Written by Rob
I wasn’t even aware that Jenny kept a diary, until I found it lying in the hallway. I guessed it must have fallen from her bag. I recognised immediately what it was, even though it wasn’t written on a pre-printed, pre-dated book, but rather in an ad hoc collection of thoughts, scribbled into a well-thumbed, hard-backed book. I felt guilty about reading it; I knew I shouldn’t. She’d be mortified if she knew. Although we’d been married eight years, and we’d always promised each other “no secrets”, I’d always felt Jenny had kept a part of herself in reserve. It was as though there was a locked room inside her, that she’d lost the key to. I did not doubt she loved me, but I’d never felt that she’d trusted me with her inner sanctum, the core of her, the bit that made her tick. This memoire was too good an opportunity to pass over and so I sat on the “telephone chair” and read.
The early pages were mostly taken over with worries about the children: Derek’s first day at school, Linda’s poor spelling, Derek’s cut knee, and so forth. I didn’t seem to get much of a mention until I found “Kevin is a pompous arsehole!” in thick black letters, double underlined, following a passage describing our row about the Florida trip we couldn’t afford. That made me smile. I knew Jenny had come to my way of thinking about our budget a week or so later and, sure enough, there was the grudging, “I suppose he has a point,” two pages later.
I started to lose interest. So much of what was written seemed quite mundane: day-to-day stuff about the kids, occasional pieces about her nights out with the girls, but nothing very revealing or risqué about Jenny’s part in them. Carol had drunk too much and flirted with the barman at the nightclub. Maria had broken her stiletto heel and fallen off the pavement. I remembered Jenny laughing as she’d related this tale to me.
I was about to put the book back where I’d found it, with a mental note to deny all knowledge, when a passage caught my eye. Jenny spoke of her new interest in sex and how much better she’d enjoyed it of late. I’m sure every man likes to think he’s a great lover and fulfilling his partner’s every need, so I felt my chest puff out a little and read on. She said she felt that she’d turned a corner and discovered something new within herself, whilst in her lover’s arms. New, unimagined joy and ecstasy were hers, as though she was touched for the first time. I was a little confused at this and torn between two conflicting ideas: on the one hand, really chuffed that I was ‘hitting the spot’ but, on the other hand, worried that I’d not clocked any change. I remember how I sat, like a naïve idiot, in our hallway, and tried to think what I was doing differently that could account for Jenny’s praise. I skimmed through more pages in search of the answer.
Shock is a strange and ruthless beast. Folk talk about thunder bolts or hammer blows. I can only say it was nothing like that for me. I found myself on my knees, slumped against the lounge door, with a hum in my ears and a sparkling in my vision. How, said Jenny, oh how she wished that I could reach her like her lover, Angela, did. Angela! Angela? Who the fuck is Angela?
Rob has written many half hour challenges for us, so it’s no surprise that ‘Angela’s Touch’ has been hand-picked for our content this month. Last month’s HHC theme was, of course, ‘Book of Secrets’ and we thought this piece addressed the theme well, while working in a neat twist. Like his writing? Make sure you check out ‘Morning Tiger‘ and ‘Smile‘.