Have a Cuppa with Shirley (or Martin)
Oh, thank goodness youre here. I cant thank you enough for coming. You must promise me not to breathe a word of this to another soul. Ta. Well, where to start?
He knows. Hes always known. To think, after all these years. Well, its been all our married life, hasnt it? Never said a word. Never treated Elizabeth any different than if shed been his own. Or John. Youve seen them together. Has any other boy had such a devoted Granddad?
Well, this morning he comes in, to this very kitchen, and says, "Shirley, Ive told Emma the truth." "What truth, you daft pilchard?" I said, never suspecting that he had anything to say. He looks at me real seriously, and says, "I dont have any seed, Shirley. Never had. Cant graft children. Nor grandchildren." And with that he walked out the door.
Oh dear. Give me a minute, and Ill be all right. No good crying over spilled milk they say. And its been spilled for nearly fifty years
I didnt mean to lie to him all these years, you know. Hes been a good husband, has Martin, and a good father too, if you take my meaning. I might have married him anyway. I quite fancied him, even at the beginning. But he was so shy then, you see, hardly ever said a word. And an under-gardener. Not in a position to be courting. Anyway, it took me quite a while to get him to talk to me. By then I wasnt free. But Mr. Monty got me in the family way, and you see, then I was free. He couldnt marry me, a man in his position and me a house maid. So I went with Martin. He took me to the village, to the pictures. He was such a gentleman. Under the circumstances, mind you, I didnt have time for it. Had to practically force myself on him, but in the end nature took its course. Or so I always believed he thought.
Elizabeth was a tiny baby when she came. Wasnt hard to believe she was a bit early. He looked after her, loved her. Mr. Monty loved her too. She was quite a spoilt child, was that girl. I always wanted a big family, but no more children ever came. I suppose I know why, now.
Mr. Monty? Well, I loved him too. He was so different than Martin. So polite and polished. He needed me, he was lonely. But Im not one to make the same mistake twice, if you take my meaning Hang on, whos there? Martin? Is that you?
"Id have married you anyway, Shirley."