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The Self Employed Housewife – Dairy of a foreigner – Book two Ch 3
She had to find ways to get rid the depressed feelings that lately seemed to hang around her like sticky glue. She needed to see people, or visit friends. More than ever did she miss her own family, but what could they do about it? Her mom would always share her own relationship stories instead of listening. She would just end up listening to her dramas. Her dad would listen, and would probably admit that he never thought Jan was the right partner for her. She always knew what his thoughts were about their marriage, so that wouldn’t solve anything. Her sister lived such a different life and they had nothing really in common either.
It was ten O’clock. The house was tidy, dishes done and washing on the line. Jan had gone to work and the kids were at school. Lately visiting her friends for morning coffee instead of doing her leather work had become more and more attractive.
Taking off from leatherwork
When they were still in Durban some of the mothers whose children went to the same pre-school as Sascia dropped in to her for coffee, often unannounced, and that was okay when she was working in her garage. Now that they were in Port Elizabeth and Jenny or Marisa suddenly came past after they had dropped their kids to school and done their shopping, she had to stop working in her outside room and sit in her lounge in order to be social. She then felt like getting out of the house to visit them instead.
As she drove out of their driveway she spotted a woman cleaning her front window next door. She had not yet introduced herself to her new neighbour, and she knew why. Finding Jan in a clinch with the neighbour when she had come home early on a Saturday because the gemstone club was closed, was still a painful memory.
When she drove past the house she knew the woman had seen her, so she waved. It was not fair to be unfriendly just because of what had happened. She had never told her friends about it. She hated sharing her marital relationship with outsiders; Jenny and Marisa were immigrants from the UK and lived on the other side of the freeway in Bridgmead, a newer suburb than theirs. Most of the husbands who lived there seemed to work for the motor industry.
Jenny was not at home so she figured she must be at Marisa’s around the corner.
Housewives get together
“Hi there I was going to phone you!” Marisa said the moment she opened the door.
“Oh, I must have sensed you were holding a coffee party.” Marisa’s youngest, a boy of four was playing with his big tuck on a high piled rug in the center of the lounge.
“Did you read the paper, about the woman who found a way to make international phone calls for free from a call box?” Marisa asked, showing her the newspaper clipping jenny had brought along.
“Really. How? I have never seen it, but then I don’t really read newspapers and Jan said nothing about it.” She was surprised that the article in the paper would describe in detail how she did it.
She looked up because they were both waiting for her to say something. “Let me guess, you both want to try it out.”
“Not from my phone at home. Just now Telkom gets wind of it.” She wondered, had the woman been caught and then told a reporter about it? She imagined chatting to her mom and sister over the phone, for FREE! They only ever phoned them for their birthdays because international calls were very expensive.
“There is a phone booth at the shopping centre, why don’t the three of us try tonight when the men are at home? “ Jenny suggested.
“Mmm I’m intrigued, let me read it again.” She went over the details again knowing that Jan would not approve! He was a real stickler when it came to breaking rules, unless they were his own.
Jenny had baked scones, telling her that next time it was her turn to bring something for the coffee. Marisa was openly moaning about her hubby not being interested in their sex life.
“He always complains that he is too tired. He knows I want to try to fall pregnant again.”
Jenny laughed at Marisa’s plan to seduce her man, so she felt even less tempted to share her relationship issues. Jenny offered her a cigarette and was surprised that she declined.
“Gosh you are serious! Really, you stopped smoking? I’m impressed.” Jenny remarked. Marisa wanted to know the real reasons, since they knew that Jan smoked a pipe so it could not be because of him. Jenny’s husband hated her smoking but she told them all that it had to be her decision and not his. That would never work.
Her intuition told her not to share the real reasons so instead she chatted how funny her mom would react to her suddenly phoning her. They planned to get together after supper in the evening when the kids were all in bed.
A shift in her outlook on life
During her drive home she wondered if it was perhaps not all her fault that Jan was so irritated with her. There was no time to visit Pat at her bookshop because the kids would be home soon and she wanted to start preparing a new leather project for her afternoon leather class next week at the college. When she stopped at the traffic lights her mind drifted to wondering what it would be like if Jan was not at all interested in love making? Would she feel hurt about that? Marisa was clearly frustrated because she wanted to fall pregnant, but was she feeling hurt? She had wanted to ask but felt that might have been too personal.
Having a third baby was no longer an option for her. Two months previous, just after her parent’s visit Jan had made sure about that wouldn’t happen by having a vasectomy without consulting her about it. At the time she felt really angry that he had gone and had that done without asking her first. She now wondered if another baby would have improved their relationship. Jan hated seeing her pregnant.
When she drove into their street she saw both Sascia and Jeroen in the distance walking home from school. She was just in time.
“Mama did you buy seeds for tweetie?” Sascia asked the moment she walked into the door. She had run out of time for shopping and had forgotten about buying pet food.
“I waited for your both to get home so we can go together.” She lied because she wanted to find out where the phone booth was. She had never spotted it before. While the kids were in the pet shop she might also take the chance of peeping into Pat’s bookshop. Maybe she had books on relationships. Otherwise the library was another option.
Arriving home together
“Mommy, Daddy is home.” Both kids were out the car before the engine had been turned off. Jan had parked next to the garage. That meant he would leave for work later.
“Hi there. Are you going back to work tonight?” Jan was making coffee in the kitchen asking her if she wanted some. She gave him a kiss as if last night when she spoke her mind also had never happened and unpacked the groceries. Jan smiled while preparing his pipe. Before preparing supper she used to join him and light a cigarette, but now she only accepted her coffee.
“No I’m free but we have been invited for a braai just now, so I’m sure I will have to get some meat.” She was very surprised. It was a weekday and she had not prepared anything.
“Who invited us?”
“Our new neighbours, so I will get some braai meat just now. That is why I left my car outside.”
All she could think about was that trying to illegally phone her mom from a phone booth was out for tonight, unless they came home early and Jan would tuck the kids in bed. Somehow she needed to phone Jenny or Marisa to ask if after eight was too late for them to go out.
When Jan had gone to get the meat she quickly phoned. Marisa had already made arrangements with Jenny to meet at the phone booth around the corner from Pat’s bookshop just after eight. If she was not there they would give it a try anyway.
She hoped their new neighbors were a nice couple, and not anything like the trashy woman Jan seemed to have had a liking for.