What a difference one moment in time can make! Why had I chosen to take that particular day off work? Alright, I’d not slept well and had woken with a splitting headache, but was that really enough to make me call in sick? I usually just took a couple of Paracetamol and got on with things, but that day I was feeling sorry for myself, and I had crawled back into my inviting bed after having waved my husband off to work as usual. I had exaggerated the headache when I called my boss, who was very sympathetic as she suffered migraines too. How lovely to languish in my comforting bed for another hour or two, such a rare luxury!
I was awakened sharply by the mobile phone ringing by my bed, and glancing at the bedside clock I realised I had been asleep for four hours – it was nearly lunchtime. Thinking that it might be a call from my boss, I sleepily answered the phone and frailly said “Hello”. There was a slight pause, then the phone went dead. “Typical,” I thought “Probably a junk call from some double glazing company.”
I looked to see who the last call was from and was surprised to find it was from a local number, vaguely familiar. I called the number, but got no reply, so I found my address book to see if I could identify the caller. Ah yes, of course, it was my old friend Jo, now my husband’s secretary. But why was she ringing me? Then I remembered, it was Wednesday. My husband always took Wednesday afternoons off to play golf. He hated being disturbed on the golf course, and usually turned off his mobile. Jo would probably know that. But why wasn’t she ringing me from work anyway? Curious!
I picked up the phone again, looking for my husband’s work contact number. Then I realised it was not mine, but my husband’s mobile! He had obviously forgotten it when he went to work that morning. I couldn’t resist looking through his call history. My husband didn’t like using his mobile much but there were several calls to the same person, usually on a Wednesday lunchtime and on a Sunday morning. Coincidentally these were the days he always played golf. Were the calls to someone in the golf club? His playing partner maybe? Perhaps I should ring and let him know that I had my husband’s mobile here, safe at home. I dialled but got no reply.
Finding his work number, I tried ringing my husband. Jo, his secretary, apparently had not been to work that day, but I was told by the receptionist that my husband had left for the day and gone to play golf. Then finding the golf club number, I called to advise them that I had my husband’s phone, so they would let him know when they saw him that afternoon. The club secretary who answered the phone replied that it was unlikely they would see him as he rarely played these days. I could hardly believe it.
“But he plays every Wednesday afternoon and every Sunday morning!” I exclaimed.
“Not these days” was the reply “We’ve hardly seen him for months.”
At that point I think the light started to dawn on me. With fearful heart, I dressed quickly and got into my car. I drove round to Jo’s house. As I had dreaded, parked around the corner was my husband’s car. Tears streaming down my face, and a knife burning into my heart, I turned homewards just as I realised my car radio was playing Dolly Parton’s “Jolene, Jolene, please don‘t take my man!”
The song would be with me ever since, haunting me, taking me back to that moment I wish I could undo.