Many days find me doing a pathetic round of exercises in the park overlooking the river at the end of our road. Its before eight and there is usually the odd dog walker, a yummy mummy with her trainer, the occasional jogger and the odd commuter for company. The other day was different. On the bench where I start my physical perks sat a smart lady. Dressed as she was for work. She sat motionless.
She was middle aged, dark haired and smart in a Marks and Spencer rather than glamorous kind of way. So why was she sitting on park bench at 7.45 on a Monday morning?
Had it been one of those Stalingrad weekends where every emotional inch of the marriage had been fought and worried over. Had she had an argument with her husband and decided that she needed time to think about her life, their life together. Was it about his or her lover, was it about his or her work, was it about the children and the direction they were taking. Was about the boredom which besieges many marriages. Had she ever been happy?
The minutes she was spending on that bench overlooking the river were to decide her life. Would she leave or would she stay. Would she leave the job she hated and go back to trying to make a living as an artist. Would she give an ultimatum to her son about getting a job and paying his way?
Maybe I see too many films and read too many books and all she wanted was a bit of air. Although there was rain in the air it was a fine morning and there are few fairer suburban sights than the sun on the Thames. Maybe she was staying with a friend and just wanted to get out of their way. Maybe the alarm had gone off too early and her day had started prematurely and she had time to kill.
She could of course had got some depressing news from her doctor and she needed time on her own to think it through, prepare herself for more tests, a possible operation or worse.
Any way she got up to go, just then an old friend jogged past and shouted. I waved back. Looked around and the lady in the Marks and Spencer Mack had gone. I finished my exercises, went home and kissed Vivien. She looked a bit shocked.