Friday, 20 May 2011


Why did she not feel something? She should at least feel grief, sadness, guilt or anything; just something. Happiness might have been inappropriate but at least it would have been a feeling. The funeral made its slow procession to the local church. Murial just managed to maintain her composure and not yawn.

Forty-five years and one of the dullest of marriages; then Albert had, at last, done the decent thing and died. As they assembled in the churchyard the mourners were few. Family dutifully turned up; they were unlikely to miss a funeral. Friends, mostly, had better things to do – after all it was midweek. Mr and Mrs Helm were there. He had been Albert's closest friend; she rarely seen. He and Albert having known each other since their school days. Occasionally the pair had had a drink together, thought this occurred less frequently towards the end. At least he had the decency to turn up. He was like that: reliable and dull – just like Albert.

The dull service ended and, somehow, the dullness making it an appropriate reflection of poor Albert personality. Mr Helm dutifully came across to say his goodbyes. Murial and he shook hands. Mr Helm lent forward and at first Murial feared he was going to kiss her. Kiss her – no thanks! That was something she could never countenance.

“I always fancied you,” he whispered, “back at school...” Mr Helm's face went red. “If things had been different...”

Open mouthed she watched Mr Helm scurrying back to his matronly wife; sheepish and ashamed.

If only she had known, you mean things could have been different. Not that Mr Helm was anything special, but he must have been more interesting than Albert. And if he was a possibility... if he was a possibility, what else was possible? What a time to discover her life really could have been different.

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