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One, two, buckle my shoe 

Jackie couldn’t believe John was having an affair but all the signs were there.

Jackie was getting seriously, seriously worried.

She had been married to John for 30 years and they had always been content, happy and most importantly of all, honest with one another.

They had arrived in Tenerife a year before and settled happily in Puerto de la Cruz. At least, she thought they were happy. They had a lovely apartment which had a huge balcony front and back, overlooking the ocean from one side and majestic Mount Teide on the other. They had established a good group of friends, enjoyed meeting up with them for a drink or two at various pavement cafes to watch the world go by and strolling along the promenade. They loved taking part in the traditions, such as the Carnival each year and had made a point of trying out all the Canary food and wine and of course, to learn to speak Spanish.

It hadn’t been a difficut decision to leave England. They both hated the cold weather, the wind and the rain and had no children to worry about, just their little dog Poochie who had come over with them.

It was, Jackie thought, the ideal way to retire early whilst they still had their health and each other. But that was the point troubling her. Did they still have each other? She really wasn’t sure.

For the last three months or so, John had been acting very very strangely. She suspected it had started to happen on his 50th birthday when he had told everyone at his celebration party: “Right, life starts at 50, not ends and that’s exactly what I intend to do!”

Suddenly, he had started to look after himself more. He had taken up jogging which to Jackie was absolutely unbelievable. John had neve been sporty. Granted he had developed a bit of a tummy over the years but he wasn’t fat or out of condition. Now he was trimmer than ever before and could run up to five kiometres without getting out of puff.

This she didn’t mind. It was the other strange things he did which kept her awake at night wondering whether she should tell him what was on her mind. But if she did, it could spoil their new life and it would all be over.

Jackie just couldn’t believe that John would have an affair but the signs were all there. He was growing his hair a bit longer so that it now curled into his neck and he had taken to having regular facials. One day, he even came back from the barber with his eyebrows plucked!

There were other things too.  John never had a roving eye but now he would sit with her at one of the pavement cafes and literally oggle the girls who walked by. It seemed the shorter the skirt they wore, the better. He would see a gorgeous lady coming from the left and not take her eyes off her until she was out of view. Once, his mouth had dropped open and he had tried cover it up by asking: “How on earth does she walk on shoes like that?!”

Jackie’s suspicions were virtually confirmed on the day she reached into his jacket pocket to find the car keys and pulled out a red lipstick. Her heart had missed a beat and tears had sprung into her eyes but she just could not bring herself to question him about it. She knew she was being an ostrich, putting her head in the sand, but she just didn’t dare ask for fear of the answer. She loved their life in Tenerife but could she share him with someone else?

John seemed to suspect something was wrong and tried his hardest to be loving to her but he still kept disappearing on the pretence of going for a jog or a run.

Then, late one Saturday evening, she could stand it no longer. On Saturdays, they usually went out for a drink or a curry but John insisted that he had to go round to Pete’s house because he needed help to fill in a Spanish form which he didn’t understand. Jackie didn’t think John’s Spanish was that good either which heightened her distress and her suspicions.

She knew it was sneaky but if he really was cheating, then what could he say if he found out she had followed him? Perhaps she would find out once and for all who this mystery woman was.

John didn’t even realise she was behind him as he walked towards Pete’s little Spanish casa and knocked on the front door. For just a few moments, Jackie was able to breath a sigh of relief and concede that she had been wrong but then it happened. Suddenly, from around the corner came a lovely looking woman wearing a short skirt, dark tights and a clip-clopping pair of thigh high boots. From where she was standing, Jackie couldn’t recognise the woman as she had her head down and was wearing dark glasses but she had the brightest of red hair and a huge pair of ear-rings.

“Oh my goodness,” thought Jackie. “Has he resorted to using ladies of the night?”

With that idea firmly planted in her mind, all hopes of retaining a happy life in Tenerife instantly evaporated. Rather than being hurt, she was absolutely steamingly furious! How dare he risk 30 years of their marriage for an evening of illicit pleasure. How dare he pretend he wanted to get fit or to live life full after the age of 50. He was doing that alright, that was for sure.

Without a moment of hesitation, Jackie marched up to the front door and didn’t even stop to ring the bell. She could hear the sound of laughter coming from the patio and marched her way down the corridor brandishing her handbag though she wasn’t sure whom she would hit first – John or the red-haired woman!

“You absolute cheat,” Jackie shouted before rubbing her eyes in total disbelief. For there was John, dressed in a long evening gown with a silver pair of stilettos! Opposite him was Pete, wearing a short skirt and bright pink top, with shoes to match. And in the middle of them was the red-haired woman, though she wasn’t what she appeared. “She” had taken her wig off to reveal a bald head underneath and she recognised it was a “him” instead, their mutual friend Tony.

“What on earth?” Jackie proclaimed as three pairs of guilty eyes turned towards her before each crinkled into good humour and laugher rippled out across the little garden.

“Oh Jackie,” said John, standing up and trying to walk the few metres without wobbling off his heels. “You´ve caught us out!”

Ten minutes later, with the giggles having subsided and Jackie having finished shaking her head in disbelief, she understood everything.

Last year, John told her, he had watched the Puerto de la Cruz Carnival and had been fascinated by an event called the “Mascarita Ponte Tacón” or the men’s marathon race. This old tradition involved men dressing up as women and taking part in a race whilst wearing high heels. He thought it would be such a fun thing to do rather than being a boring 50 year old and had intended to surprise her on February 15th whilst inviting her along to watch and then revealing he was actually a competitor, hence the need to get fit.

Jackie couldn’t control her laughter or her happiness. Was she mad about the deception? Not at all, she was delighted but she probably would never tell him the reason why. How she loved her life in Tenerife!