My Best Face

Entry by: Olivia

12th June 2015
My Best Face……

‘Always look on the bright side’ my mother had frequently said. For one that was almost pathologically miserable that’s a joke in itself. But it did teach me to view things from a different perspective. It also taught me how to hide my real thoughts about what was happening.
It was this ability that got me where I was then. Caught in a quagmire of indecision. Most people only ever see my best face, the one I choose to show to the world, they don’t see the pain and hurt of my real world. I have also learnt the ability to ‘just get on with it’; another of my mother’s nuggets of ‘how to live your life’.
My best face was the one I put on after the events of ‘the day’. I knew as I planned that special day that life would never be the same again.
The devil was in the detail, so the planning needed to be careful and comprehensive. On day one I had got up, cooked his breakfast and taken it up to him. I was greeted with the customary grunt and I muttered something non-committal.
I left the house as immaculate as ever and began my commute. I got off after just two stops and crossed the tracks to the opposite platform and caught the train that I had worked out would take me back before he had even got up. One or two in my carriage looked up as I left, they were used to me travelling all the way with them. I just nodded and said ‘forgotten papers’, in case they wondered.
Arriving back home I knew immediately that my journey hadn’t been in vain. She had the sense not to park in our street, but not sense to move her handbag, which I could see through the glass in the kitchen door. I knew I couldn’t hesitate, for the scheme to work I had to follow the plan. There was nothing to be gained in bursting in and disturbing their adventures, I must bide my time and let her fall into the trap.
Big gaps in his email stream had first alerted me. A prodigious issuer of instructions he plagued my day with requests, demands and observations. When the internet traffic developed big gaps I began to notice. It really wasn’t hard to work out his pattern, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, first thing in the morning. Gone by midday – always.
I simply took a photo of her bag and left again.
It wasn’t difficult to repeat this for several weeks. For all his meanderings and illicit liaisons, my husband was a man of routine and order. However, over time the pictures grew more revealing, a carelessly discarded scarf, even a pair of shoes once. But what I really valued were the sound recordings. There was no doubting what was going on and her voice was clear through the tiny microphones I had fitted. Nothing escaped these recordings, all the muttered endearments and the plans and the longing. But still I waited. I knew that there were times to savour, times when he thought he was in charge, but I knew differently.
My moment arrived when we planned out monthly dinner party. The meticulous guest list was drawn up and as friends of ours, she and her husband were invited. I enjoyed watching him squirm as he wrestled with his expectation of seeing her and his absolute fear of discovery.
We always like to have a theme to our dinners and this month I had planned a photo montage of ‘things that mean a lot to me’. Covered for the big reveal after we had eaten, to be accompanied by a little sound track, a sort of ‘tracks of my years’ attempt. We pinned the photos our guests sent and lined up their music, of course, I pinned up our photos and uploaded our music.
I ate very little of our supper, the intense feeling I was trying to hold down threatened to choke me, but I got through. One by one I revealed our guests’ dear little groups and twee quotes, accompanied by desperately main stream music. I put on my best face and revealed the photos of handbags, shoes, scarves with a back drop of urgent, noisy sexual activity. The intakes of breath were strangely unifying in their horror and I didn’t see any other best faces once all that was out in the open.