Ulterior Motive


“ Where’s sin? I want sin. Where’s sin?”
Maree’s husband was at it again. Wandering around muttering these nonsensical words.
Once again, she grabbed him firmly by the hand and led him back to his chair saying “ It’s Ok Harry, it’s Ok. You have done nothing wrong”
Maree’s husband of 50 years was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s just after his 78 th birthday.
That was six months ago and his downhill slide had increased exponentially in the last couple of weeks. Bad days that were mainly spent pacing the floor and muttering to himself,
now outnumbered good days and for the last week most of those mutterings had involved launching from his chair with uncharacteristic energy and walking round in an agitated state
saying ‘ Where’s sin. I need sin”
It was driving Maree insane.
One night after a particularly difficult day, with Harry snoring beside her in a drug induced sleep, Maree lifted from the bedside table the latest Mills & Boon her daughter had lent her and decided to read it for distraction. On the first page the heroine was identified as Cynthia. By page four the protagonist beau had appeared and insisted on calling her “Cyn”.
Realisation hit Maree. Sin…Cyn… short for Cynthia. That must be it. Do we know a Cynthia?
Maree racked her brain and it came to her… Cynthia Robertson… God it must have been nearly twenty years. What was she to Harry?
Despite the hour, Maree picked up the phone to ring Jim, Harry’s closest mate for many years. He would know.
“ Hello”
“ Hi Jim, it’s Maree here how are you?”
“ Maree, what’s wrong, is Harry Ok?” Jim responded in a worried tone.

“ He’s as well as can be expected. Harry do you remember that woman Cynthia Robertson?”
The slight hesitation before he answered in itself was fraught with meaning to Maree.
“Umm.. Yes …why ?”
“What do you know about her?”
“ She and her husband Fergus moved to Ballarat years ago, Maree. Don’t you remember?
Her son played soccer with our boys and she was on the Soccer Club committee with Harry”
Suddenly, a file stored somewhere in the back of Maree’s brain began to reveal its contents.
Harry, President of the soccer committee. Harry, extra attentive one minute, distant and unresponsive the next. Harry, away more often for conferences and always bringing flowers
when he returned. Harry, staying very late after Committee meetings. Harry ,suddenly trying new things in the bedroom.
It was like the file had spilled all its contents on the floor and there they lay, forming a clear picture of a long hidden truth.
Before she could think, Maree had put the receiver down leaving Jim hanging.
Cynthia and Fergus Robertson. Grabbing her Ipad from beside the bed, Maree googled white pages.
Ballarat. F & C Robertson. There they were. Still together apparently.
Before she could lose her nerve, she dialled the number. The phone rang and rang and she almost caved but then a male voice answered in a slightly agitated tone,
“Is that Fergus Robertson?”
“Yes. Who’s this?
“ Maree Ellwood. Is Cynthia there?
“ Yes but she’s in bed. Who is it again?”
“Maree Ellwood. Our boys used to play soccer together years ago.”

Without giving Fergus a chance to respond she went on “ My husband Harry has recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and he’s failing fast. I need to ask you something?”

“I am sorry to hear that Maree. What did you need to ask?”
“ He spends a lot of time these days wandering around the house muttering “ Where’s sin. I need sin. Where’s sin”. Have you any idea what that might be about?”

But before Fergus could answer she hung up.

At his end of the line Fergus stood looking at the now buzzing receiver in his hand and thought,

“What possible motive could that woman have for ringing and telling me that now…?”

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