead?'
'Who Mrs Harrison?'
'We have found your car. The one that was stolen two months ago,' said the policeman with a puzzled looked on his face.
'Christine! Christine. Oh my dear, what's happened here?' asked Brian running up to them.
Christine sat up and looked at him; then looked at the policeman and back at Brian.