A Toast

champagne bottle illustration

Glass after glass was filled haphazardly with champagne and passed around the eager party. Everyone had scrubbed up well for the occasion; new dresses had been purchased and best suits dug out of the back of the wardrobe and dusted off. Only the very best would do for Mr and Mrs Acton’s golden wedding anniversary.

A microphone squeaked into life and cheers went up as the room prepared for the speech. Soon enough all eyes were on Mr Acton, who swayed gently from side to side. He held his sixth glass of champagne in his hand.

He cleared his throat. “Ladies and gentlemen. Friends. Family. People. Good people. I’ll keep this short. I’d like to propose a toast to the most beautiful woman in this room. To the sweetest, kindest, and most generous person I’ve ever had the good fortune of meeting. To my wonderful wife of 50 years – to Gillian!”

“To Gillian!” came the call from the crowd, and they all cheered as sweet, kind, and generous Gillian approached her husband and took the mic.

“Thank you, my dear,” she said with a gentle smile. “And I’d like to make a toast of my own. To the most handsome man in this room.”

The crowd felt their hearts swell and Mr Acton blushed. He took a sip of champagne.

“To my wonderful partner of six months,” Mrs Acton continued. “To Sonny!”

She pointed to a man who stood at the edge of the room. A tall, muscular man who appeared several decades younger than Mrs Acton.

Mr Acton choked on the froth of his champagne.

“I’m sorry, Arthur. Sonny and I met at the supermarket. He makes me feel young.”

Sonny shrugged his rugged shoulders at Mr Acton from across the room and suddenly Mr Acton became very aware of his aching knees and his dodgy hip.

“50 years married is a very long time, and I think we’ve achieved great things in the last five decades. But I’m ready for a change. And I’m sure you must feel the same, Arthur, at times?”

Mr Ackton’s eyes glistened as he watched his wife.

“Now, will everyone join me in raising a glass,” Mrs Acton said, champagne flute held to the ceiling, “to divorce!”

She took a hefty swig of champagne and ignored the silence that emanated from the amazed crowd. Then, looking like the cat that got the cream, she pushed her way through the crowd and led Sonny out of the building and away to their new life.

The crowd remained dumbstruck, gazing pitifully at poor, old Mr Acton.

Well, Mr Acton thought, I suppose I’ll rake in the sympathy for a few months and then I’ll be able to go public with my own toy boy. It was a nightmare, all that sneaking around.

He resisted a smile and sipped on his champagne.

Yep. I’ve really landed on my feet, here.

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