Friendship Funny Drama

“Mildred, we need to talk.”

This was a real surprise. Usually, we would have our tea and scones at a local café – D’Angelo’s; please try their quiche and sauces if you have a chance – and there would be a lot of talk about our families, children, the problem of housekeeping and housekeepers, and what the weather was like as we stared out across the neighbourhood. That day, the weather was quite beautiful, and we found the perfect spot on that beautifully tiled patio with a table that did not wobble, chairs that still had the padding on – perfect for my back – and Herbert as our waiter (such a beautiful young man).

“We need to talk.”

Mildred, oh Mildred… What strange fantasies we weave when we have time on our hands.

“Yes, please. We always need to talk on Wednesdays. No husbands or kids around for just a little while as we gals gossip.” I was smiling at least. Herbert was smiling as he brought over a menu for lunch – he knew what we would have, but it was such a nice gesture – and stood aside as she spoke.

“George is having an affair.”

We were alone on the patio. That made a huge difference.

“Mildred…whatever you say next, please…”

“George is having an affair, and I know who he’s been with.”

Rather absurd to see it all laid out in front of me, but she was prepared with her phone and that thumb sliding through all those messages and photos. I really do not remember when Herbert brought over the chamomile tea and scones with butter (always tempting, especially now). And it was still a beautiful day. Our neighbourhood had only one main road passing by our special spot, with one bus route heading downtown on the one way street. There were parks, the community centre and a library right across the street on the other side of the boutiques and bistros we shopped in on lazy weekend afternoons. There was the market that had the best fruit and vegetables (Samson’s; the name still makes me laugh); the hair salon that never let us down, except once (should Samson be working there? Another laugh; Betty would never allow it); the bakeries and other restaurants I knew so well. And here was Mildred, throwing something else into the mix.


I really was not listening to her. The tea was getting cold in my hands and I could only stare at the blue dish with our scones on it.


“I can hear you, my dear. I can see it all. But there is something really wrong with all of this. You are so confused.”

Mildred is my oldest friend, someone that I have known since high school…no, wait, elementary, although we went to different schools in the neighbourhood. She became a friend later, but a good one. Our families vacationed together; our kids were now in the same school we attended; our husbands were close (different jobs, of course). It was all so right for us.

“Confused?” Mildred looked so lost in that moment.

“Yes, my dear. Confused. You have a few photos and some…texts? Are those what they are? Silly. And you think that this is all proof of an affair? Please…”

The local bus passed by one of the stops without picking up a single soul. Not unusual on a Wednesday afternoon, but it was something we both noticed.

It was a quiet moment that needed some comment.

“There could be a million and one reasons why such things happen.” I took the phone from her, not letting that screen disappear before my thumb passed over it (I wish I had not touched the butter for the scones; so delicious). “A woman decides to flirt with a man and you think that the man is naturally guilty. Maybe the reason why she is undressed here…and here…and here…is that she decided to be a nasty little exhibitionist. I would not put it past her at all.” There was one photo of the woman behind George; he was not smiling and clearly had no idea what was happening behind him (of course). “And have you forgotten that my husband is a doctor, Mildred? My dear, he sees plenty of bodies and women every day. A dermatologist who does not want to see bare skin would surely be a waste of time to a patient, wouldn’t you agree?”

Now, that was unfair. Mildred’s eczema had not flared up in ages, but she knew what I was pointing a finger at (all that butter wasted without a bite).

“Laura, you must be…”

“Must be what? Joking? I cannot see what this is all really about? Mildred, we have been coming to this same spot all these years without a single real drama in our lives. Our husbands work; our kids go to school; Herbert and the wonderful staff here prepare our lunches and dinners and we have had no complaints for them or any of the other shops and boutiques nearby.” I did not mention that time with the broken dryer at Betty’s place and how the perm Mildred wanted became less than permanent (she knew). “You know why this is something you need to talk about on a beautiful afternoon.”

She had her phone back, unconsciously wiping it down with a napkin as she stared at me.

“There’s no reason for me to bring this up.”

“Yes, my dear, there is. I suspect Stephen is not all smiles and success in the courtroom all the time, is he?”

That was truly unfair, but I felt angry. Mildred had no right to bring up such matters on our one day in the week when we could just rest and try to enjoy each other’s company.

“That is completely unfair, Laura! That was one time and he was reprimanded by…”

“Yes, yes. We all know the story. She was an intern; they were alone; she was naïve; he was a man. Do you understand why I am not taking you seriously now?” I looked over at the teapot, the plate with the scones and off toward the park. “No point finishing this afternoon now, is there?”

