At least once a month Susanna swans in with a huge bunch of flowers and makes a big show of finding a vase to put them in. Seeing as she’s the only one to ever need a vase at work I know she knows exactly where that vase is going to be. Still, with a flourish and a squeak of joy Susanna will produce it from a desk drawer or cupboard shelf then spend an excruciating twenty minutes arranging the stems just so.
This morning I saw Susanna’s tall blond husband at the train station with another tall blond beauty who I assumed was his sister, until their passionate and prolonged farewell. Susanna’s husband was far too busy fondling Blondie’s bum to notice me or my suitably raised eyebrows.
Susanna has just waltzed in from lunch nursing a magnificent bunch of dusky pink roses. “Oh, there it is,” she says after clattering around in the stationery cupboard.
I watch her arrange the buds and when she steps back to admire them I say, “They look lovely, Susanna.”
She turns to me, mouth agape. This is the first time I have acknowledged her ritual. “I’m the luckiest wife in the world,” she whispers.
Oh Susanna, I think, and I wonder if I need to tell her.
Mandy Nicol lives in rural Australia. She loves chocolate and footy and messing with words. Her stories have been published by Pure Slush.