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The Husband’s Secret

The Husband’s Secret

Titel: The Husband’s Secret
Autoren: Liane Moriarty
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from his drink and running them across her collarbone, which at the time had seemed incredibly erotic, but now seemed unhygienic and sticky.
    If only she’d been the sort of curious, politically aware girl who struck up conversations with the locals about what it was like living in the shadow of the Wall. Instead, all she had to share with her daughter were stories about kissing and ice cubes. Of course, Isabel and Polly would love to hear about the kissing and ice cubes. Or Polly would, maybe Isabel had reached the age where the thought of her mother kissing anybody would be appalling.
    Cecilia put Find piece of Berlin Wall for E on her list of things to do that day (there were twenty-five items – she used an iPhone app to list them), and at about two pm, she went into the attic to find it.
    Attic was probably too generous a word for the storage area in their roof space. You reached it by pulling down a ladder from a trapdoor in the ceiling.
    Once she was up there, she had to keep her knees bent so as not to bang her head. John-Paul point-blank refused to go up there. He suffered from severe claustrophobia and walked six flights of stairs every day to his office so he could avoid taking the lift. The poor man had regular nightmares about being trapped in a room where the walls were contracting. ‘The walls!’ he’d shout, just before he woke up, sweaty and wild-eyed. ‘Do you think you were locked in a cupboard as a child?’ Cecilia had asked him once (she wouldn’t have put it past his mother), but he’d said he was pretty sure he hadn’t. ‘Actually, John-Paul never had nightmares when he was a little boy,’ his mother had told Cecilia when she’d asked. ‘He was a beautiful sleeper. Perhaps you give him too much rich food late at night?’ Cecilia had got used to the nightmares now.
    The attic was small and crammed, but tidy and well organised, of course. Over recent years, ‘organised’ seemed to have become her most defining characteristic. It was like she was a minor celebrity with this one claim to fame. It was funny how once it became a thing her family and friends commented on and teased her about, then it seemed to perpetuate itself, so that her life was now extraordinarily well organised, as if motherhood was a sport and she was a top athlete. It was like she was thinking, How far can I go with this? How much more can I fit in my life without losing control?
    And that was why other people, like her sister Bridget, had rooms full of dusty junk, whereas Cecilia’s attic was stacked with clearly labelled white plastic storage containers. The only part that didn’t look quite ‘Cecilia-ish’ was the tower of shoeboxes in the corner. They were John-Paul’s. He liked to keep each financial year’s receipts in a different shoebox. It was something he’d been doing for years, before he met Cecilia. He was proud of his shoeboxes, so she managed to restrain herself from telling him that a filing cabinet would be a far more effective use of space.
    Thanks to her labelled storage containers, she found her piece of the Berlin Wall almost straightaway. She peeled off the lid of the container marked Cecilia: Travel/Souvenirs. 1985–1990 and there it was in its faded brown paper bag. Her little piece of history. She took out the piece of rock (cement?) and held it in her palm. It was even smaller than she remembered. It didn’t look especially impressive, but hopefully it would be enough for the reward of one of Esther’s rare, lopsided little smiles. You had to work hard for a smile from Esther.
    Then Cecilia let herself get distracted (yes, she achieved a lot every day but she wasn’t a machine, she did sometimes fritter away a little time) looking through the box, and laughing at the photo of herself with the German boy who did the ice-cube thing. He, like her piece of the Berlin Wall, wasn’tquite as impressive as she remembered. Then the house phone rang, startling her out of the past, and she stood up too fast and banged the side of her head painfully against the ceiling. The walls, the walls! She swore, reeled back and her elbow knocked against John-Paul’s tower of shoeboxes.
    At least three lost their lids and their contents, causing a mini-landslide of paperwork. This was precisely why the shoeboxes were not such a good idea.
    Cecilia swore again, and rubbed her head, which really did hurt. She looked at the shoeboxes and saw that they were all for financial years dating back to
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