From a prompt from my Writers' Group prompt: 'Fool'
"I've been such a fool, Sue . . . going on a trip to Maui with Tom . . . " Fran laughed a little sheepishly, one hand pleating the fabric of her skirt. " . . . and you know Tom. Always goes overboard; wants to treat me when we're away. Says he wants to make up for our poor student days when we were first married."
I made a sympathetic sound, remembering those days myself. As Fran paused, I looked around our modest home, consoling myself that at least it was now paid off. We'd made do with potluck suppers and camping trips to the National Parks. My Jack trying to start charcoal briquets on a second hand grill with lighter fluid. There had been lots of fun times just the same. I felt my attention to Fran wavering as something was twigging my memory.
Fran seemed to sense this and her voice became little louder, her expression a bit more agitated. "And now, Sue," she continued, emphasizing my name ever so slightly, " we come home to this massive tax bill." She shook her head. "That's Tom for you; never had a head for figures." She gave another nervous laugh.
That turn of phrase about Tom not having a head for figures finally made it click. I'd heard that from Fran before. My invigorated memory travelled down mental pathways and paused before the file folder labelled Fran's Divorce. That was it! Fran had described herself the same way some twenty years earlier when she was trying to extricate herself from a marriage that had ended with a six figure debt between the parties. I'd lent her $10,000 for the divorce lawyer but, now that I thought about things, it seemed to me that the amount hadn't all been paid back, maybe not even half of it. Jack and I could have used that money more than a few times, raising our brood.
What was that old saying? Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.
I gave Fran another sympathetic smile. "Well, it's a good thing you have those Maui memories, Sue. Sounds like you'll have to go back to work for a while, anyway. Never mind, weren't you saying just last month that you were feeling a little bored?" I looked at my watch. "Look at the time; I have to run along. You can see yourself out, right?"