Polly Verity Profile

Polly Verity

Location: Australia

Gender: F

Member Since: March 2019

Last online: March 2019

Open for read requests: Yes

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Jim Ballard was a sensible man in a world of order and organization.  He lived in a small house with three bedrooms and two bathrooms, his wife Judy and his two children Bailey and Connor.  Jim loved his children, but they were more like Judy than him and sometimes he found it hard to understand what made them tick and why they were behaving the way they would.  Quite often they would beg away from him, running to their mother instead and Judy would sit there patiently listening to a diabolically long explanation for something that Jim would have resolved in about three minutes.  Jim loved Judy.  She was lovely and kind and good and always made sure that their home was clean, that food was on the table on time, and that the kids got looked after.  She visited Jim’s mum once a week to have a cup of tea and a chat and she took Jim’s dad to the doctors every month for his injections.  Judy made sure that the boys were kind and respectful to their grandparents and she always had a nice bit of cake or a thick beefy stew for Jim to drop off on his mid week check up visit.  Jim went to the dentist every six months, had his hair cut by the same barber that had cut his hair since he was 12.  He went to the same cafe everyday and drank a cup of thick sludgy coffee from there, even though he preferred Chamomile, because he knew the owner, a man named Ali who had lived next door to Jim’s parents once upon a time, and who Jim’s mum was convinced was the kindest man alive and therefore also in need of support and patronage.  Jim worked in insurance in a finance team and had done so with the same company for the past 15 years.  Jim was sick of his life.  He had gone to work every day, five days a week for so long that it was as if he had lost the ability to see beyond this small space he had created for himself in the world.  He looked around him noting the pile of files sitting on the edge of his desk, in his small cubicle, in his square of tartan carpeted office, and wondered what he should do first.  He considered his nails, clean and white, his hands soft and smooth, and then looked back at his desktop computer pushed to the back of a crowded space, and his coffee cup perched precariously on the top of the hard drive.   What would he do first indeed.  He leaned back in the chair, tapped at the keyboard to bring the screen back to life and with a pencil in his mouth, typed in his password, pausing to consider what he had changed it to three days ago, and then he began flicking through the emails that had come in to his attention in the last half hour.  He had only gone to see Kelly in HR about some invoices that weren’t paid and now there was another pile of problems sitting there to be solved.  Jim felt overwhelmed and under appreciated.  Probably like Basil in the cubicle next to him, and Vincent in the cubicle next to that.  None of them liked being there, yet everyday they got out of bed, shaved, showered, dressed, had breakfast and caught a train to get there and celebrate another day of gainful employment.  Today though was proving to be rather difficult for Jim.  He just couldn’t get motivated.  He hadn’t felt like this in a very very long time.  In fact, not since his twenties when he was young and free spirited.  He couldn’t remember the last time he had felt that lovely feeling of freedom, the feeling of not knowing what would happen.  Everything seemed to be so organised in his life that even a little budge out of it would have been welcome.  Jim had woken up this morning feeling this way and for some reason his usual routine was not sticking.  This unnerving feeling coursed through his veins and Jim felt a shiver run up his spine. He looked at his phone, back to the computer and then back to the phone and an idea popped into his head.  With a quick glance around, Jim shakily took his mobile from his bag and placing it on his knees dialled his office number.  The office phone’s trill ring pierced the silence of the space around him punctuated only by the tapping of the keyboards in the two cubicles beside him.  He slowly picked up the phone, knowing that there would be no one there, but not wanting to appear too quick.  He always let the phone ring three times and so he let it ring and then said ‘Hello Jim Ballard speaking’.  He carried on a fake conversation for a minute or so.  He could hear his neighbours stopping what they were doing.  He heard Basil muffle a cough into his tissue, knowing that Vincent would be furious if he missed any part of the gossip.  Jim heard himself carry on the conversation. ‘What do you mean?’ He asked.  ‘Well I guess I could get there’.  He said this and looked at his watch and cradled the phone between his ear and his neck.  ‘Yes, yes of course’.  He said this again twice and then hung up the phone.  ‘Trouble Jim?’  Basil asked, his thick English accent curling around the words.  Vincent popped his head over the cubicle edge ‘Need anything Jim?’ he asked, his curious eyes bulging from behind his round rimmed glasses as he wiped a brown and white handkerchief across his nose. ‘A situation at home I’m afraid.  I think I better get back there and sort it out’.  Picking up his bag he popped his phone into the space set aside for it, then started shutting down the computer.  Neville from across the cubicle hall nodded his head.  ‘Yes off you go mate.  Family comes first doesn’t it’.  Jim stood up nodding, not daring to talk, and searched in his wallet for his bus pass.  He didn’t need to fake the nervousness.  He was as scared as hell that his wife would call and blow his cover.  That this would be the one day that she would call him at work.  But he couldn’t stop now.  He headed towards the big glass doors beyond which was the first stage of freedom.  ‘Could you tell Mark that I have had to go home on urgent business please?’ he said to his boss’s personal assistant Rebecca, who sat at the desk flightily tapping away at her keyboard while eating a buttered piece of toast.  ‘Oh yeah sure, yeah absolutely.  I hope it’s all okay’.  He felt a swell of panic rise in him as he headed out of the office doors and towards to lift.  Was he really doing this?  Wasn’t he just a tad too old to be chucking a sicky?   Jim waited in the carpeted hallway, listening to the other lifts ding as their doors opened and closed on their way to higher floors.  He couldn’t go back to his desk now anyway.  What would he do?  Pretend that the situation he had invented had evaporated. The elevator doors opened and down arrow glowed green.  He stepped in.


