Martin Goss, Thursday 10 May 2012
I had to go through the pockets of his suits, you can’t leave things.
Bits of paper, old handkerchiefs, even a fifty pound note in one pair of trousers. I never did it when he was alive of course. I never checked up on George, I wasn’t that kind of wife. I’m not the suspicious type, I suppose. I loved George and he loved me. Simple really, though not really, not all the time.
I never realised how many clothes George had until it came to packing him away. Filling the black sacks with his life and sending him down to the charity shop. So many shirts, some I had never seen before even though they had been worn. But then George always did his own washing and ironing, he said it relaxed him after the stresses of work, and I don’t always notice things. George was much more likely to notice if I was wearing something new, and he could be quite sharp if he didn’t approve. Didn’t like the colour or thought it made me look like a good woman. He was never quite clear what a good woman was, but he didn’t want to be married to one, that was certain. That was why he’d chosen me he said.
George wasn’t as trusting as I was. I used to get annoyed when I found he’d been looking through my handbag or checking the numbers on my mobile. Once he even phoned up one of the girls I’d been out with the previous night, to check on whether we had been to the restaurant like I said. That’s not what he said of course, some story about me losing a lipstick and had she seen it. Angie, she was the friend, told George that I couldn’t have lost a lipstick as I never used it. When I confronted George about this checking up, he always apologised, said he was really sorry. He said he’d always been insecure since he was a boy, and it just showed how important I was to him. I always forgave him, because George could make you feel important.
The funeral had a much bigger turn out than I’d imagined. I didn’t know a quarter of the people at the service. I knew some of his family of course, but many of the men were strangers to me. From work I suppose, though some them looked very rough. Hard, if you understand me. And there were some women as well, who certainly weren’t good women; although they were very friendly and obviously upset. Also a couple of policemen who’d come to pay their respects. How they knew George I’m not sure, but it was nice to know they cared.
I’m sending his suits to the hospice shop. The hospice was good to him when he was ill, and they should do well out of George’s clothes. Which is why I’m going through his pockets. Otherwise I would never have noticed the bullet.
This entry to Time & Leisure’s short story competition was written by Martin Goss