Back at the Gilberts' home, things aren't going so well...
“Isn’t it a bit early?” Ed’s admonishment, although she knew it was well founded, still irked Sally unreasonably. Things weren’t going so well. He had been kind at first and she had been drawn in by his persistence and allowed him to move in. But then inevitably came the comparisons with Rob. Her life with architect Rob Gilbert had been a rollercoaster of good and bad and the downs had drawn on her innermost depths of patience and goodwill but were, she realised now, more than compensated by the ups. His humour, his charisma, his creativity, his total love of life. And her. She knew that despite his comings and goings, somewhere deep inside, Rob still loved her. He had been devastated when she had told him that she and Ed were getting together.
Ed on the other hand was a straight line. Dependable, pragmatic, predictable. In everyway the opposite to Rob. But there was more. Rob allowed her to be herself, he was never cross with her. Ed was in love too of course. That had soon become apparent. The only time he ever became animated was when he talked about Africa. About how it used to be. That love had been lost. Stolen by Robert Mugabe and replaced with bitterness. He was like caged animal, London wasn’t a replacement for Africa’s wide open savannahs. Increasingly he dwelled in the past and ever since one of Sally’s best friends had inadvertently let slip the “bitter and twisted” remark Sally had known that she was right. She finished the glass in one swig and looked Ed in the eye.
“No Ed, it’s not too early,” her tone reflective, “actually I think it may just be too late.”
“What do you mean by that?” anger flushed in his cheeks, “you’ve just had too much to drink!” Sally provocatively poured some more Whiskey into her glass. Both knew that the Glenmorangie single malt and the cut crystal glass were Rob’s favourites.
The reality had been dawning on Ed for some time. He could never be a match for the memory of the bloody architect. This moment had been waiting in the wings for some time. He grabbed the glass out of her hand in a final burst of exasperation and threw it into the fire, knowing full well that with this action he had crossed a line. Sally’s little dachshund, D2 who had been sleeping nosily on his favourite bed in front of the fire bolted away from the explosion of sizzling vapour and flames but was still engulfed in the erupting ash triggering a slightly manic snigger out of Ed. He had never liked Sally’s excuse for a dog. His Rhodesian Ridgeback had been killed by villagers while defending his compound.
“Get out!” Sally scooped up the dog, holding the unharmed dog protectively in her arms, “just get out why don’t you!!”
“Fine by me!” Ed stomped upstairs and started noisily packing his suitcase. His early years in the Rhodesian army were still evidenced by his obsession for tidiness and routines, his neatly arranged and folded clothes that had first been endearing to Sally, had soon became a symbol of someone locked in the past.
The packing wouldn’t take long.