April 20th, 1989
I’m in the guest room at Ben’s and I can’t believe he’s going back to Spain tomorrow. He just came in and kissed me goodnight and I feel there’s so much we need to talk about but we’re out of time.
Ben came over to mine this morning then we drove to my hair appointment at Braids in the city centre. Tracey and her scissors got a bit carried away and I didn’t ask her to stop, so my hair is much shorter than usual but I like it. Ben said I look like one of the Wham girls!
Today is dad’s 45th birthday so we stopped at mine before going to Ben’s. We waited for mum to get home from her meeting at church, after which we sang happy birthday to dad. The chocolate birthday cake was delicious (I picked it!) and dad loved the watch I gave him (purchased from duty free at 37,000 feet on my way home from Bermuda a few weeks ago!)
When we got to Ben’s, his mum was on the phone and she gestured for him to come to the phone.
“Who is it?” he asked.
Susan put her hand over the receiver and said, “Just come here.”
“After you tell me who it is,” he insisted.
“I’m sorry, what did you say your name was?” Susan asked. She put her hand over the receiver again and I heard her quietly say, “Helena,” before she passed the receiver to Ben.
I felt my stomach lurch and looked at Ben but he turned his back to me.
“Would you like a cup of tea my love?” Susan asked.
“That would be lovely, thank you.”
“What about you Stan?” she asked her husband.
“Coffee please, love.”
I sat on the couch across from Stan, pretending to watch tv but my ear was tuned in Ben’s direction. All of a sudden, from the kitchen, came a huge clattering sound that made me jump.
“You alright love? Stan called out.
“Fine thanks,” replied Susan.
In the next few minutes the racket coming from the kitchen was hard to ignore but I kept my eyes fixed on the tv and didn’t dare look at Stan.
“Mother!” Ben shouted.
Susan didn’t respond but the cacophony continued. A minute later, when Ben hung up the phone, the ruckus suddenly stopped.
Ben came and sat beside me on the couch but I didn’t look at him.
“Karen,” Susan said, “your tea’s ready my love.”
I went into the kitchen and she winked as she handed me the mug of tea.