The Island – Tim Jamieson

It sounded like a watermelon smashing on the floor when I caved her head in. I used her husband’s paperweight in his study. She directed me there after I said I was dropping by to pick up his manuscript. I’m not sure whether I had subconsciously decided to do it when she let me in to her house, but I didn’t take off my driving gloves so I must have made up my mind already. In any case it was the earrings that tipped me over the edge. They were the same as the ones I was wearing; her husband had bought them for me too.He’s an author and we’d met strolling along the beach of this Godforsaken island. He was interesting, charming and intelligent, but married. Aren’t all the good ones? I guess that’s no excuse. I’m married too but my husband is a dreadful bore and the reason I live on this tiny sliver of tree covered rock.

We came here for his business. I can’t remember what it is he does. Really. I mean we’ve been married fifteen years and I should probably know but I always forget. Maybe it’s advertising or marketing, or import-export or something. Not really what you talk about at dinner parties; not that we had any friends to dine with. We’d been to all of the restaurants on the island in two months of being here. Half the people don’t speak English and my husband is often away on business. It’s very lonely, the only real friend I’ve got is Jan, who runs the café in town, but she’s always busy so we don’t see each other that often. I guess it was inevitable I’d end up screwing the brains out of this amazing novelist who promised me he was going to leave his boring wife to travel the world with me. True love and all that.

I’d left her lying face down on the cream carpet. It hadn’t been that messy which was handy for me but she did look a state after I’d finished. I remember thinking it would be pretty hard to get the blood stains out of the rug and wondering who would end up having to clean it up. That lying bastard husband of hers was going to get a shock when he came home and the police arrived. He told me on the phone that morning we couldn’t see each other anymore and he was going to make a go of it with his wife. No world travels for me then. I really hate liars.

I got into the seat of my Porsche. I’m smart, did I mention that already? I made all my money a long time ago but somehow I ended up with a boring husband on a tiny island a million miles from anywhere. Don’t get me wrong, the house is stunning and the island is beautiful. But I’m empty, it’s all empty. Maybe we should have kids. I thought about asking him when I got back home.

It was a short trip; the town is quite small and it only takes two hours to drive the whole way round the island. There was a cab loitering right in front of our drive when I got back. I walked up the steps and opened the door to our hilltop home and closed it softly behind me. I raised my voice slightly and said, “Darling, I’m home. Where are you?”

“In the kitchen,” came the reply.

I dropped my keys into the bowl by the door and walked down the long hallway. I walked into the kitchen and my husband was standing there with a glass of wine.

“Hello dear. This is Don; we just signed a new deal together,” he said.

Oh yes that’s right. My husband works for a publishing company, or something like that. The man standing next to him turned round and spat a fine spray of red wine into the air.

“Are you alright?” said my husband.

The man collected himself and said, “Yes, sorry must have gone down the wrong way.”

“Don’t worry about it, I’ll fetch you a towel.”

I knew exactly who the man was standing in front of me was; we’d been sleeping together for almost the past year. This really is a small island.

My husband gave him a towel to wipe his face and said, “This is my wife, Celia.”

“Sorry about that. Pleased to see you,” he said, reaching out his hand.

“Likewise,” I said and gave him my best thousand-kilowatt-smile.

We shook hands and I had to twist my wrist ever so slightly so he wouldn’t notice the speck of his wife’s blood on my sleeve.

“Well thank you for having me round but I have to get going. I’m really looking forward to this deal. Lovely to meet you Celia,” he said turning to face me.

The cheeky bastard.

“Why don’t you stay for dinner Don?” I said.

“Yes, that’s a great idea,” said my husband.

“I’d love to but my wife is cooking tonight and I’d hate to stand her up.”

No she isn’t.

“Most definitely another time,” he added.

My husband said, “OK, well, looking forward to it.”

“Very nice to meet you,” I said.

We shook hands again and he beamed a confident smile at me. Asshole. Just wait till you get home.

“I’ll show you out,” said my husband.

I poured myself the last of the wine and drained it in one gulp. A few moments later my husband returned and looked at me. I stared back at his sharp nose and swept back hair. I saw in him then all the years of our lives we’d spent together.

“Celia can you sit down. I need to talk to you.”

“Can it wait till the morning darling? I’m very tired,” I said.

“You just invited Don to stay for dinner? You can’t be that tired.”

“I was just being polite; it was the least I could do to offer.” I put the glasses in the sink and started to make my way towards the stairs.

“Look Celia will you just sit down. You might want some more wine too.”

What was this? Maybe my boring husband had something interesting to tell me. He was giving me an intense look I hadn’t seen before in our long and winding marriage.

“I really don’t know how to tell you this but here it goes. You’ve been so distant this past year, I know it’s taken you a little while to warm to the island but it’s been hard on me too. I’m just going to come right out and say it. I met someone. We’ve been seeing each other for a while and I’m going to file for divorce. I’m sorry but I just can’t continue with this anymore.”

“Who?” I said.

“It doesn’t matter.”

“Who?” I said again this time through gritted teeth.

His eyes looking everywhere but mine he said, “Look you don’t know her OK. In fact it’s Don’s wife, she’s leaving him for me. I don’t know why I just told you that but there it is. Let’s just not make this any harder than it has to be. I know a part of you is glad, you can leave the island if you want, start over. You’ll be OK. You can’t tell me this is a surprise, you must have seen this coming?” He rambled.

His eyes finally found their way to mine and he added, “Why are you smiling?”

I couldn’t help but find it funny, so I laughed. I guess everyone is a liar at the end of the day. I stood up and walked towards the stairs and said, “I’m going to bed darling. Let’s see how you feel in the morning.”


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