Sometimes, when it’s quiet, I can remember what my life was like before moving to Cedar Springs, and I begin to wonder what would have happened if we had stayed in England. One thing is for sure, I wouldn’t be here in a police cell, awaiting trial for a crime I hadn’t committed.
It had been my husband’s idea to move to Canada. It was to be a new life, a new country, a new start. There were fantastic job opportunities to be had there, Mark had thought, and life for our teenage children promised to be better in Canada than it was in England these days.
Right from the first, it seemed he was right. Mark was commissioned by his multi-National company in the UK to set up a new factory on the outskirts of Toronto. We had found a fantastic house in Burlington, twice as big as the one we had left at home in England. This house had acres of land bordering it, on the edge of a forest surrounding the shimmering lakes at Cedar Springs. I got an administrative job in the local golf club. Our children soon settled down in their new school and, after some initial friendly teasing about their British accents, started talking as if they were native Canadians, and had made lots of friends. It seemed we had found our own piece of paradise. Except for the fact that we both had to leave our families at home in England, we were all really happy for the first time in years. After three years we felt like we truly belonged, and applied for Canadian citizenship.
Of course, we went “home” every year to England to visit our families. Everything there always seemed smaller, drabber; and life seemed to be even more frenetic than it had been when we lived there. These annual visits confirmed our opinions that we didn’t belong there any longer, and although we were glad to see our families again, we were always pleased to leave and return to our idyllic paradise in Cedar Springs.
Ten years later, our children had grown up and found partners, Mark’s business had gone from strength to strength, and I was still enjoying my job in the golf club. I got to meet lots of people, and couldn’t have asked for better surroundings.
Then I met Craig, a new golf professional at the club. We used to laugh and joke a lot, and he offered to teach me how to play golf. I don’t know why I hadn’t ever tried it before, but I got to really enjoy it. I almost became obsessive about it. I used to get home later and later from work. My husband, Mark, was always working very late these days, so was hardly ever home before ten, and wouldn’t even know I had only arrived home myself half an hour before him. I had quickly rustled up a nutritious meal for us, which we would eat as soon as he got home, whilst talking about our day. Then he would crash out with exhaustion.
Weekends were not much better. Mark would always “go to work” on a Saturday, and sometimes even on Sunday. Our seemingly idyllic life was not so good these days, and we became quarrelsome. Sex was a thing of the past, he was never interested. I began to wonder if he really was at work, or if he was seeing someone. He was always so remote. Sometimes, after I had a drink or two, I would accuse him. He would just sit there, saying nothing, denying nothing.
Inevitably, I began to spend more and more time with Craig. One day, after a round of golf, he bought me dinner accompanied by a bottle of expensive wine. Craig was stimulating, and interesting to listen to, and he had been refilling my glass every time I had taken a mouthful or two. I lost track of how much I had to drink. At the end of the meal, Craig said that both of us had drunk too much to drive, so he paid for a cab to take both of us home. He said my house was on the way to his, and he could drop me off at my house, then pick me up the next morning on his way back to the golf club. That made sense to me at the time.
I got home, and saw the lights were on downstairs. Mark must have come home early for a change. He would be wondering where I was, but why hadn’t he called me? Curiously, Mark’s car wasn’t in the driveway though. The driveway was empty. I began to start worrying, so Craig volunteered to accompany me into the house.
As I walked into the hallway, I called Mark’s name, but there was no reply. I searched the house, but there was no sign of him, and there appeared to be nothing out of place. I called Mark’s cellphone, but it was switched off. Meanwhile, Craig had dismissed the cab, saying he would wait with me until Mark got home. I busied myself preparing a quick meal for Mark, leaving Craig in front of the TV, but he soon came into the kitchen to chat to me. I poured him a drink and helped myself to another glass. As I was stirring the risotto I was cooking, Craig came up behind me and put his arms around me. Suddenly we were kissing.
Just then, the back door opened, and in came Mark, fuming with rage. He had seen it all. He said he had been walking down by the woods, trying to unwind after he had been dropped off at home by a work colleague because his car wouldn’t start, and it was too late to call out a mechanic. He had seen us come into the house, wondering why I had come home with a man, and stood outside watching us. Mark suddenly went for Craig, but Craig was fitter than him and managed to fend him off. Mark caught his head on the corner of the work surface as he fell to the ground. His head was bleeding badly. I called for an ambulance, trying to stop the blood with a tea towel.
By the time the ambulance arrived Mark was delirious. Craig and I were trying to tell the paramedics what had happened, but Mark was telling them that we were having an affair and when he had found us together, we had attacked and overpowered him. He was rushed off to hospital, but he died on the way. The next thing we knew, Craig and I were both arrested, under suspicion of manslaughter, and I wondered how we were going to clear ourselves if they had a dying man’s word that we had attacked him. Suddenly, I was wishing I was far away from Cedar Springs, back home in England, and could wake up from this dreadful nightmare I had found myself in.