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‘Be quiet Margaret! I am trying to read!’ Robert bellowed, as he
pondered over the reason for Margaret’s newborn unruliness. He was
almost tempted to put her in her place at once, yet he decided
necessary though it may be, it was not something that was to be
rushed. ‘Get me a drink Margaret, Scotch.’ Robert barked eager to
gain control once again. Margaret on the other hand hobbled off
nervously, she feared that this might happen yet she knew better than
to protest. It was customary, every evening, for Robert to spend two
hours drinking, sometimes scotch, sometimes vodka, always too much. It
was not this that Margaret feared, however, it was that after Robert
had drunk himself into his accustomed frenzy, he somehow saw it as his
duty to deliver Margaret a good beating, it was useless even trying to
resist. Margaret never tried to resist, after years of punishment,
Margaret had come to see herself as an awful woman and a dreadful
wife, and she herself had grown to believe that she somehow deserved
to suffer. That night Margaret was particularly badly beaten and as
she crawled into a corner, consciousness left her almost immediately.
It was 7.30 and Margaret had already taken a shower, cleaned the whole
house and patched herself up to the best of her ability. Margaret was
never allowed to go to the hospital; Robert did not want other people
to know about their personal affairs. Margaret was just examining a
particularly nasty gash on her thigh, when she heard the door creak
open. Margaret quickly replaced her skirt, but as she looked up she
knew it was too late.
“Oh thank you very much” Margaret said as she quickly took the post
from the waiting mailman. Margaret nervously attempted to usher the
postman towards the door, but he seemed completely oblivious to
Margaret’s attempts. The postman simply stood there without speaking
almost as though he did not know what to say.
“Madam, I do apologise for bursting in like that, but I must say, you
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getting infected if nothing else,” the postman blurted out rather
nervously. “I know it is none of my business, but this is my last
delivery and I can take you there right now if you want, you will be
back in an hour” the postman continued. This in turn left Margaret
flabbergasted, she knew what Robert would have said ‘this man needs to
stop poking his nose into places it does not belong,’ yet somehow
Margaret felt some kind of warmth towards him. Though part of her was
aware of the fact that this man was a total stranger, and Margaret
being an old lady was very conscious of her vulnerability, he had been
delivering her the mail for two years now and had always been very
kind to her.
‘Alright, I’ll come, but you need to be set straight sir, before you
start to think anything else, I fell down the stairs, I am an old
woman and not quite as agile as I used to be, accidents happen’
Margaret replied, afraid more than anything that were she not to go,
this postman might tell people about what he saw, she would hate to
think what would happen if Robert found out Margaret had been so
“Of course, Madam, I was not trying to insinuate otherwise, and my
name is David, it is a pleasure to meet you…….”
“Margaret, and it is nice to meet you also David” Margaret replied,
suddenly both ashamed and embarrassed as she realized that she was
“Shall we be leaving then” David chirped, seemingly happy to break the
tension, David held open the door as Margaret slowly limped out of the
house and headed in the direction of David’s van. The drive to the
hospital, interesting though it may have been, left both occupants
feeling rather uneasy. Margaret, though aware of the fact that David
was a perfect gentlemen the entire journey, could not shake off the
feeling that she was doing something wrong. Margaret kept on reminding
herself that this was merely a visit to the hospital, yet she kept
getting the feeling that it was something much more sordid. David on
the other hand was becoming rather perturbed at how difficult it was
to talk to Margaret. Every time that David attempted to crack a joke,
or it looked like Margaret wanted to laugh, she would simply turn away
and proceed to stare aimlessly out the window in silence.
At the hospital, out of respect for Margaret, David decided to remain
in the waiting room; it only took about half an hour. When the nurse
came out, however, she immediately asked if she could have a word with
David, rather impolitely it must be said. It was only after David
explained that he was simply her postman and nothing more that she
finally calmed down. It seemed the nurse was extremely suspicious
about the cause of these injuries. The nurse said Margaret had bruises
all over her body. David, suspicious though he may have been, felt
honour bound to uphold Margaret’s wishes and simply told the nurse
that he believed that Margaret had simply fallen down the stairs as
she said. Yet the nurse was still not convinced, and she kept on
repeating how it was really not that uncommon for elderly men
especially to beat their wives. Finally, however, David decided to get
back to Margaret, after all he simply wanted to make sure that she got
her leg patched up, and now she had. “Shall we be off?” David asked
jovially, “I suppose you do not have time for a quite bit to eat.”
