Tuesday, November 24, 2020

The Lockdown Book Club - Day 12

 Chapter 12

Polly put her wine down on the coffee table and took a deep breath.

“Are you alright?” Kate asked, slightly alarmed by the sudden change in tone from Polly. Polly stood up and crossed the lounge to the door Ryan had just left through. She pushed it closed softly and then came and sat back down on the sofa next to Kate, “Poll? You’re worrying me?”

“Can I ask you about something, and I don’t want no judgement from you?” Polly said, looking at Kate. Kate began to feel a nervous trembling in the ends of her fingers as though the blood had stopped getting that far down. She didn’t have a good history with Polly needing to talk to her about serious things.

“What judgement could you get from me with no house, no plan, no boyfriend and no… whatever that other thing was that I didn’t have?” Kate feigned a laugh but it was shaky and false.

Polly took another deep breath, “So, the other day I was in a rush to get the kids to school and it was proper cold so on my way out the front door I just grabbed Ryan’s coat off the bottom of the banister,” although Kate wasn’t sure she was keen on where this was going it at least didn’t feel like Polly’s story was going to end in the death of a family member so Kate relaxed ever so slightly, “Obviously I didn’t think much of it, dropped them off, got back here and I stuck my hand in the pocket to get my keys out and I pulled out a set but they weren’t mine. I didn’t recognise them. Anyway, so I got mine out and unlocked the door and came in and then when I saw Ryan I just said, Oh I found these keys in your pocket - what are they for? And he was so weird about it.”

“What did he say?” Kate found herself leaning in close to follow Polly’s story, this was so strange. They were the perfect unit - it was rare that Polly admitted to anything being even slightly wrong in her life.

“Well, he said he didn’t recognise them, and I was like Ryan, how can you have a set of keys in your pocket that you don’t recognise?” Polly paused, hearing creaking from the floorboards upstairs. At the sound of the bathroom door closing she continued, “And he was like, I don’t know - I just don’t recognise them, so I said like, Well have you been out with any of the guys lately or anyone and you might have picked up their keys by mistake? Has anyone been in touch with you to say they’ve lost their keys?”

Kate nodded, that felt like a very traditional Polly approach; very sensible and not jumping to the conclusions that Kate’s mind was already hopping to, “So, what did he say?” Kate whispered.

“Well now this is the really weird bit. He said, Polly - I don’t know what these keys are for. And then he put them in the bin.”

“He put keys in the bin?” Kate wasn’t sure why, but she found the idea of keys in a bin really weird. Keys didn’t belong in a bin. Even if you had no idea what a key was for or where it went, you didn’t put it in a bin. You put a key in a drawer somewhere and then kept it forever just in case. “You don’t put keys in a bin.” Kate was emphatic about this. Of all the things she had ever known she knew or thought she knew, the fact that you don’t put keys in a bin was number one.

“That’s exactly what I said! I laughed and fished them back out again and was all like Ryan, you can’t just put keys in a bin - what if we realise what they’re for and then they’re already gone?”

“And what did he say to that?” The story was so odd Kate could scarcely imagine it happening between Polly and Ryan in their kitchen.

“He was all weird and defensive, he sort of said - fine if you want the keys that much then have them but I don’t know what they’re for. So now I just have this set of keys?” They both went quiet as they heard the bathroom door open and then footsteps across to the office. The office door closed and they both relaxed. Kate felt like she was on a sleepover aged 12 all over again.

“So, what are you going to do now?” Kate needed pop corn, but then she felt guilty for her sister’s life being titilating entertainment. Then she felt unguilty again when she thought of everything Polly had said in the car.

“I don’t know!” Polly said, throwing her arms up in exasperation, “What am I supposed to do? March into his office and say, Ryan are these keys to a flat you have with another family in it somewhere? Or, do I just forget that it ever happened. Do I want to know? Is it a surprise gift for me that I’ve ruined or something?”

“A gift? What would a gift be? Like a shed?”

“Well… yeah, I don’t know. But obviously all I’m thinking is that he’s having some sort of affair and I don’t know whether I want to pull at that thread but even if I don’t nag at it - I’m already worried aren’t I?”

Kate looked at Polly astonished, “What do you mean you’re not sure you want to pull at that thread? You mean you might just not ever pursue it? Just let him have an affair?” She couldn’t believe what she was hearing here.

Polly sighed, “Oh Kate, look I’m not saying I want him to be having an affair - I’d love him not to be. I’m just saying if it was a choice between turning a blind eye or having to raise the kids by myself and start dating again, I suppose… well, I don’t know it’s something I’d have to think about.”

Kate was gobsmacked. In the space of a week her entire concept of relationships had been turned upside down. First Ewan and his polyamoury had waltzed into her life and now the most stable person she knew, her Polly, was calmly announcing she might let her husband have affairs on the side for an easier life. Was everything she thought she knew wrong? “So, like, would you have affairs?” She asked Polly, suddenly very curious.

“Oh god no, I don’t need more hassle in my life.” Polly laughed and took a big swig of wine. “I just don’t know Kate, I really don’t know. Those stupid keys are just sitting in the pocket of my garden fleece and I don’t know whether to never mention them again or to burst upstairs and pull everything up. What do I do?”

Kate didn’t think she had ever been asked for advice from Polly before and she sat, gobsmacked before her.


What does Kate say:

  1. Confront Ryan
  2. Never mention the keys again
  3. She will ask Ewan
  4. Look for other clues

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