Reading Sundays: THE MARRIED MAN (Part 1) a short story by Cynthia Sally Haggard

The word ‘diary’ is etched in faded gold, the black leather cover is cracked at the edges, his name is written in flourishing copperplate:

Robert Prisley Caveley.

Friday, 20th June 1930

“Tomorrow, I become a married man.”

The tissue thin paper rustles as she reads.

“Not having been married before, I can’t say how I’m going to find my new station in life, although Miss Florence Emily Richards, and I, have been walking out for some time.”

The chair creaks as she leans back.

“Over the years, I’ve become good at keeping a low profile. I’m the bloke that goes to the pub regular-like, but keeps to himself in a corner over yesterday’s newspapers, and a cigarette or two. I’m the bloke that comes straight home from work every evening, to help my future in-laws with the mending, and the fixing. I can be seen during quiet summer evenings, tending to their roses in the small plot out back. I’m quiet, I’m polite, and if I have few friends, and a certain reticence about talking to strangers, nevertheless, I hope Emmy’s parents are happy their lovely daughter has found such an obliging bloke to be her husband.

“I work as a clerk in the local bank, and make a decent income, enough to keep a wife and family. At least, I’m a cut above the laborers, carpenters, butchers, longshoremen, and chalk-diggers that are typically available to a girl like Emmy, in a place like Thurrock, Essex, where the Thames widens its mouth before drifting towards the sea. [To be continued.]