My ex-husband used to keep money under the bed. He would shove bundles of notes under the mattress at the end of each working day, and occasionally even pay some of it into the bank. He earned a lot of cash. It was the nature of his business. The Inland Revenue never got the full story of course, it would have cost them a fortune to follow him around day after day as he visited wealthy ladies with money, and time, on their hands. Every morning he would be up and gone at daybreak – no mobile phones back then, so I would never hear a word from him until he came home in the evening, pockets full of cash and starving hungry. Where had he been? Who had he seen? I never knew.
Was he a gigolo? I think you could say there were perks (for him) that came with the job, but by profession he was a farrier – a blacksmith who nailed iron shoes onto horses. Perhaps that was the appeal for the ladies with the loot. Lonely Lady Whoever would seldom turn down an hour in the company of something so dark and dangerous. There was always a kind of earthy sexuality to him. Like a fox, he was always on the look out and rarely missed a chance. The women adored him. They would fall at his feet.
It’s very odd being married to someone other women fancy so openly. In the end it makes you feel almost invisible. One lady, whose red finger nails seemed to know the line of his back just a little too well, even came to babysit. Now that took some nerve. I didn’t know it at the time, for I was naive and probably downright stupid, but she and he had been at it for years. Later I felt quite sorry for her, because she, like all the others, fell out of favour in the end. To cap it all he stopped shoeing her horses as well.
Of course someone like this doesn’t actually care for anyone. How can they? If you move from one person to another, without forming any personal attachment, you cannot possibly feel love or compassion for your fellow human beings. If you did, you wouldn’t want to use them in such a callous way, or ever inflict more hurt. To carry on behaving in this way year after year would surely be impossible for someone who had an ounce of kindness. Not for him. He never looked back. He had the unique ability of being able to erase unwanted people and thoughts from his mind. They simply no longer existed. He had no apparent guilt. At age 14 he got a girl pregnant, and when confronted by the distraught father, merely shrugged and said ‘It’s not my problem mate – I’m going to football!’ Years later, when he told this story, he would chuckle. It was one of his favourites.
So what happened to jack-the-lad? He with the dark and swarthy looks and muscles to match… What happened to the man with the eyes of a snake and the habits of a libertine? What happened to the grand seducer who never had to try too hard?
Well… For one thing he got old! (Pause for smirk…)
Like for all of us, time ticks away and takes away our youth and our vitality.
Not so much cash under the bed these days I’ll be bound.