Alan tucked his silver estate car into a space behind the bottle bank. From here, he could watch most of the car park and see when Janey arrived. He always got a tingle when her blue Smart car turned into the car park and headed for the rear section where he was waiting. The anticipation was almost the best bit.
The car park of SupaValu had been her idea, somewhere out of the way that nobody who knew them was likely to be. If they had time they would go on to somewhere more private, a couple of times even back to her place, but mostly they stayed fumbling about with each other in his car. He always parked looking on to the car park but Janey drove in nose-first. He didn’t like the idea of someone sneaking up behind them and catching them at it. That they would still be ‘caught at it’ from the front, he put to the back of his mind, at least whilst he anticipated and fumbled.
She was late today and had been a few times the last few weeks. She waited until the family had all set out for the day and if her kids were running late for college, she was late setting off too. Alan’s kids were too small to go to school on their own, so his wife dropped them off. When he planned a meeting with Janey he sometimes volunteered to take them to school, the gratitude on his wife’s face giving him pangs of guilt in his chest. Sammy had bounced on the seat shouting “Love you Daddy” until Alan had carried him out of the car, and in a short while Alan would slide Janey onto the seat and do things with her that he should only do with Sammy’s mother.
As he was watching for the little Smart car, a red car raced into the car park, much faster than most shoppers would normally do. It looked like it was driven by some young hothead with an attitude problem and probably a matching death wish. Alan was swearing under his breath as the car rammed right into the back of another car reversing from a space. That driver might not have looked properly but then just seconds before the way had been clear. But of course the red car driver was out of his car and checking the damage, obviously intent on having a stand-up row with the other driver.
Alan noticed the second car then. It was the same as his wife’s runabout, a blue one that she said matched his eyes. It had been their first car together when they were married and she insisted on keeping it for sentimental reasons. It cost more to keep on the road than if they’d upgraded for something newer, but they had driven to the maternity hospital to have Sammy in that car, taken a family holiday to Cornwall in it and Alan had used it for work until his boss gave him a promotion and a company car. That car represented their life together, not just a way for her to get the boys to school when he was off chasing sales.
Alan knew right then that he wouldn’t be seeing Janey again, that he never should have started this pathetic affair that wasn’t even a proper affair. Why was he skulking round a supermarket car park waiting for a woman whose idea of a good place to meet was behind a bottle bank, when he had a beautiful wife and fabulous kids at home. Alan started the engine and drove towards the exit. Janey still hadn’t arrived in her Smart car by the time he had left in his stupid one.