She sat by her balcony window staring out into the hot summer afternoon. The gardener was trimming the hedge, and she could hear her mother in the kitchen , humming while preparing the evening meal. It was the perfect summer picture, and she was happy.
She remembered yesterday afternoon so clearly. They lay in bed, he was holding her, gently but protectively, while she lay on his chest. He said he loved her, and that he wanted her alone now, and it was time for the world to know.
She was scared, but happy. She could finally tell her mother, her sisters and her father about him. Father scared her, but once he realized how genuine he was, and how she felt about him, he had to forgive.
“Joan, enough of that,”her mother said out loudly, “daydreaming never got anyone anywhere!”
“It gives hope mama,”she said walking towards her.
“Hope is seeing all those dishes cleared from that pile,”she said pointing towards the sink.
Joan did not argue, this gave them a chance to be alone together, before Betty and Val got back.
“Love is a beautiful thing, right ma?”
“Of course honey,”she said whisking a bowl.”Love gave me you and everything I’m thankful for.”
“And one’s heart is always right about it, right ma?”
Her mother laughed. “What’s his name?”
“Well…”her answer was prolonged when her sister rushed in the kitchen with a gleam of mischief on her face.
“Well, do I have the gossip of the century!”she said jumping on the chair.
“What is it now?” said Val who came down the stairs upon hearing the commotion.
“A scandal,”Betty said gleaming. “A man we know caught by his wife cheating!”
“Ah, I bet it’s Mr. John, always been wayward…”Val said with conviction.
“No, it was Paul,” Betty said out loud.
Their mother gasped. “No…!”
“Yes, mother. Apparently he’s been courting this girl for two years, even when he was dating his now wife.”
“She found them in Paul’s old apartment, apparently he had not leased it like he had told her. It was their lovers den, but she caught them today. Someone tipped her off. Apparently the had not locked the door so she grabbed all their clothes. It was a funny sight I tell you, the man and his mistress covered in sheets trying to get away from the wife who was shouting loudly for everyone to see.”
“My, my, I think she’s lost it,” Val said. “I would never air my diirty laundry out like that.”
“I think she did the right thing though,”Betty said smiling. “He’s shamed now, he’ll behave now.”
“Well,”said their mother getting up,” that’s enough gossip for one day. Now can we all help prepare dinner?”
Joan went back to the dishes with a disheartened soul.
That was her Paul they were talking about.