George and I had drifted emotionally years ago, so the first occasion he brought me home two little cupcakes, I was pleasantly surprised. We tended only to share the house and sometimes an evening meal; so a gift like this was unexpected. As he handed me the box, from an excellent patisserie, I was genuinely touched, until I caught a faint whiff of expensive perfume ….
I said nothing, but later, as I devoured his offering with my coffee after dinner, I appraised my husband in the afterglow. He was reading the paper, with one eye on the tv news. George kept abreast of current business and politics to make him feel in control. Certainly, his company did well by it. Occasionally, he glanced at me with a smile, to see me enjoying my sweet treat, and I did. In fact, I ate both cupcakes, couldn’t resist!
But I hadn’t forgotten the perfume .. It was just over a week later, George came home after dinner, carrying a box of little profiteroles from Salvos, the best restaurant in town.
“I was entertaining a buyer, you know how it is. She could be useful, so we had dinner… but I brought you these, because I know how much you enjoy them.”
I beamed with pleasure. They were favourites, and I did enjoy them, just as they were, dripping in chocolate sauce… Now my suspicions were truly aroused. He openly admitted taking a woman out to dinner although I did not know whether she was just a useful new acquaintance or something more. It was unsettling and I didn’t sleep well, as I digested the facts.
George regularly had dinner with business friends; corporate entertaining was something I understood well over the year. This however, was different. He was inwardly excited. There was a spark he was trying to subdue, I could sense it! He went off to work the next morning with unfamiliar energy. As he pecked my cheek on his way out, I noticed he was wearing the Penhalligans cologne I had bought him for Christmas. This was highly unusual. I went to the wash basket and picked out yesterday’s shirt, burying my nose in the soft cotton. A subtle trace of good perfume, lingered beguilingly. This had not wafted across a table at a business dinner! This came from prolonged contact in my husband’s arms.
Soon after that, he brought me, quite appropriately, a large fruit tart. I debated with myself, whether to tackle him on the subject but decided against it. After all, I didn’t really care about his dalliance and I was rather enjoying the sweet treats and offerings he was bringing home. If he felt he eventually wanted a divorce, I could claim all innocence of his affair, and take him to the cleaners. It was win – win, in my favour.
George continued to woo his lady and the treats got more elaborate and delicious, as time went on. Finally, I knew I had lost him when a splendid, catering sized Austrian Torte was delivered to my door in a presentation box, with a note from George, saying ‘Sorry…’ Cutting myself a generous slice, I picked up the phone and speed dialed my special number,
“Hi Darling, he’s actually gone. Won’t be long now, and then you can move in!”