The Phoenix Time #19


They sat for a while talking after the meal. She suggested that they could phone David from the pub and go round together. Frank wasn’t sure and, after they’d talked through the pros and cons, they agreed that he should return home with her to phone from there. It would also allow him an opportunity to collect some of the paper evidence that he’d need to provide the letting agents.

Sharp as always where money was concerned, she asked whether he was expecting to take the money for deposits out of the joint account before they divided it. He assured her that he recognised that it would be unfair of him to expect her to fund half of the deposit costs.

He’d paid the restaurant bill at the time they’d ordered so, when they were ready, they returned home.


Once they were in the house, he asked her whether she wanted him to give her his key. She only needed a second to tell him to hang on to it – just in case….

She didn’t elaborate and he didn’t ask.

She made cups of tea for them both – neither of them were regular coffee drinkers. While Charlotte was doing that, Frank went upstairs to the cupboard in the spare room where he kept things like passports, bank statements and utility invoices. He retrieved what he needed and returned downstairs to the lounge.

‘Shall I phone David now?’ she asked, ‘Do you think it’s too early?’

He said to go ahead. If he wasn’t in they could try again in another thirty minutes perhaps. She got through first time.

‘David, love, it’s your mum,’ she said, ‘Your dad’s with me and we’re on speakerphone.’

‘What’s going on Mum?’ he asked, ‘Gloria phoned me and said something about dad moving out and staying with her for a few days. So how come you’re both on the call?’

‘Ah! We didn’t count on Gloria contacting you,’ she said, ‘Basically, she’s right. Your dad has moved out and left some of his stuff at Gloria’s this morning. It’s only until he can find a place to rent. He’s with me now though, so he can tell you all about that another time. We just thought that we’d let you know what’s going on and that it would be better if we did that together.’

‘So, this is all about yesterday then?’ he asked.

‘Well, it’s been brewing for quite a bit longer than that – and we’re both okay about it. Your dad will confirm that if you want. I’m sure that you don’t want all the ins and outs but that’s the situation. We’ve just been out for a meal together earlier tonight without stabbing each other to death and we’ll still keep in touch with you – separately or together. Are you  okay with that?’

Frank joined in the conversation to say that he’d call round to see his son and the youngsters as soon as he’d made a bit of progress with house hunting.

‘Well, it’s still a bit of a shock,’ David said, ‘but it’s good to know that you’re both on speaking terms after yesterday.’

They asked him how he and the children had spent the bank holiday. He and Grace had been to the Chester Oaks outlet centre to buy some summer clothes for Grace. Jake had stayed at home reading.

There hadn’t been much more to add on either side so the call ended not long afterwards and Frank left to spend the remainder of the evening at his temporary home with Gloria, Peter and Davina.

Charlotte, now alone, felt lost. She and Frank had never spent a night apart since they’d got married more than forty years before. It had been a few years since they’d had sex, and it was her fault, her moodiness she admitted to herself. Frank had been keen enough to love her until he’d given up. She’d just turned her back on him – literally as well as figuratively.

Featured Photo

I took this photo earlier this week (11/02/2021) at Sutton Mill Dam, St Helens, Merseyside. It was one of five shots that I took because of the frozen surface of the lake.

I used my Pentax KP 24 MP cropped sensor camera with a 35 mm f/2full-frame prime lens attached. The shutter speed was 1/400 at f/9 and the ISO was 400. The shot was handheld and I post-processed my shot in Lightroom Classic.

Author: writingandphotography0531

I am a retired local government officer. At that time, I was an IT manager and had associated responsibilities for training. I have previously been involved, in various organisations, with aspects of industrial training and management development. My hobby is photography and, until recently, hillwalking in Snowdonia. I have just written my first novel, Persephone and the Photographer, published as a Kindle eBook.

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