David inquired hopefully.
“I am afraid that I must be getting home” Margaret answered, although
he tried to hide it, Margaret immediately saw the disappointment on
David’s face, she suddenly felt sorry for him after all he had been so
nice to her, “Well maybe if we eat quickly” Margaret blurted out, as
she turned her head only catching a glimpse of the broad boyish smile
that slowly stretched across David’s face, Margaret abruptly turned a
violent shade of red.
David took Margaret to a local pub, it was nothing special, but for
Margaret it was great. Robert never took Margaret out to eat, he
preferred a ‘home cooked meal.’ Simply being around so many people
laughing a smiling was practically a new experience for Margaret.
Margaret actually found herself having a good time, the food was good
and David was incredibly witty, Margaret could not remember the last
time she had smiled so much. “Thank you for coming Margaret, I had a
great time” David said as the waitress brought the bill. Margaret
watched him as he took out his wallet, Margaret did not think David
could much over seventy years old; a similar age to Robert, but David
had a uncanny glint in his eyes, and had an unquestionable charm.
Margaret was just admiring David’s rugged features, when she caught a
glimpse of the clock hanging on the wall behind him, it was late!
Margaret suddenly felt very disconcerted and conscience-stricken, she
was a married woman, and it was her duty to be at home preparing
dinner not gallivanting about like a foolish teenager.
“Oh, what a bad wife I am” Margaret muttered to herself.
“I’m sorry, what did you say?” David asked, already sensing something
was wrong as he took note of the expression on Margaret’s face.
“I am awfully sorry, I have had a great evening, but I shouldn’t be
here. Could you please take me home?” Margaret said in between sobs as
tears quickly began to swell in her eyes. David, on the other hand,
was completely bewildered and to a certain extent hurt, five minutes
ago they were having a great time.
It was the early and as Margaret reluctantly eased herself out of bed,
she envisioned another day of nothing but work. Margaret no longer
felt tempted to get back into bed, she had come to understand what had
to be done, and knew that it was getting started that was the
difficult bit. Recently, however, it had become increasingly
difficult, Margaret often found herself wondering what kind of life
she would be living had she married David instead of Robert. It was a
month ago that David took her to the hospital, David would come in and
talk almost everyday, sometimes for hours, but they would never leave
the house again. Mainly because Margaret was afraid Robert might see
her, Robert had always tried to prevent Margaret from having any
friends, practically forbidding it.
Later that day, after Margaret had finished all her housework, she sat
down on the sofa taking a well deserved break. It was about this time
that David would usually come, Margaret was slightly worried today,
Robert had left Margaret with quite a big bruise across her face.
Margaret did not mind too much, but she knew that David would make a
big deal of it, he no longer believed Margaret’s petty excuses.
Soon after David walked in beaming, as Margaret had expected, however,
the smile automatically vanished from his face after seeing Margaret.
“What happened to you?” David asked looking abashed. “Wait! Do not
even bother with your excuses, you cannot let him get away with this
Margaret. I can take you to the police station right now.” David said
almost shouting from anger.
“No!” Margaret yelled, looking worried “You do not understand David;
you do not know what will happen to me if he finds out that I have
told anyone.” Margaret whimpered.
“……I know, but it just makes me so angry” David said, his face finally
returning to its normal colour. “I refuse to just let this happen, you
can come and stay with me, and we can go far away from here” David
said hopefully, almost without thinking. Margaret was shocked, she
could not believe what she had just heard, it was ridiculous. Yet, how
many, mornings had she spent dreaming of a life with David. David had
shown Margaret that she never deserved the beatings, it was not her
that had been a bad wife, it was Robert who had been a bad husband.
“Okay” Margaret said defiantly.
“What did you say?” David asked unbelievingly.
“Okay” Margaret repeated.