She deserved this. Work could be put on the back burner for a couple of weeks. The children were with her parents.
The tail end of summer was just warm enough to wear a sleeveless top and a short skirt, while around her the countryside was turning from lush green to golden yellow and orange.
She leaned back in the small boat. George was standing at the back, punting them along the river. He insisted on wearing the daft straw hat as part of his uniform. She laughed at him, he smiled back.
They had left early that morning and had stopped for a picnic lunch, then set off again.
‘Hadn’t we better turn back before it gets too late?’ she called over her shoulder.
‘Just a little further.’
She started to drift off lying in the afternoon sun. A sense of calm descended and she felt her body relax for the first time in months.
A shadow crossed her closed eyes. She flicked them open, sensing a different movement of the boat. It rocked gently. She looked up in time to see the wooden pole rushing towards her head.
She ducked out the way, the pole smashed into the seat her head had been resting on.
‘George!’ she cried. ‘What are you doing?’
George didn’t answer, he swung the pole again. She caught the end of it and yanked it hard. George was caught off balance as the boat rocked. She fell over one side of the boat, George fell over the other.
She swam for the shore and pulled herself out, gasping for breath, shocked by the cold water.
George was splattering and coughing in the water. He was not a strong swimmer.
‘Help me!’ he cried.
After a minute the water was calm again. She lay in the sun, her clothes damp but drying. Why had he done it? Life insurance money? A young student in his class?
It didn’t matter now, although she would have to call her solicitor and tell him she no longer needed advice on divorce.
Some time later she stood and began walking back along the river bank. She had the rest of the weekend to herself and the hotel did a wonderful full body spa treatment.
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