It was from the police station.
And, boy, I never thought it would be. But you don’t, do you? The phone rings and what rushes through your mind?
Oh, that’ll be Steve calling. Or Perhaps Brenda’s ringing to say she’s had the baby.
You never think that the call could be a wife’s worse nightmare.
“Hello? Mrs. Howard speaking.”
“Mrs. Howard, it’s the police.”
“The police? Is it Steve?”
It never crossed my mind that, for once, my son had kept on the straight and narrow.
“No, Mrs. Howard. It’s your husband, Peter. He’s been found…murdered.”
I gasped, fully taken by surprise. My heart pounded like never before. Certainly I could feel happiness spreading from the center of my body right down to my toes, thick and constant like honey, but, even though I still was reeling from the shock information, I felt sadness too, as though a precious part of me was gone.
Peter was my ‘first love’. He was the tall, blond head-boy, and I was the black-haired captain of the swim squad, not the power couple but, by the end of sixth form, people looked up to us. Back then, like every little girl, I thought it wouldn’t end.
Pete proposed when I was twenty-three and he was twenty-five; we’d had our ups and we’d had more downs than most, but I was prepared to give it my all. I should have seen from all the arguments we’d had before that it wouldn’t have worked. I suppose I thought we could work it out like time and time before.
The full impact of the word didn’t hit me until later.
“I’m sorry, Mrs. Howard,” the voice on the other end of the line said.
“Don’t apologise,” I muttered automatically.
“We need you to come and identify the body, if you please.”
“Of course. I guess you want me to come straight away…?”