She sat in her favourite pub near Paddington Station burning with indignation. Her jewelry was gone. All of it, even her engagement and wedding rings. The stark nakedness of her fingers surprised her every time she looked down. She didn’t wear her rings often so it was a psychological awareness that something was missing rather than a physical feeling of bareness.
Where was Neil?
He said he was coming straight home. What on earth can he be doing? This is an emergency.
Angela hadn’t as yet reported the disappearance of her jewelry to the police. The circumstances were strange. The safe had been locked when she went to it this afternoon to get her rings. The windows were all tightly shut and there were no signs of forced entry into either the spare room or the locked cupboard that held the safe.
She didn’t wear her rings everyday and had no idea how long they had been missing. Her engagement ring was made of white gold and the stone was tanzanite, both of which scratched easily. She had known that when she chose her ring all those years ago but the deep blue stone fascinated her. She decided to get the tanzanite despite the jeweler’s warnings and to only wear it on special occasions. Today had been such an occasion. She had been invited to her grandson’s awards evening at the private school he attended in London. She decided to wear her rings and take a taxi to the event. Neil was going to meet her there at 5P.M.
When she discovered her rings were gone she had gone cold with shock. Her engagement ring had sentimental value for her and was valuable too. She was much more concerned about the loss of her rings than the other jewelry she had collected over the years.
She had cancelled the visit to the school feeling to upset and shaky to make the trip. Instead, she had called Neil and asked him to come home from work. He had said he would take the train to Paddington Station and meet her at this pub. They could discuss what to do.
The hands on the clock on the wall moved rhythmically, measuring out the seconds while she waited, hands wrapped around her cold cider. She didn’t usually drink during the week but felt the events of the afternoon warranted an exception.
Neil’s reaction was rather strange. He didn’t seem surprised or upset that my jewelry was missing. It was almost as if he already knew. It didn’t sound like he was at the office either. There was a lot of background noise. It sounded like he was walking along a busy street.
A young couple with two small children came into the pub and sat down at the table across from hers.
The small boy was crying and his mother was trying to console him.
“I want to go home.”
“Soon darling,” the woman said, “the tube is closed. Let’s have a drink and if it hasn’t re-opened by the time we have finished, we’ll get the bus home.”
This statement illicited a fresh flood of tears from the small boy who seemed absolutely exhausted after a long day of touring.
“I’ll just have a look and see what’s going on,” said the father peering at his cell phone.
He looked up at his wife. “It seems we are going to have to take the bus home, love. There’s been an accident on the line and it will be closed for the next few hours. Some chap committed suicide by throwing himself in front of an approaching train.”
Angela’s face drained of all colour and her body went icy cold. She stood up and approached the young father.
“Does it say anything else about the accident?” she asked, leaning towards him.
“Yes, it says the man’s name was Neil Bishop and that he was retrenched from his job six months ago. The authorities reckon that’s why he jumped.”
Retrenched six months ago. How could that be? He had been travelling into London on the train every morning as usual.
Had they been living on the money from her jewelry? What else was missing?
The realization of Neil’s deception and her own loss as well as the starkness of her future life without him was to much for Angela. She slumped to the floor in a faint.
This post was written for Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Prompt, Stark. You can join in here: https://scvincent.com/2018/11/01/thursday-photo-prompt-stark-writephoto/