The grapevine over their back door had been just scraggly sticks, dormant and ugly, when Evan had gone north to the mine. He hated being away, but the opportunity to take a chunk out of the mortgage was too good to miss.

By the time he returned new shoots were showing. Evan settled back into old routines. At the pub, that Friday, Dean said something about being home just in time. He shrugged it off.

Over the next few weeks more murmurs reached his ears. Then, on their way to golf, Hal told him people were saying Therese had been with Milt while Evan had been north. ‘It’s just a rumour. Probably nothing.’

Milt was one of their best friends. Why wouldn’t he be doing things with Therese. Evan tried to ignore it. The harder he tried the more the thought consumed him. More furtive, sketchy revelations followed. Each came with a disclaimer. ‘Thought you ought to know.’

Evan stewed. Therese, who’d started hearing things too, wondered if she should tell him about the one drunken kiss that must have started all this.

The vine grew lush. One morning, laden with rain, it brought the trellis down. Therese and Evan stood at the back door in their pyjamas, looking at the scene, not knowing what to say.

 

2011—Richard Holt / small stories about love (smallstoriesaboutlove.wordpress.com)

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