Monday, 3 August 2015

The Prompt - Beach

'Is there anything nicer than a picnic on the beach?' Amy asked. 'I'm so glad that the summer finally arrived so we could all meet up, at last.'

At that exact moment a gust of wind blew the picnic blanket up and scattered sand across Mary's plate. Just what she needed, sandwiches covered with a light dusting of sand. Like all her childhood memories of picnics on the beach - too much sun making everyone sleepy, sand all over the food, the wind whipping sand into her eyes - God, Mary hated the beach!

When Amy had phoned and suggested a picnic get together on the beach there were many things that made Mary want to refuse. The fact that it was on a beach was only one of them. If truth be told she had no interest in meeting up with this group of old school friends. As far as Mary was concerned there was a reason they were 'old school friends'. Once they hugged goodbye after the A level results were published she had very little interest in meeting them again. That part of her life was over and she was looking forward, not back.

'So lovely to see you all again!' trilled Beverley, 'We mustn't leave it so long next time.'

Mary fought the urge to snort with laughter. If she never saw most of them again that would be fine; actually it would be more than fine, it would be wonderful. If only she'd got to the phone before Alex she could have saved herself the bother of plastering a fixed smile on her face and brushing sand from her sandwich.

The seconds became minutes which dragged into blocks of time Mary would never get back. Her mind began wandering to all the other dull and excruciating things that were more fun than this - root canal treatment; queueing to return library books; worming the cat. All would be welcome relief from the tedium of these women with whom Mary had nothing in common other than the fact that they all attended the same school.

'So tell us what you've been up to since school, Mary?' Amy enquired. 'No-one has heard a peep out of you since we left and I must say all that mystery is very - what's the word? - '

'You're just nosey, Ames,' Clara laughed 'Can't stand being in the dark, can you?'

Mary took a long glug of her wine, felt it burn the back of her throat.  Damn cheap wine! Trust Amy to get the cheap and nasty stuff, just like her. She'd always been all style and no substance. Wouldn't know quality if it smashed her in the face (gosh! All these violent thoughts; where could they be coming from?)

'I've been busy,' Mary said enigmatically. A brief smile flashed across her lips. How delicious it was to tease them like this.

'Did you go to Uni in the end?' Frances asked. 'You were the only one who hadn't decided, if I remember right.'

' No. No university for me. I started working in an investment bank in the City, spent several years working in Europe, then came back to start my own portfolio. Made some interesting acquisitions as a matter of fact.'

The glazed looks on the assembled faces was as she had expected. They had no real interest in what she'd been up to or the fascinating world of finance and commerce that she had inhabited. The wedding and baby pictures were coming out now and her companions reminded Mary of twittering baby birds - noisy, silly and without a single thought in their stupid heads.

Mary stood up, brushed sand from her slacks and headed across the beach in search of  the public toilets. She could hardly wipe the smile from her face as she washed her hands; if only they knew!

When she returned the picnic was being packed up and plans were being made to meet up again soon. Phone numbers and email addresses were exchanged, cheeks kissed and cards for birthdays promised. Mary hung back, reluctant to be pulled into these plans; she had no intention of seeing any of these silly creatures again.

'Mary! Email address please.' Frances shouted above the general hubbub. 'We mustn't lose touch again.'

There was a pause in all the chatter which gave Mary the perfect opportunity of making her announcement.

'Actually, I think you've all got my contact details. I'm the Managing Director of  Primrose Investments and I own the companies that all your husbands work for. You should have had letters from the company recently, all the details you need are on those.'

'But..  but ...' spluttered Amy, 'Those letters were about redundancies!'

Mary grinned broadly, enjoying the day for the first time.
 'Yes, they were. Now who's the Girl Most Likely To Amount To Nothing?'     


  1. Ha, this made me chuckle. I'm not sure whether I like Mary very much or not, but I couldn't help but smile at the end :) Thanks so much for sharing with #ThePrompt x

    1. Thanks Sara, glad to have amused you. I'm not sure about Mary either - I think she was badly hurt in the past and is damaged but I still don't think she's a nice person to be around! Thanks for the comment too.