You remember that time when my marriage was breaking down? That’s when I first met Bonney and I don’t know how I’d have managed without her. I’ve never told the full story of how we met, not even to Bonney herself. If I tell you now, do you promise not to mention this to anyone?
Things were difficult at work as well – I’d just been made a director and I was working ‘till gone nine o’clock most days. Perhaps I was suffering from stress – well, that’s my only excuse for the way I behaved. I was returning from the golf club on a Saturday afternoon when I found a purse lying on the path near my front door. I opened it and found business cards saying: Jacksons Estate Agents, Bonney Greenford, Sales Representative. Then, I can’t really explain why, something possessed me to walk round there, to see what this Bonney looked like.
There were display boards in the window, with gaps just large enough to see two men and one woman sitting inside. The woman’s face was slightly obscured but I could see her blonde hair, cut into a bob, holding its perfect shape with every swish of her head. I gripped the purse in my pocket and walked in. She looked up and smiled, that salesgirl seductive smile. There’s something about the eyes between those lovely lashes that tells you there’s intelligence behind all that beauty. For a moment I couldn’t think what to say, as I looked her over: high cheeks, pink lipstick just on the girlie side of chic.
“Please sit down. How can I help you?”
“I, I’m looking for a two bedroomed flat somewhere in this area”
“In what sort of price range?”
“Oh, I wouldn’t worry about that for now. I know what I want when I see it, and I usually find a way…” She giggled.
“Let me see what I can do for you,” and there was something in her voice which said, ‘I can’t help radiating love – it’s in my nature’. Swivelling to open the drawer she gave me a look at her profile – size 8 I thought.
“I think you’ll fall in love with this one when you see it.” The nails which touched the paper were the same shade as her lips and as gently curved as the rest of her. I pretended to read, glancing as I thought: ‘look into these eyes beautiful Bonney, for I may not be what I seem.’
“It’s vacant if you want to look at it.”
“Would you show me round, tomorrow morning perhaps?”
“I don’t usually work on a Sunday…”
“But you’ll make an exception for me?” Her teeth glistened as she laughed and I thought: ‘maybe you are too good looking but I am holding a few cards, and your address and your front door key.’
“Could we make it ten o’clock?”
“Go on then.”
She waved back at me with the tips of her fingers as I passed the window, heading for her apartment overlooking the river. I rang the bell as a precaution – listening to the roar of the traffic and the beat of my own heart. My sweaty fingers slipped on the key as I opened the door with the guilty thrill of violating her personal space. Inside I made straight for the bedroom – a small desk and a row of fitted wardrobes with mirror doors. I started with the desk. Everything was in its place; bills and scented stationery but no sign of any personal letters. The mirrors defined every grey hair, every wrinkle on my face as I slid open the first wardrobe. I pulled out the clothes one at a time, reading the labels: Moschino, Kookaï and an occasional Miss Selfridge. I was wrong – she was size 10. For a moment I considered waiting there on her bed until she came home. Then, the moment of madness passed, I closed the drawer and quietly left.
The following morning I sat in my car near the entrance to our rendezvous. She pulled up opposite and swung her high heels out of the car door, unaware that I was watching her, waiting for her to disappear inside before making a move. The door to the flat was ajar as I approached, my chest tightening with every step. I walked through the hall to a big empty room where she stood, a tiny figure against a wall of glass and a two storey drop. Her eyes glowed as she greeted me.
“Glad you found it.” I stopped a few feet in front of her.
“I’ve got something of yours.”
“Have you…what is it?”
I held the purse towards her, then as she went to take it I lifted it out of her reach. The warmth on her face turned to bewilderment.
“Where did you find it?”
“In my garden.”
“Oh, where do you…”
“Bonney Greenford?” I was standing directly over her, those eyes looking up at me in fear: “Are you having an affair with my husband?”
“Are you having an affair with Alan Powell?”
“I don’t think I know an Alan Powell.”
“So you’ve never been to 32 Crown Street?”
Her face relaxed into its usual sunny smile.
“32 Crown Street – of course that’s where I must have lost it. I valued your house on Friday. Didn’t your husband tell you?”
“He never tells me anything now.” My voice was cracking as I offered her the purse.
“We’ve written to you. We’ll need both your signatures before putting it on the market.”
“He wants to sell up?” I was losing sight of her face through the tears but I felt her arm steady me.
“Oh I’m sorry, you poor thing.” I was standing in an empty room crying on a woman I hardly knew, who was soothing me into a strange sense of relief.
there’s one sofa left in the other room.
Come and sit down and tell me all about it.”