|Mrs Amelia Martin had coped with her marriage and the grumpy, miserly, complaining years of her husband’s good health like a saint. She had also coped with the grumpy, miserly, and complaining months of his last illness with the same saintly attitude.
Her saintly attitude vanished shortly after his death. She sold the gloomy family home in their newly gentrified inner suburb for a very inflated price. She downsized to a small flat, and fled. She had been to Europe twice, Ireland once, and Hong Kong and Singapore once.
“His half of the family house should have been left to us,” her daughter Angelina had accused. “Daddy knew how we needed a decent stake in Bert’s new business.”
“He had promised to help out with my overdraft on the new house,” her son Brad grumbled. “He knew how important a good address is for my public image.”
“But when he made that will, the house was worth very little.” Which was why I inherited, Mrs Martin reminded herself.
“But he would have left us his half share of the house if he had realized how much it was going to be worth,” her son snapped.
“But he didn’t,” Mrs Martin pointed out. “He left both of you all of his shares and his stamp collection, which was the equivalent price of the full house. The house, paid for with most of my earnings, was mine to sell.”
“But the house value rose to a lot more than the stamp collection and shares,” Brad grumbled.
“Wasting Daddy’s money,” her daughter sneered.
“Your father and I always intended to travel when he retired,” Mrs Martin defended.
“Only to the seaside for his fishing,” her son pointed out. “Not around the world all the time.”
“And with that dreadful woman,” her daughter accused.
“Widowed because her husband was a gangster and got himself shot,” her son said.
“Betty Drakeford is a lovely woman, and as we are both widows, we have so much in common,” their mother defended.
They didn’t seem to have that much in common on first acquaintance. They both owned to being forty-five, but Betty Drakeford fought the onset of age with bright, trendy clothes, and was an eye-catching figure with blonded hair.
Mrs Martin’s clothes were sombre and the acme of good taste for a grieving widow. As their friendship deepened, however, she had taken Mrs Drakeford’s advice, donated her dowdy good taste wardrobe to the Op. shop, and bought clothes with more flattering lines and more cheerful colours.
The united disapproval of Mrs Martin’s two children of her new friend and lifestyle intensified when Mrs Drakeford sabotaged Mrs Martin’s meek and uncomplaining babysitting of her three grandchildren.
“Both your son and daughter can easily afford pre-school and after-school programs for their kids,” she had pointed out. “You are entitled to start having some fun.”
“We’re leaving for Brazil tomorrow.” Mrs Martin rose and opened the front door for them to leave.
“Don’t expect us to rescue you if you get picked up for drug trafficking,” her son sneered.
“Or expect us to fund you when you finish off Daddy’s money,” her daughter warned.
Mrs Martin shut the door on their disapproving faces with relief. South America sounded exciting.