When I saw two men molesting the woman on a park bench, I really didn’t want to get involved, but what else could I do?
It was one of those bad, bad days that was only going to get worse. It was almost 8am and I was driving hell-for-leather to the station in our tiny village, already late for my train to get to London for an important work meeting.
But I reversed back to the scene, screeched to a halt, leapt out and ran across the grass.
The scruffy men were oblivious to me, and the woman was well dressed, around mid-thirties, and struggling to get away. Seated between the two men, her fight was useless, because she was practically comatose and clearly drunk. They had already succeeded in stripping off her jacket and were undoing the buttons of her smart white blouse, while she squirmed and struggled ineffectually.
“Get off you bastards!” I yelled when I was close.
“What the fuck?” snarled the bigger man of the pair, turning round. But when he saw that I was six-foot three and built like a tank, he leapt to his feet.
“I’m calling the police,” I told them as I got closer, but they weren’t hanging around to listen. They legged it across the park, and, frankly, I was relieved.
Then, would you believe it? The skies opened up and the cloudburst was as heavy as it was unexpected, and we were deluged with rain.
“Are you all right?” I asked the woman.
“Uggh,” she muttered, still half asleep, obviously off her face. I could smell the booze on her breath, and her eyes couldn’t stay open. “Th-thanks, thanks so much.” But she’d closed her eyes and was oblivious to the sluicing rain.
“Where do you live?” I shouted, sitting beside her and hurriedly draping her jacket around her shoulders.
“Come on, please, you can’t stay here!” I tried to wake her. “Can you get up? My car’s here, I’ll take you home.”
“Home?” She smiled and started to giggle, but the giggle was stifled to a belch.
By now I knew I had missed my train, and I’d miss the vitally important meeting in London, on which my precarious job might depend, but it couldn’t be helped. How could I just leave her there?
I took her handbag, shielding it with my body as I opened it, and found a purse inside which contained her driving licence, with an address, which was not far away. There were also house keys and a business card, saying, Dunhill and Glaxo, Solicitors, specialists in divorce and marital disputes.
Eventually I managed to coax her to her feet, and, with my arm around her waist, guided her to my car and helped her into the passenger seat. Ten minutes later I had found her house on the new estate just outside the village, used her key to open the door and helped her inside, calling out in the hope someone was in, but no luck, the house was empty. I supported her as we stumbled into the living room, and I sat her on the sofa, where she sat back, head slumped sideways, and almost immediately she stretched out and then began to snore. I put her handbag and keys beside her. Then I opened her handbag again and found her phone, called my own mobile on it, so I would have her number to phone later to check that she was all right.
Then I went into the hall and out of the front door, pulled it shut and jogged through the pouring rain to my car.
I thought abstractedly how attractive she was, and that how if I’d met her socially I would have liked to get to know her better. But of course I’m married myself, even though the only thing that makes me stay with Sheila is guilt that I’m healthy and that she has so many illnesses, and she needs my support.
As I stared through the rain-covered windscreen, I reflected that there wouldn’t be another London train for a couple of hours, and my clothes were soaked through, so my only option was to go home and change.
I didn’t relish the thought of seeing my wife again, and wondered why on earth I had married such an unsuitable person? By the time we had realised that we hated each other, we had moved to this village, and shortly afterwards found out that Sheila has lots of health issues, notably ‘women’s problems’ that the doctor has told me preclude her having any kind of marital relations, which actually suits me fine anyway. One thing we had been lucky about in moving to the countryside was finding a marvellous GP, Dr Brown, who is absolutely the kindest family doctor you could wish for, honestly he’s virtually a saint. He always visits Sheila when she’s ill, she only has to phone him on his mobile and he’s there as soon as he can make it. All the GPs I’ve ever known before rarely, if ever, do house visits, so Dr Brown was clearly one in a million.
With luck Sheila might still be asleep, I hoped, and I could sneak up to the spare bedroom, where I slept and normally kept my clothes, and not even have to disturb her.
But when I opened my front door, I was horrified to hear a woman’s loud moaning coming from upstairs. Panicking, I ran.
I leapt up the stairs, only to come to a halt at the top, in front of the open bedroom door.
Sheila was naked on the bed on her hands and knees, and kneeling behind her was Dr Brown, also naked, red-faced, his hands on her hips, thrusting rhythmically. Without thinking, I pulled out my phone, and took a picture, and they were so engrossed in their passion that neither of them were even aware of it. Without a word, I turned and went back downstairs, before either of them had seen me.
For the rest of the day I was in a daze, driving around the countryside, wondering what to do.
Oddly enough I felt joyous, liberated, because at last I was finally free! Sheila was obviously not as ill as she’d made out, and that treacherous bastard of a doctor must have been laughing at me all the time, maintaining the fiction that she was always needing medical help, giving him the excuse to call round all the time.
I decided that I would not only get divorced, but I’d also give up my job, which I hated and only kept because I needed money for Sheila. I didn’t know much about divorce, but had the feeling that you were likely to be in a stronger position regarding a financial settlement if you had the proof that the other party had committed adultery, which I could, thanks to the photo I’d taken.
Suddenly I could do all the things I’ve been wanting to do for years. Go round the world, travelling. Do a degree at university. Get trained to do some other kind of job, something completely different!
I got a phone call much later that afternoon.
I had almost forgotten the drunken lady I had helped this morning.
“Hello, are you the kind man who took me home this morning?” she asked. “It was so kind of you to help me and get me away from those men, I really can’t thank you enough. I was so drunk I didn’t know what I was doing.”
“I was glad to help.” So much had happened since that I had almost forgotten our encounter. “How are you now?”
“Fine thanks. Honestly, I’m so ashamed to have got into such a mess, what you must think of me! But I promise you it’s a one-off, I never normally do that kind of thing. You see, this morning I had some bad news, and I had a few drinks. Goodness knows what would have happened if you hadn’t taken me home.”
“Forget it. In fact. . . .” I thought of telling her that it was thanks to missing the train that I’d gone home and discovered my wife in flagrante with the treacherous bastard who’d pretended to be our friend, and what a relief it was to know the truth. “By the way, I noticed the card in your handbag said you were a solicitor. Could I arrange an appointment with your firm? I’m getting divorced, you see.”
“Oh I am sorry. Any particular reason?”
“Yes. We’ve hated each other for years. And this morning I came home to find my wife having sex with another man.”
“How dreadful! Well, yes, my firm specialises in marital disputes so I’ll be delighted to help,” she told me. “In fact, oddly enough I’m in the same boat myself. I had a private detective following my husband because I thought he was seeing other women, and he phoned just this morning to tell me I was right. That’s the reason that I went out and got drunk. It’s not the first time he’s been playing away, and I can’t forgive him again.”
I sympathised sincerely. “By the way,” I went on, “since by a fluke I managed to take a photo of her having sex with the man, does it mean that because I can prove she’s committed adultery I’ll get a better financial settlement?”
“Not necessarily,” she went on. “The main advantage of using proven or admitted adultery as grounds is that the divorce can go through quickly, without fuss and bother, and the judge is more or less forced to grant it, as long as you apply within six months. The main advantage of having an actual photograph is that you can embarrass and humiliate them publicly! Gosh, a photograph, you’re so lucky!” she said in astonishment. “Well done you! I really wish I had something like a photograph to prove what my bastard of a husband did. Honestly, everyone thinks he’s a saint, a kind and caring doctor! If I had a photograph of him having sex with one of his patients I could really get my revenge – I’d post it on the internet and get the bugger struck off!”
(image courtesy of StockSnap, from Pixabay)