Before the divorce a month ago, she had been living in an eight-bedroom Georgian house in West Hampstead.
For all intents and purposes, the twenty-five-year marriage had been more than satisfactory. They had always been very much in love and it was only after the birth of their two girls did their intimacy wane. She had been preoccupied with the nursing and then the pre-schooling and then the schooling to pay much attention to it and John never bothered her.
John was from an aristocratic background and money was not a problem. Both daughters had attended prestigious private schools and their adoring father had set them both up in town houses in neighbouring streets when they had finished their studies. Joanne although not averse to hard work, had never been employed. There was always a housekeeper who sometimes ‘lived in’ and sometimes ‘lived out’.
They had met through mutual acquaintances and from the outset had got on like a house on fire. Both retained a large group of friends and they socialized sometimes together or separately depending on the type of event. He still played polo and golf. She still played tennis and rode.
She had suspected lately that he may be having an affair with Cassie the new ‘live in’ housekeeper.
When she went out shopping with the girls or visited her parents they were often left alone together in the house, apart from Stuart their chauffeur. She knew he would never snitch on John; they were too close.
She had noticed that some of her shoes and dresses had been moved in the wardrobe and she couldn’t find one of her fur coats.
She’d also found a pair of red knickers in his bedside cabinet.
Having extra maritals with her husband was one thing but dressing up in her clothes (red knickers aside!) was beyond the pale.
She wasn’t expecting the explanation she got when she finally plucked up enough courage to confront him.
It was John who had been dressing up in her clothes and he who had lost her coat on a night out in town with Stuart, his long-time lover. The knickers were Johns.
Looking back, the signs were there. He’d always dressed very flamboyantly, which she’d liked. His colourful suits and shoes were personally designed and hand made. His wardrobe had always been considerably larger than hers.
Lately, he had insisted on taking their dachshund ‘Precious’ everywhere with them, even to the restaurant. She thought it all just another upper-class idiosyncrasy. She was wrong.
She wasn’t angry, more curious to know how he looked and acted as a woman. She sometimes wished she’d had the courage to look ‘both ways’.