Writing

Reading Sundays: THE MARRIED MAN (Part 12) a short story by Cynthia Sally Haggard

The last time I visited Sid in his modest home in Hook, Surrey, was in the summer of 1922. His lungs still bothered him, but now he had Doll to fuss over him, and Anita to give him a future. I placed a silver sixpence in my niece’s chubby hands, and said my goodbyes, hoping that this time when I disappeared, Sid would follow up on the hints I was dropping, about going off to Australia to start a new life away from Beat.

I never intended to commit bigamy, it is an offense punishable by several years in prison. Some will wonder why I didn’t change my name, but that wasn’t possible given the circumstances. I didn’t want to alarm Emmy, or her family. I knew Beat meant it when she said she would never give me up.

I’m not proud of myself. I was a disappointment to my parents, a fool for marrying Beat when I should’ve known better, and a liar to Emmy and her family.

***

Another rummage, and two death notices appear:

CAVELEY

Mrs. Florence Emily, née Richards.

On 31 December 1988 in Thurrock, Essex…

CAVELEY

Mrs. Beatrice Victoria, née Hough.

On 30 June 1980 in Epsom, Surrey…

Grandpa Sidney named his only son after the brother who vanished. He died at Hook, Surrey, in June, 1950, aged 59 years. When Robert Prisley Caveley died in January, 1962, aged 73 years, he was still living in Thurrock, still married to Emmy.

He escaped notice for over forty years.

THE END

The Married Man first appeared in Down in the Dirt.