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Reading Aloud

Paul

My husband and I weren’t in when he brought the music. He had a chat with our youngest daughter instead. She told me she had found him very shy and that she didn’t like him. Not much later she came again saying she had been telling a lie and really she liked him very much, but was worried I might pass this on to him next time I saw him.

I saw him again at the concert and we talked during the interval. My husband was away at the time and his wife was busy with other people. We paid one another compliments on being tanned and discussed our respective holidays. Then he told me he had enjoyed reading my “brilliant notes”, I obviously had a gift for that. I asked him had they made him laugh. He said “yes” and I had the impression it was a little half-hearted. He managed to think of a book and a tape I might be interested in and promised to let me have them. When, I asked. He suggested the weekend, but I was busy with other things. How about Monday night? He seemed hesitant. I told him he didn’t have to commit himself. “I will drop them in,” he said. I promised literature about a famous place in return – he and his wife were planning to go there.

As expected I haven’t seen him since. I have passed my travel books on to his wife, though. She was grateful.

A few days later Paul was given tickets for a box in a large concert hall. I heard this from his wife who rang me up to offer me one of them. Two had gone to Aldous and his wife. She was sorry about not having one for my husband who might not be back from work in time anyway. I was not tempted at all. I dislike going into town and had also been doing gymnastics of some kind, following a dear friend’s advice. Therefore I hid behind my husband saying I wouldn’t want to leave him alone, it was depressing coming into an empty house and I had to cheer him up since he was having problems at work. Paul’s wife thought my husband would be cross with me for declining an invitation of that kind. As it turned out, he wasn’t. “What would Paul’s wife have done in your place,” he wondered. I boldly suggested “let’s see who has the best wife!” He looked at me sideways: “For a change…”