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Down came the rain Down came the rain
by Abigail George
2017-06-18 10:11:06
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‘Hold me tight. Love me right, tonight.’

Of course, Kathleen wanted to marry (climb that mountain). Find her soulmate (in green pastures and in those low valleys that other girls had found their husbands in). She wanted to be a mother, but, as the years went by, in time, she began to look after her elderly parents, count lovers as coming and going never staying to put down long-term roots in her twenties, then her thirties, then her early forties. She had never been beautiful, a real beauty in a sense.

rain01_400_01Her features were attractive. In her twenties, she had been a good time girl. Going out with men when it pleased her. Meeting up with them in bars and clubs. She would dance away from them. The men would move towards her and then take her in their arms. They would hold her stiffly, away from them and then would pull her in close. She would swim in close with her dance moves and they would reach out for her.

She would go all limp in their arms after that and so, they would make their way across the dancefloor. She would melt in their arms. They would hold her body in the neon lights of the dancefloor stiffly. Kathleen liked to think of herself as being the one in control (not the man). That she was the one that was making all the decisions up until the sexual transaction. Ending up in hotel rooms.

Leaving before the man woke up. Strange enough, when she had stayed in the mornings, watching him sleep (mostly in her twenties, Kathleen came to think of it) sometimes he would always be there, in the room, put something in her hand.  She had thought nothing of it. Thought that it was just the way of the world. There had been no one else to tell her otherwise.

No word from a mother. Nothing from a girlfriend.

She didn’t, never had really moved in those circles. She didn’t have friends. Had no brothers or sisters. She had been an only child. Lonely, yes, of course, her upbringing had been lonely. She didn’t like to think of her childhood as harsh. She didn’t want to be bitter or regret anything but she was coming to a stage in her life when she was full of bitterness and regret. She resented the happiness that other women had. Boys astonished her.

They had never been this way towards her when she was closer to their age. Their innocence and tenderness. Their confidence and swagger. In their eyes, she was a vision of emotional security, yes, even a maternal kind of figure. I think you’re really sexy, one had whispered in her ear one night. Had nobody ever told her that before. He smiled across the bar at Kathleen. Not someone as young as you, Kathleen had smiled to herself.

‘Don’t you even want to know how old I am?’

‘No, not really. What’s the joke,’ the guy had asked?

‘No, there’s no joke.’

‘You’re close to my age, I guess.’

The conversation had gone something like that, that evening. It was the first time that Kathleen had realised that she was beginning to move in uncharted territory now. In waters that she had never been in before. You have the face of an angel. Yes, she did, Kathleen thought to herself.

I do have the face of an angel. It was after the Lionel affair.

‘Dance. I’ll buy you a drink afterwards.’

‘Sure. I’d love to dance,’ said Kathleen breathlessly. 

‘What’s your name?’ Kathleen felt brave. She always felt brave when she was on her own like this.

‘Willem and yours?’ this Willem asked Kathleen, his fingers gripping hers tightly as if he didn’t want to let go of her just yet, before the night was over.

‘Kathleen,’ said Kathleen.

*

‘He didn’t love me. At the end of the day, none of them did. I was not good enough to be their wife, nor the mother of their children. That’s where it ended. Crashing through the darkness of my identity of who I was supposed to be. They could leave me wretched, falling, reeling with their last morning kiss that they couldn’t resist giving me. I would always be the tragic-comic woman made of bone. A heroine made of a mist of perfume, Neutrogena soap, wrist, high cheekbones, smelling the air filled with freshly brewed coffee. Drinking a cup of black Nescafe coffee.’

Kathleen didn’t know what to think when she heard the news that day. That the love of her life was in love. That Lionel Domingo was in love with someone else. That he wasn’t in love with her. She felt sad. So, Lionel, she said to herself, you’ve met someone else. You’ve moved on and Kathleen remembered the day that he tried to phone her eight times and how she had never picked up the telephone. Kathleen had hovered near the telephone in the foyer. Saw his name flashing. Flashing on the telephone screen. There was a time when that would have made Kathleen the happiest girl in the world. Lit a flame as warm and radiant as the sun in her heart. She would have given anything in those days to be in Lionel’s arms. In his tall and handsome company.  For them, Kathleen and Lionel to have been a couple. For her to be his girlfriend but that was not to be. Lionel’s father did not think that Kathleen was suitable girlfriend material for his son (see ‘beautiful’). Lionel’s mother did not like her. That was another story.

‘He didn’t love me. He just didn’t love me, I guess. I have to deal with that. Í have to be the one to be grown up about it. Not him. He’s the one who gets off lightly. I have to be the one who excuses his King Lionel’s behaviour. I have to be the one who walks on eggshells around him now.’ Said Kathleen on the telephone. ‘Can you at least tell me your name so that when I phone Lifeline again I can speak to you? Oh, you’re not allowed to do that. I didn’t know that.’

Kathleen had heard a muffled sound from the other side of the study door. She had forgot to close the door when she made her telephone call. Don’t I ever get a moment of privacy in this house, Kathleen thought to herself.

‘Mum is that you?’ Kathleen called out.

‘I just wanted to know where you were. Your father needs you. I didn’t mean to disturb you, Kate. It’s just that your father needs you. You know how he gets.’

‘I’m coming, mum. I’m coming. You don’t need to explain. I know dad by now. I know his moods.’

‘Kate, Kate, who’s this Lionel. We’ve never met a Lionel, have we? Me and your father? Is he the son of people that we know of?’

‘No, mum. You won’t know this Lionel.’

‘Are you going together? You know, are you two girlfriend and boyfriend?’

‘Mum, it’s kind of personal. I don’t want to talk about it. About him I mean. Can we change the subject?’

‘You really should get out more Kate, meet more men your own age?’

*

Once Lionel and Kathleen had gone to the beach. Kathleen had made a picnic basket. Egg mayonnaise sandwiches. Cheese and wine. Good bread. It had been a hot summer’s day. Lionel was more interested in getting a tan. They had held hands, ran to the warm water. Lionel splashed Kathleen. A sea of beads of salt cutting its throat in their hair, their open mouths. Afterward they’d ended that perfect day eating hamburgers and ice cream in a takeaway joint.

Kathleen’s face was wet. She sat on the toilet seat watching the water gush into the bathtub. She looked in the bathroom mirror. There were dark circles under her eyes. Her face was as wet as leaves in a rainstorm in autumn or a field covered by the sweetness of snow in winter. Tears marks the master of its position safely out there. It’s a harsh world out there when you’re a single woman, Kathleen thought to herself. Harsh! A world filled with sharks in sharp suits and leather jackets. She still looked young, Kathleen thought to herself. She still looked good.

*

‘What do you want to eat tonight, mum?’ asked Kathleen switching the radio on as she walked into the kitchen. Kathleen’s mother looked up from her knitting.

‘I don’t know. Why don’t you surprise me and your dad?’

‘Where is dad?’

‘Out and about somewhere. I think he’s doing his devotions.’

‘So, then. What would be a good idea for supper tonight. Some pasta. A nice spaghetti or a tuna and macaroni casserole.’

‘Oh, make anything Kathleen. You know we’re not fussy,’ but Kathleen didn’t hear what her mother said. She was already opening and closing the kitchen cupboards, searching for ingredients.

***********************************************************************
Abigail George has two books in the Ovi Bookshelves,
"All about my mother" & "Brother Wolf and Sister Wren"
Download them, NOW for FREE HERE!

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