When Jim got out on the street, the first thing that struck him was that on a Wednesday afternoon there were so many people out and about in the city.  The streets were full of travellers and shoppers.  Beside him a German husband and wife fought at the traffic lights, his wife pouting as he explained in heated tones about something that was driving him insane.  He looked fit to pop as the lights turned green and stalked ahead of his wife, Jim falling into line with her and sneaking a look at her plain features, shoulder length blonde hair tied into a pony tail, and her utilitarian sporting wear.  She carried a small plastic bag and her mobile phone and he wondered what it was that this husband of hers was so angry about that he was willing to react like that in public.  His own wife would never pout or behave like that in public and Jim was glad of it.  He didn’t like drama and definitely tried not to attract it.   As Jim neared the train station it occurred to him that he would actually have to go home as that is what he told his colleagues.  Afterwards he could do what he wanted, but in his heart he knew that he would not be able to face them the next day if he hadn’t at least done what he had told them he would do.  He tagged on to the train boarding system and slipped into an empty carriage which travelled smoothly through the city and out into the suburbs, stopping to let off more people rather than taking anyone on.  He enjoyed the lull of the train, and the sight of the Patterson’s Curse sweeping across the fields that flagged either side of the train line.  Jim almost forgot to get off when it rolled into his station.  He had enjoyed this trip home for the first time in years.  What a difference it had made to sit down and be able to see the view rather than the back of a dozens heads and darkness outside.  At the train station he stopped to pick up a copy of the paper, and then began to walk home.  Usually Judy picked him up but today he would surprise her and take her out to lunch.  They hadn’t done something like that in ages.  It would be lovely to see her and not be rushed by the children or another after school activity that they had to get to.  He felt the freedom of a day unfettered by routine and smiled to himself.  The walk home was quick and uneventful and as Jim pushed through the gate he felt a giddy excitement at being home in the morning when he was usually closeted in his horrible office doing horrible work.  He pulled out the keys to the front door and undid the locks, opening it quietly and enjoying the silence as he stepped into their neat entry hall.  Jim slipped off his coat and shoes, hanging his brown wax anorak on the hook and making sure his sensible slip on loafers were lined neatly in the little shoe shelf that acted as their wet room.  The kitchen was empty and the little sitting room was neat and tidy, the magazines piled up all facing the right direction and a bowl of fresh white roses picked from his parent’s garden sitting on the coffee table.  He peered into the backyard from the French doors and noted the bucket and gloves laying on the grass.  Jim turned back and headed upstairs to their bedroom, taking off his pants and putting on his jeans.  ‘Judy’ he called out.  No answer came to him.  He whistled softly as he fossicked around in the wardrobe and found a fresh Lacoste t-shirt in a cheerful shade of blue and then splashed some water on his face.  As he wiped the face cloth over his already stubbled chin, he peered out the bathroom window which looked out over the garden.  That was when he saw Judy.  Sprawled in the hydrangea bush, her legs hanging out.  He ran down the stairs, and called the ambulance, telling them what he saw but not being able to do much more.  He left the phone on the little bench top and then ran outside.   He felt her hand, cold and stiff in his and turned her over.  Her face was scratched from the bushes spindly branches but she looked calm and peaceful.  His Judy was dead.


The police had come and gone and Jim still couldn’t believe that this was happening.  His mum and dad were devastated, the boys were inconsolable.  He felt a numbness sweep over him.  Jim could not believe that he had upset the cosmic karma of his life by taking this day off and that his wife had died.  He couldn’t come to terms with the fact that she was gone, but mostly he couldn’t believe that something he had pretended had happened and had actually come true.  This painful reality was what he would have to live with forever.  Jim sorted out the paperwork, organised the funeral and dealt with the sad notes and casserole dishes that landed on his doorstep.  His sons sat by his side as the wake happened around them.  Connor had not left him since the day that Judy had passed away and surprisingly Jim had found this comforting.  Bailey, a little older and as the first born certainly more of a mummy’s boy, had been quiet and withdrawn.  But he too had stuck by his dad.  Jim felt a swell of pride in his boys and hugged them warmly.  They were surprised at the way that their dad was acting.  He was managing this.  They had thought that he would crumble and fall apart but he was not letting their lives skip a beat.  He had asked for leave from work and had been making their lunches and taking them to their activities after school.  Jim had decided that the best way to deal with Judy leaving was to just keep them in the routine that she had so lovingly prepared for them.  That would be his job now.  To continue her good work and follow through.  Vincent and Basil now loped up to him and wiped away tears for their colleague.  They had been suspicious on the day he had left early but look at what had happened.  Jim felt a piercing pain stab in his heart when he heard those two lopes describe their cynical behaviour on the day.  It had been true that he had been shirking his responsibility.  Jim got up from his chair, grabbed a glass of port from one of the waiters he had hired to hand out drinks to the dozens of mourners that had come to Judy’s funeral and said a few words about the wonderful woman he had killed with karma.  When everyone had left, Jim began to tidy up, giving the boys big hugs and promising them that he would carry on their mum’s good work.  He was going to be paying for his morning off for the rest of his life.


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