It wasn’t as if Thomas was on speaking terms with her now. For all she knew the affair was beyond repair, but she had to try to make amends. Elizabeth tapped her foot against the photocopier. Her code changed to Thomas’s birthday – it was easy to remember. It was a link with him, which couldn’t be broken. She pressed print and the paper dropped through the machine like a lead bullet.
‘What am I doing?’ Elizabeth thought, but as the firm’s stamp was already on the envelope there was no turning back.
She couldn’t face the post room and decided to post the letter on her way home. She thought of her car, but fresh air and time to think of what she had just done, was her only juncture at that point.
‘Excuse me Miss Lacy.’
A young man, whose name was emblazoned on the envelope in her handbag, nudged Elizabeth, just as she was about to leave the building.
‘Sorry, I didn’t mean to make you jump, but you forgot your umbrella.’
Elizabeth was stuck to the floor by invisible glue.
‘It’s just that it’s raining outside.’
Elizabeth’s hands shook as she retrieved it and a twinge in her stomach knotted into a tight ball. ‘Thank you.’
‘You’re welcome. How are you getting home? I don’t mind dropping you off.’
‘Someone is picking me up.’
‘Are you sure?’ he said.
‘Yes . . .’ Elizabeth didn’t raise her voice, but at the sight of his heavily pregnant wife, the letter burned through the lining of her bag. His oval eyes reminded her of an innocent puppy.
‘It’s Anna’s, my wife’s last day. I can’t believe it will only be three weeks until our little family will be complete.’
‘What do you want to have?’ Elizabeth wasn’t sure why she asked, but she was positive they would make great parents. It was then she loosened her grip on the letter.
‘We already have a boy, but we don’t mind as long as it’s healthy,’ Anna said.
Elizabeth kept her hands in her pockets and swallowed the bile that threatened to rise from her throat. ‘I have to go; my lift is here.’
She peered through the imaginary haze, opened her umbrella, and stepped onto the pavement. The water soaked through her tights, but she carried on walking.
They are so lucky, Elizabeth thought, as she watched them walk to their car. They had each other and that was all they needed. What did it matter that he didn’t get the promotion? He could always try again. All she had in the world was Thomas.
A few strides and the red post box was just within her reach. She retrieved the letter. She stared at her own elaborate writing for a few minutes. ‘I’m sorry,’ she thought, as the letter was pushed through. It plunged down and fell with a thud.
It was then she sent her final text. I’ve done what you asked Thomas. Please forgive me about Martha. If you give me another chance, I promise I won’t ever speak to her again. It’s just that I love you so much and the thought of losing you is too great to contemplate. It was one moment of madness that will never happen again xxx.
It was now or never, and she pressed send. As the deluge of rain mixed in with her tears, Elizabeth rushed towards the bus, just as it was leaving.
She sat right at the back and stared out of the window.
The rain slithered down the pane and mapped into the glass. ‘Please answer Thomas.’