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Dark House Dark House
by Abigail George
2017-08-20 10:21:43
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Two bodies inherit the orbit of darkness. Enter the bedroom and it is all hurried movements in the dark first.

She takes off her clothes. He takes off his clothes. There’s a history there that is centuries in the making. He laughs, as he takes hold of her in his arms and she smiles. His laughter strikes her like the origin of organic root, the nature of earth, peat, clay, peasantry, cold stone, and hard, volcanic rock. Jan takes a bath. He smokes. I wash his back. He passes the cigarette to me and I take a long drag of the smoke into my lungs. There’s that same laugh. There’s that same smile. Who knows where time begins and when time ends in this asphalt jungle scenario. And so, the story begins. This is where the middle of her story begins. My mother just couldn’t help it. Couldn’t help not loving me, I suppose. She’s a hard woman. Tough but she’s still beautiful and elegant. My sister is mental. She has bipolar. Jan smokes. He has nothing but time.

hau1_400She got it from dad. My looks! Ah, my looks! That I got from my mother. Her tennis legs and her well-toned arms. Dad was famous in our town. Principal at a sub-economic high school. You got good grades from the surrounding primary school, you were in! In for life. Life meaning the next five years of your life and if you did well in your exams, there was always a scholarship to go to a good university. Pupils were always placing in who got the highest scores in maths and science at the end of year exams. Their last year of school. I was never one for the academic stream. I look good. Don’t I? I know I look good. I take care of myself but it isn’t easy. I eat well. Lifestyle, nutrition, spiritual, the mind, body and soul. It’s like walking into a net if you make the wrong life choices. I’ve made love but sometimes it felt like an out of body experience.

I’ve made love with men. I’ve kissed a girl and a few frogs but that was just an experiment in high school. You live. You learn. In high school, everything is instinct. How was it for you? The same. What do they say, birds of a feather flock together but fools seldom differ, right?

‘The water is cold. I am turning into a prune. I’ll let hot water run in for you.’ Jan got out of the bath, running his fingers through his damp hair. He looked even more handsome than he had in the discotheque.

The hotel room had clean sheets. An empty bar. A lonely man with sad eyes sat at the bar. Not as sad as Jan’s eyes. The man at the bar had a hard face made out of iron but the man that I was with was fine-looking.

His movements and hand gestures on the dance floor with other women had been smooth and energetic. With Jan’s arm around my voice I questioned nothing. I feared nothing. I moved with him into the brightly lit fluorescent spaces of the hotel. I had the look of having done well.

There was time in Jan’s eyes. A pale fire that burned whenever he looked in my direction. Stars lit in my heart, lungs and belly. I was 22-years-old. Jan was in his mid-thirties. I had promised myself I wouldn’t do this to myself. That I would enter serious relationships.

But good men were hard to come by in a city that was always cold out by nightfall. Jan looked at the woman lying next to him in the bed and closed his eyes. She was telling him about the story of her life. Something about homosexuals. Women! How did this long-long evening begin?

The night began innocently enough with a conversation. As they made love, the woman in me imagines water, fluid pouring into and over her limbs. Her undergarments. Hell is set loose. So is pleasure. Karma happens in darkness, I think to myself. Breath is set into motion.

‘It is cold out.’

‘I know an out of the way place.’

‘Yes, I can almost picture it in my head.’

‘The two of us.’

‘Yes, the two of us. The two of us in an out of the way place.’

‘Let me just think. Just give me a moment to think about it.’

‘Okay, just a drink then. One drink, I promise.’

That was my life. I used to be a girl. Men turned me into a woman. I used to go to hotel rooms in Hillbrow in the middle of the night. In the early hours of the night. We would have a few drinks. Dance a little. I would dance wildly. He would take his time. He was a smooth dancer. He didn’t make hand gestures that the homosexuals in the club would do from time to time after sipping on their daiquiris and Cosmopolitans and brandy and coke. The homosexuals would be sipping on Irish coffee near closing time. I would be thinking of my shitty childhood.

She was saying something about her pretty mother. Talking about a day in her life when she was a little girl. Hands on the steering wheel. I turned my face away. Watching the girls inside the shop. The girls who watching us. Staring at 9-year-old me. I was blinking back stars in my eyes.

My mother wanted sanitary towels. She didn’t believe me. How could a pharmacy be out of stock? But that is what the girl had told me. I repeated it but she still didn’t believe me. She screamed at me. You, you, stupid little girl! You don’t know anything! Look at you! Rubbish! Liar! Just look at you with your four eyes! You think you’re as smart as your dad! Get out of my face. I dug my fingernails into my hands. I clench my hands into fists. Blinked back the tears as she screamed over my head, into my face. I sat there in my school uniform, needing her to hold me. To embrace me and caress my cheek. I needed her to tell me that she loved me. I was shivering and then I was trembling trying to make her voice go away inside of my head-space.

And then Jan turned with one quick movement and kissed her hard against her cheek. Pushed her up against the cool wall. He caressed her back She tasted sweet. Her mouth was soft and painted red. Her nails were painted red.

‘Would you like me to kiss you again? Don’t think. Just say yes.’

So, you’re saying that the night does not have to end here. Everything’s closed, I thought to myself but I knew what he wanted. He did not want to let me go yet. He was lonely. I was sad.

I was that woman. Up for a rendezvous at an out of the way hotel.

‘Women are attracted to men.’

‘Men have all the power.’

‘All the control, you mean. I’ll be your boyfriend if you want, Geraldine.’ Jan could almost hear her smiling in the dark. She snorted with derision.

‘You’re quite a man.’

‘Quite a catch, is that what you mean.’ Now it was the woman’s turn to smile and to close her eyes.

‘What are you thinking about?’

‘I’m dreaming.’

‘What are you dreaming about?’

‘I’m dreaming of not being because if I am being, living in the moment, it will end sooner rather than later.’

He stroked her thigh. Up and down. With his free hand. In the other, he held a lit cigarette.

‘You’re making me nervous. Look, just look in the light of the glare of the television. My hands are shaking.’

‘Honey, you’re just feeling anxious, that’s all.’

‘It’s my age. I shouldn’t be doing things like this at my age. I should know better. I’ve never been with a married man like this before.’

‘Unhappily married. On the brink of a separation.’

‘Oh, so you’ve spoken about a divorce? About what will happen to the children?’

‘Quick! Light a cigarette. It will calm my nerves.’

‘I never understood my mother either. She mostly just left me and my brother Anton alone.’

‘So, you also have abandonment issues.’

‘Anger management issues. Issues of neglect. Dealing with loneliness at a young age. An absent mother. An absent parent.’

‘Let’s tell each other stories.’

‘Lady, do they have to be happy stories because all I have are the stories of a lonely man.’

‘And man, all I have are stories of a sad women.’

‘All the women I slept with as a student from my university days were sad women and almost always in love with an older, married man who was either a lecturer at the same university or a distant, married friend of the family.’

Jan looked at me in the dark and smiled. He closed his eyes.

***********************************************************************
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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