6. Bringing Up The Past, Sabotaging Futures

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The following Wednesday the promised meet up with Arlene and Richard occurred. The couple were the kind of people who thrived in the nightime, therefore at 8 o’clock sharp Sally and Michael awaited  at their door. Sally was wearing her hair down in luscious, well controlled waves. She adorned her white dress with red lipstick and a stomach-quenching belt. She nervously checked her make up in a hand mirror one last time. Arlene’s beauty was certainly something to contend with, though Sally would never admit that she found it somewhat threatening. Michael rang the doorbell. Sally shot him a warning look.

“Don’t embarrass yourself” she said shortly.

“I...” Michael began to argue but the door was open by a maid.

“Mr. And Mrs White. Please come through” she said politely. Sally, glancing behind her noticed Michael’s raging face. She regretted her words- but only just slightly. Deciding to break things off with Jack put her in a terrible mood, an impatient one too, as Michael simply did not live up to Sally’s ideals. All her bitterness and fussing over the slightest wrongdoing on Michael’s part was of course due to Sally’s breaking heart. She felt she had missed her opportunity of happiness, and yet knew she couldn’t go back. She had to hold her family up.

“Sally! Michael!” Sally was snapped out of her mood by Arlene’s smooth voice. She hugged and kissed each one of them. Sally noticed with envy the softened look on Michael’s face.

“Darling, you look positively charming!” Arlene said, glancing at Sally’s outfit, who smiled politely at the compliment.

“As do you.” Sally absent mindedly returned the compliment.

“Oh really?” Arlene said in mock-disappointment. “I was going for murderously mysterious.”

She posed, holding one arm in the air and the other on her hip. Her own description of herself certainly fitted much better. She was dressed in long black gloves that matched her satin black dress- sleeveless and tight fitting, accentuated by gold jewellery. Her red lips rivalled those of Sally’s.

“Oh you’ve certainly nailed the mysterious part darling.” Richard remarked as he came forward to greet the guests. He planted a kiss on Sally’s cheek and gave Michael a bear hug before embracing his wife.

“We’re so glad you could make it” Richard said. “It feels like I never see you anymore Michael.”

Only Sally noticed Michael flush a hot red, because only Sally knew the reason for why the two men drifted apart. Michael was too drunk to call up a friend. Richard and Michael have been friends since high school, yet as soon as Michael turned to drink he made a whole tonne of other friends down in the seediest bars around. Sally frowned. Those damn seedy bars.

“....work’s just been hectic, they brought in a new boss... so many policies are changing...” she half listened to Michael’s excuse, and couldn’t help but smile at Richard’s earnest smile, lapping up every word of the apology.

The party swiftly moved into the dining room, but Sally found herself unable to listen to Richard’s jokes and chit-chat. The house overwhelmed her. It was so grand and dark, with black marbled flooring and chocolate walls. She sat at the modern mahogany table- nothing like her tattered one at home. She always felt uneasy in the house, no matter how much she enjoyed spending time with Richard. And his wife of course. If this was Sally’s home, she wouldn’t be able to sleep a wink. The windows were so large and seemed to draw in darkness, the reflection of the seated people the only thing visible through them.  She wished for someone to comfort her. To hug her and make her feel at home. Tell her she’s wonderful and good enough. Sally followed this train of thought. No. She didn’t wish for just a someone. She wished for Jack. She bit her lip in frustration. She promised herself not to think about it. She lied to herself, telling herself the reason for that was because it was improper, and not because thinking about it would cause her too much pain. She gave herself a little shake and decided to focus on the evening. She was determined to enjoy it.

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