Each time Thomas would take control, she would take it back. That way her marriage could survive like the roses in her garden. The sturdiest of all her plants. Summer heat or temperatures below zero – they could survive it all.
Shoulders creaked and groaned against the solid bark. It was still good for shelter. At least it blocked out the view from Mrs Carmichael’s garden. How she hated that woman. Thomas’s views on Laura were at least warranted. She had no right to air her opinions in public.
The diary clasp was pushed open. Martha ignored the pain and a barrage of words exploded on the page.
I haven’t seen Laura, Tabitha, and Theresa for months. I was going stir crazy. I had to get out of the house. Why doesn’t he see my side for once? Thomas told me, no ordered me, to stay away from them. Why is he so stubborn? He loved her once. How I miss our maisonette on Langley Road. He used to carry her on his shoulders, and she was so light then. They would stay in the park for hours while I cooked dinner. Now all he does is drink too much, blames work, and stress for his drinking and then drinks another bottle. Expects me to forgive him the next morning. Sometimes I feel like a prized bull, paraded out to the neighbours. My cakes, pies and small talk. Mrs Carmichael fawning over him. Mr and Mrs Stoddart agreeing with him and even Fred. If only he knew what Thomas said behind his back. What Thomas says about me when the doors are closed. The perfect wife in a cut out magazine, that’s all I am. God forgive me, but there are some days when I’ve got to force myself to love him. Then I look at my painting. At the young man in a shirt from Oxfam, and he’s in there somewhere. Waiting for the right moment to sweep me off my feet again. I felt like his precious flower in danger of being crushed. His strong arms were so gentle then. I want that man back. I don’t know how much longer I can tolerate his madness. God forgive me, but sometimes I wonder what it would be like if he just disappeared off the face of the earth and never returned.