The trigger was from Somerset Maugham’s short story. The Force of Circumstance. This time we both wrote about a long married couple not communicating well. Both our couples were married for 25 years.
She was sitting on the veranda waiting for her husband to come in for lunch.
As always he was late, which annoyed Cook, but after 25 years of marriage, Marjorie knew there was no hope to change him.
She heard through the kitchen window the cook slamming pots and pans. Cook had made a hot meal as Bob had requested. Usually they had cold salads, sandwiches for lunch, but today Cook had roasted a chicken stuffing the bird with olives and bacon with potatoes and green beans. Well none of that would spoil, it was not like a soufflé on anything.
Marjorie knew that she and Bob had to talk. He would be surprised when she announced that she was leaving, moving back to London. He would ask why.
She would say she was tired of living in Africa, in the country.
He would wave his arm around to the lush garden leading out to the land where their coffee crop was growing and ask how in God’s name would she be able to put up with a dirty, smelly city after all this.
She would not be able to explain about plays, concerts, museums, tea shops. Or rather she could explain, but he would not understand.
There were many times before when she had prepared to leave, but lost heart at the last minute. This time she’d bought airline tickets, non-refundable.
A hour went by. This was late even for Bob. Cook came out and asked “When?” her face twisted in anger.
“I don’t know,” Marjorie said. “Perhaps you should serve me and put a plate aside for my husband.”
She finished eating and Bob still hadn’t appeared.
As she waited for Cook to bring her a cup of coffee, she saw Kofi running in from where Bob should have appeared. “Master Bob is sick.”
Marjorie was wearing slacks and trainers which let her run after Kofi. The field where her husband lay was a good ten minute run away. He was gasping for breath. Having trained as a nurse, she noticed the blue of his gums and thought heart attack.
How quickly she was able to organize Bob being carried back to the house. She went to the room where they had the medical supplies, including oxygen, called the helicopter from the hospital in the city. As she watched the helicopter air lift her husband away, she realized he was the only one that would be flying.