Eileen Glass + Jennifer Johnston-Watt


Monday, April 27th, 2009

She is standing next to the sink, chopping a pile of carrots into little sticks, julienne style. She is frowning as she cuts the carrots with icy venom, her knife newly sharpened. Off with their heads! she thinks, just like the Queen of Hearts. She throws them into the casserole dish with the chicken, mushrooms and herbs, and flings it in the back of the Aga.

The champagne is chilling in the fridge, the pavlova (the second one, the first refused to leave the baking parchment), sits regally on the white china plate, the juice of the raspberries heaped on top beginning to bleed through the light dusting of icing sugar.

The table is set, the candles lit, the canapés await. She rushes upstairs, pulls a dress over her head, squirts a cloud of perfume over herself, applies lipstick, mascara and snags her tights.

The evil hour strikes. Her husband appears like magic. He struts around the dining table, puffing out his chest like a Bantam cockerel, checking the bottles of wine and adjusting his tie. The doorbell rings and in they come. She smiles a rigor mortis smile and passes round the blinis.

Dinner is served. Waitress service. She is the waitress. She wonders if she should have donned a frilly apron and a mob cap.

Nobody sees her as she sinks into her chair. She disappears behind the floral centrepiece. The man on her right is staring lecherously down the lumpy blonde’s cleavage. She has an asinine face and a matching, braying laugh. This is her husband’s secretary. Her husband doesn’t know that she knows that they are having an affair. You are welcome to him, she thinks, imagining them in bed together. Hee haw, hee haw.

‘Any sign of pudding?’ says her husband. I’m looking at her, she thinks.

She gets up from the table, gathering the plates. She goes into the kitchen and puts them in a big pile by the sink, just like her husband who always left his dirty mugs for her to put into the dishwasher. Her bag is already packed, waiting in the downstairs cupboard under the stairs, concealed behind the Hoover. I have done my duty, she thinks. Two children; one married, one at university. I don’t need to look after another one. She takes the money she has been siphoning from her husband’s bank account, the going rate for a housekeeper, no more, no less, she checked in The Lady, and escapes into the night.