Mildred did leave first, the poor dear. I could not blame her, although she had promised to pay the bill this week. Herbert, dear Herbert, understood and did not charge us for the scones (why would he if they were untouched?). I waited before I stood up, picked up my hand bag and stepped out to cross the road to the park.

One interesting thing I noticed there: the dog park was full. There were some of the usual walkers and maids and dog-sitters – a strange term – with their charges, but I noticed that there were a few unfamiliar faces, at least among the people (cannot really say much about the dogs). There was plenty of space for every one of those mutts to roam around and bark and growl at each other, but they seemed to be focused on one quite beautiful golden retriever.

Now, my dears, I am no expert on dogs. We had a neighbour with a poodle and another with a Pomeranian that never gave our front lawns the respect they deserved. I was never going to allow one into our home (Gertrude would not have stood for it; poor tabby had enough problems). But this was something that I had to pause and observe.

The other dogs were all in thrall to that wonderful animal, all golden hair that seemed to be trimmed – please, I hope Betty’s was not involved – and set for a walk…or perhaps something more provocative, like a parade or show. There were bulldogs, pugs, pit bulls – not as dangerous as one imagines – wiener dogs and the like all scuttling about and barking and pawing at the earth, but this one dog seemed to be in command.

The other thing I noticed was the behaviour of the other owners. Not one of them

seemed to take charge of the moment. And as I recall it now, I could not imagine any one of them reigning in that beautiful golden lab. The other dogs, off of their leads, were all free to demonstrate their love for it, but that one dog just sat there and took it, as if it deserved the adulation. It seemed to expect it.

I was lucky to have found a bench as I observed all of this. I wondered if Mildred had made it home by then, but I was not too worried about her. Our little talk would be absorbed, put away, and maybe brought up on another sunny day.

Did she really think I did not know?

How did she imagine George managed to work around all those women in his office if he did not occasionally submit to temptation?

Oh, don’t judge me. Judge yourselves. All relationships have their gives and takes; love is a real responsibility.

At least I had one of those scones with me, wrapped up very carefully and secretly by my Herbert. Oh, dear Herbert…

Did Mildred know about us? Did she think I had nothing “on the side”, as it were?

Dear, oh dear…

I took a bite and smiled at the thought. It was going to be a beautiful week.

September 30, 2022 21:05

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Dao Huy Kien
10:39 Oct 08, 2022

A really good response to the prompt. Enjoyed the twist ending as well as your subtle writing style. Clever work!


Kendall Defoe
14:41 Oct 08, 2022

Thank you!


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Delbert Griffith
19:12 Oct 06, 2022

Wow! This is good stuff, Kendall. Could I but write half as well. Amazing job, given the word limitations here.


Kendall Defoe
15:54 Oct 07, 2022

We are all doing our best (I know that I've gotten better). Keep writing!


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AnneMarie Miles
04:19 Oct 06, 2022

Oh how I enjoyed the twist in this! Here, I thought poor old Mildred was simply in denial, and annoyed with her friend, but Laura didn't know as much as she thought apparently! I found the ending at the dog park an interesting and poetic addition, made only more enjoyable by the Herbert reveal. Lovely. Thanks for an enjoyable read!


Kendall Defoe
10:21 Oct 06, 2022

Thank you for your enjoyable comments!


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Michał Przywara
23:22 Oct 03, 2022

Great! I was looking forward to seeing how people would handle this prompt. This is a fun, very believable take. Laura and her husband simply have a different view of what acceptable infidelity is than most - perhaps different from Mildred. I got the impression she was sincere, so perhaps she is more naïve, or perhaps more of a romantic. Either way, the twist with Herbert, which we're eased into, works nicely with this.


Kendall Defoe
00:07 Oct 04, 2022

Thanks. I have two stories for this week I think might work... 🤔


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Tommy Goround
02:18 Oct 03, 2022

Chekov? I am reminded of Lady and the Dog. (Though I named a kid Mildred recently -- my preference is for 'Mildraith.' Good ol Howard is offering full service. This is like lemon sugar...all the tart possibilities taste so sweet. Encore With Ovation.


Kendall Defoe
10:09 Oct 03, 2022

Thanks, but remember, it's Herbert, not Howard. And I was not thinking of Chekhov at the time, but I do love that story. Thank you with a bow. ;)


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