There was a Castleisland prize-winner at this week’s Listowel Writers’ Week. Mary Neligan took a runner-up prize for her short story, The Affair when the various category winners and prize-winners were announced on Wednesday evening at the opening ceremony.
Mary, a member of the St. John of God – Oileán Beo community at An Riocht AC, loves writing as a hobby and this is the first time she has submitted any of her pieces for competition.
Oileán Beo tutors, Seán Hanly and Lisa Cronin accompanied her to Listowel on Wednesday evening for the announcement.
“We are all delighted for Mary. We knew she loves to write as a hobby and we encouraged her to submit one of her short stories to the writers’ week competition. She is over the moon at the success of her first attempt and it has given her the drive to continue and sharpen her skills for next year’s event in Listowel,” said Mr. Hanly.
Here is Mary’s, Listowel Writers’ Week Prize-winning short story:
THE AFFAIR By Mary Neligan
It was a typical Wednesday; Sarah O’Brien was busy working in the bank in her local town of Ballymack.
Sarah was feeling tired as she had a busy morning, getting her husband, Peter’s lunch ready for work and cleaning up after her daughters who were home from college for the week.
She is very proud of her girls. Her eldest girl, Maire is at college in the city, training to be a nurse and her second daughtern Majella is training to be a counsellor.
About three o clock, Sarah decides to leave work as she has a pounding headache. She tells her boss that she will make up the hours another day.
For once the sun was shining and Sarah had to dig deep into her handbag to find her sunglasses. Even though she was glad to have the glasses, the sun only made her headache worse.
When Sarah arrived home she was surprised to see her husband’s work van parked by the front door.
As Sarah walked up to the van she noticed another person sitting inside with her husband. Her heart fell when she saw what was happening. Her husband was kissing her best friend Mary.
Blood rushed to Sarah’s face as she ran to the van and opened the door. She caught a hold of her friend Mary and pulled her out of the van screaming ‘what do you think you are doing,’
At the same time Peter runs around to the two women and tries to pull them apart. As Sarah is screaming at her friend, she hears her husband trying to calm her down.
She has never felt so angry and hurt in all her life. Words like I’m sorry, it shouldn’t have happened were falling on deaf ears. Tears were streaming down Sarah’s face as she demanded that they both leave and not to set foot in her house again.
Sarah felt really hurt as Mary was her best friend and she couldn’t understand how she could forgive her. As for her husband, Mary gave him a choice to take a lie detector test or pack his bags.
So it was arranged for Peter to go on Pat’s Chat Show. On the morning of the show Peter was really nervous, because he still loves his wife and doesn’t want to lose her.
Will she forgive her husband for what he did, he knows he has a lot to do to win back her trust. Maire and Majella are in the audience and his wife is seated beside Pat.
Sweat starts to roll down Peter’s back as he is called out to join his wife. To his surprise out too comes Mary. No one had told Pat she was coming.
He is feeling very shaky taking the lie detector test. It turns out that Pat was lying all along and has been seeing Mary for the last two years.
For the first in time in years, Sarah feels a weight lifted off her. Now she knows that Peter has been having an affair, she can move on with her life.
She puts the house up for sale and moves to a different town.
Who knows, Sarah thought, what life might have in store for you once you make the decision to get on with your life, as she walked through the front door of her new home.
My thanks to Ann McNamee of Paper Hearts Photography, Listowel for the picture: See more of Ann’s work at: http://paperhearts.ie E: firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone: 087 969 1324