A Sense Of Belonging – Episode 03

In town, Susanne leaned across the counter of the Toucan Caf and confessed to her friend, Kym Brown, who was cleaning the coffee machine, “I’m not sure I’ll ever meet Mr Right.”

“Oh, now, come on.” Kym frowned. “Just because one blind date didn’t go so well.”

“Didn’t go so well?” Susanne repeated. “He was a football-obsessed male-chauvinist who believed a woman’s place was in the kitchen!”

“So he was a traditionalist. Some blokes still are, you know.”

It was Susanne’s eyebrows that drew together now.

“In this day and age?”

“Funnily enough, yes. I mean, if we didn’t need the money, Lee would be happy for me to stay and look after the house and kids. I’m not talking about me wearing an apron and lighting his pipe when he gets home from work, just life as a stay-at-home mum. There’s nothing inferior about being a housewife.”

There was a pause while Kym refilled the coffee-bean grinder.

“I know you feel like you’ve been down that road with Mark, and it didn’t work, so you don’t want to make the same mistake twice. That’s understandable.

“Anyway, you’ve got your job at Travel World and you’re enjoying some financial independence for the first time in your life, so why would you want to give that up?”

“It’s not that I don’t want to be a housewife again, just that . . .” Susanne paused. “Well, I felt so stupid for having allowed Mark to call the shots all the time. He was the breadwinner and the decision-maker. He decided where we went on holiday and what we did when we got there. In the end I didn’t have a say in anything. It was like my opinion didn’t count. He even told Jess he was leaving before he told me.”

“I don’t think that was to do with you being a housewife.”

The two women looked at each other. Susanne realised that Kym, whom she’d known since their school days, was too kind to say what she really thought: that Mark had always been a Casanova; charming, yes, but trustworthy? No.

Susanne had been determined to make her relationship with Mark work, and even though alarm bells had rung, she’d ignored them, choosing to throw herself into the role of the “good wife”.

“You might meet someone tonight,” Kym said.

“At the ceilidh?”

“Why not? It’s a sell-out.”

Susanne nodded thoughtfully.

“True, but what’s the chance of me meeting a handsome stranger who just happens to be single at the Anzac Hall?”

“He doesn’t have to be a stranger, does he? What about Kate Patterson’s son, Walker? Didn’t you hang about with him years ago?”

“Kind of,” Susanne replied. She took a bite of her sandwich and tried to look nonchalant. But in truth, she had been thinking about Walker ever since she’d heard he’d returned to Mooraburra. In the Seventies she and the Patterson boys, Walker and Sam, had been practically inseparable because their parents were good friends.

Susanne, being an only child growing up on a pineapple farm, had been a tomboy. She, Walker and Sam had spent endless summer days on each other’s farms. Halcyon days though it felt like the dim and distant past.

“Walker was a proper heart-throb, wasn’t he?” Kym went on. “Course, he was a couple of years older than us, so he never looked in my direction. What was it he went off to Sydney to do?”

“Journalism,” Susanne answered. “He was a correspondent for some big newspaper.”

Funny the way things work out, she thought. Walker had been the one interested in farming, so everyone had assumed he’d take over the running of Mooraburra one day. Instead, it was Sam who married a local girl, built a homestead next to his parents’, and took over the plantation with his wife, Karen. They had a son, Ben, and a daughter, Denny, and in a pleasant twist of fate, it was Denny who’d offered the hand of friendship to Jess when she’d first arrived at White Rock.

“You might bump into Walker tonight,” Kym said.

“Maybe,” Susanne replied. “It doesn’t matter anyway, because he’s not staying for long. Apparently he’s moving abroad.”

Kym appeared deflated.

“Who told you that?”

“Jess. She spends a lot of time at Mooraburra.”

“Hmm.” Kym, deep in thought, moved to the other end of the counter and fiddled with some napkins. “Don’t worry. Mr Right will turn up eventually.”

“Oh, I’m not worried,” Susanne said brightly. “I’ve got a bonzer life as it is. I’ve got Jess and Mum and Dad and . . . you!”

They both laughed.

Then Kym’s face darkened.

“Did you see in today’s ‘White Rock Post’ that the Civic Council has given the go ahead for the Anzac Hall to be demolished next year?”

“Strewth! To make way for an apartment block?”

“No. A hypermarket.”

“Oh, that’s even worse ”


Used to make posts more anonymous, eg a criminal case where you don’t want to expose the actual journalist.