Mrs. Olsen At The Opera

“Would you look at her dress?”

“Don’t be such a nose, Margaret Olsen.”

Margaret took the binoculars from her eyes and scoffed at Henry. She then promptly went back to scanning the room.

“How would you like it if people were spying through their glass to judge you?”

“It wouldn’t matter. Those people wouldn’t be doing so through mother-of-pearl, Henry.”

Margaret was never late to the opera. She was often there before the ushers would let her in. There was nothing fashionable about being late. Being late was for people who had to work on weekends. Margaret never worked a weekend in her life. She was dressed and ready for the night immediately after her lunchtime tea. Earl Grey. With jasmine. Piping hot.

The theater was beginning to fill. Margaret kept like an eagle at everyone coming in. She was making a note of who mingled with who. And then she saw Mister Goff. He was holding hands with a young dirty blonde, tall and skinny, who looked half his age. Margaret’s mouth gaped.


“Who is that? With Mr. Goff?  Is that his daughter?”

Henry looked up from his playbill.

“No, dear. That’s Annabelle, his new girlfriend.”

“Annabelle? You mean his mistress.”

Margaret stayed fixated on the young blonde clutching the Doctor’s arm. She watched as she smiled and shook hands

“ Is that what we’re doing now?”

“What’s that, dear?”

“ Are we accepting to be so gaudy that we bring whore’s to the opera?”

“That’s his girlfriend, dear.”

“I can only imagine how Claire feels.”

“They’re getting divorced, dear. I thought you knew.”

“Oh, hush. Nobody believes that. I just saw Claire last week. She didn’t mention anything of marital troubles.”

“She wouldn’t. Not with the settlement he paid.”

“I refuse to believe that!”

The balcony was the perfect perch to snoop. Henry had Jackson Room seats for nearly three years, and in all that time, she hadn’t missed a show. She had also hadn’t missed a chance to gather gossip for the girls on Thursday evening. Tonight was going to be a gold mine. Margaret felt it in the air.

“Just wait until the girls hear about the good doctor,” she exclaimed under hushed breath. She continued to scan the room.

Henry went back to reading the playbill, trying to ignore his wife’s vulgar abuse of the balcony. She didn’t seem to care. He was always such a bore.

“Can you believe they got the great great grandson of Evan Gorga to reprise the role of Rodolfo? What a triumph!”

“What a bore,” said Margaret.

“Excuse me,” asked Henry?

“Nothing, dear. Go back to reading.”

Mister Goff ushered Annabelle past him so that she may sit first. He then shook hands with a man behind him, before sitting as well. He left an empty seat between himself and Annabelle. That was for the optics of the crowd, thought Margaret. He must’ve bought that seat to keep it empty.

“Are you sure that’s not a new intern,” asked Margaret.

“Oh, it’s his intern, dear. But it’s also his new girlfriend.”

“How can you be so sure.”

“The locker room at the health club. Very little is held back.”

“Men are such pigs.”

“That we are, dear.”


Margaret thought it was grotesque and quite bold. Suddenly, the rest of the room seemed unimportant. She was sure to mention something next Thursday. Perhaps in passing, as if she didn’t think it was a deal. But it most certainly was sick.

There were only a few minutes until curtain rise. The room had just about filled, save the empty seat between Mister Goff and Annabelle. But it wouldn’t, for long. Through the binocular lens, Margaret was stunned. Down the aisle came Claire, confidently. She was wearing a new dress, red with a low neck and bottom just above her knee. It was the dress of a twenty-year-old. And yet still, Margaret couldn’t help but notice how perfectly it fit. What was she doing here? Where was she sitting? She couldn’t know that Mister Goff was here. Did she come alone? Who was she meeting?

Claire made her way to the aisle where Mister Goff and Annabelle sat. She slid in, past the first couple of seats, and took her place between the two. Clair leaned over and kissed Mister Goff. And then without hesitation, she turned to Annabelle. Margaret was dying with anticipation. What would she do?

She kissed her. She kissed Annabelle the same way she kissed her husband. She then settled in her seat, smug smile, as if she knew Margaret was looking. Margaret dropped her binoculars. They made a thud as they hit the floor. Nobody noticed. The stage curtain lifted.


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