You seem surprised to see me. I don’t know why. When you arrived home just now, you must have noticed the door was unlocked, must have seen my coat hanging on the coat-stand. So why are you surprised?
I’m glad you’re able to sit down quietly and maintain a little dignity. I hate a scene.
Yes. Three years. Hmm. I know it’s a long time. And I guessed you’d want an explanation. I suppose I do owe you that much at least.
I watched them take him away you know. That night. Was it really three years ago? It was in the last year of the war, wasn’t it?
Yes, they hanged him. I know. I feel a bit awful about that. But it can’t be helped. I imagine it was inevitable the police would suspect him. They always do look to the husband when a wife disappears, don’t they?
It was pig’s blood obviously. And I didn’t mind sacrificing a strand of hair or a tiny scrap of my blouse. That afternoon, I made sure my neighbour noticed me in that blouse. It was my favourite too, almost brand new, soft as parachute silk, it was. Bought with all my ration coupons. I had to save them up for ages to get that blouse. Such a shame. Still these things have to be done, don’t they, and it seemed to work out beautifully. An upturned chair, a broken vase, a little shouting in the afternoon. All very, very effective. I wasn’t completely certain that it would work. So nice that it did, and so beautifully.
So, here I am. I assume you’ve found some other poor woman’s husband to lust after. At any rate, you’re looking quite good. Clearly you’ve recovered from the loss of my husband. Shame in a way. I’d hoped to find you broken, wretched. I might have found it easier to forgive if you’d shown any signs of actually loving him. Well, that’s probably what they’ll say, isn’t it, when they find you? No matter how good a show you’ve kept up in public, they’ll remember you as you were back then, weeping in the courtroom gallery. Not that you saw me there, did you? Your eyes were only for him. My husband.
Which brings us to this. Yes, it is loaded. He brought it back with him at the end of the Great War. Don’t worry, it won’t go off on its own. Not until I’m ready. I wanted you to see it. I wanted you to know. I just wanted to watch your face as you realised you were going to die. Yes, that’s the look. That’s what I was after.
Hmm. That was easier than I thought. I’ll just wipe it and pop it in your hand, then I’ll be off.
It’s a weight off my mind, knowing she has got what was coming to her. Oh look, the sun’s come out!