For part one, click here
For part two, click here
She hadn’t meant to say it. Time was ticking away. Weeks were passing, months, then a year. Time ticking down to their return to England. It wasn’t long. Surely she could cope, just a little bit longer? But he had asked her. And she couldn’t lie.
“You don’t like it here, do you?” Duncan asked her one evening as the sun was setting.
She hadn’t replied straightaway. She had fiddled with an imaginary speck on her skirt, fumbling and flicking at it.
“You can tell me,” he said.
And then it all came tumbling out. How she couldn’t get a job there, how Abigail hadn’t made friends at school and how the heat was affecting Gemma’s eczema. She couldn’t stop. The mosquito bites, the food and most important of all, no matter what she did, their house didn’t feel like home.
She had meant that to be the end of it. And yet, still she went on.
“I can’t stand it. I want to go home. To England.”
She had felt embarrassed then, but relieved too. It was out. She had said it.
“Are you all right, dear?” Mrs Minchin said, interrupting her thoughts, “is something wrong with Duncan?”
“No, he’s fine, thank you, just fine,” she said, forcing her reminiscences away, “you were about to tell me about the house…”
“That’s right. Well, it’s Phillip. You see it isn’t really his fault,” Mrs Minchin said, handing Sarah a cup of tea.
The image of Mrs Minchin’s strapping six-foot-four son filled Sarah’s mind. He had promised he would look after the exterior of the house while they were away. He was such a conscientious lad. Sarah wondered what had gone wrong.
Part four next week