Monday, May 08, 2006

Ilona Considers Black

Episode six of Mrs Sunderbury And The Gold Earring. The story starts here

Ilona stood naked looking at herself in the tall wardrobe mirror. She looked pretty good for her age, she considered. She was fifty eight, not that she cared or worried. Her tall frame stood without much evidence of the obscene drag of gravity, except the obvious - buttocks, breasts, the lug-lug under the chin. Stroking her smooth unwrinkled stomach, she wondered whether the exhausting process of motherhood which seemed to turn girls into middle-aged women overnight at the age of thirteen in this country had anything to do with it. Not that she hadn't tried...

Ilona crossed over to the wardrobe and took a calf-length green dress from a hanger, slipping it over her neck past the dyed-red frizz of unmanageable hair, and it fell easily onto her shoulders. She stepped back and regarded herself once more. The clothed version looked back at her, quizzical and confident. If only she knew, thought Ilona, how very attractive she had been, Abigail would not be the spinsterish frump she was now... you would never imagine she had once been married, cohabiting, sexual.

Ilona had until recently ensured her own sexual fulfilment by maintaining several discrete contacts at a distance of some miles; but although she found the sex pleasant enough, in the past few years she had begun to question whether it was really worth the hassle - so much creeping about, so many hotel rooms and bar bills and the odd fraught phone call when wives, other lovers caught wind, always ending in sudden recrimination - self, or otherwise - after which a perfectly amicable arrangement would either get thrown like a bag of garden peas into the freezer, or else be abandoned altogether. She wished people could be rational about their physical needs, and so decided to be rational about her own. Life was calmer now, if a little boring, and she appreciated that.

She looked at herself in the green dress, sighed, and decided to change it for black. Less comfortable, but she did not want to spend time mmm-ing and ahhh-ing to Abigail's endless, bottled-up neurosis dressed as if she was going out, how did the local kids say it? On the pull. She looked too gorgeous, she had to admit. It was either black, she decided, or a white doctor's coat.

She started rifling through her underwear drawer, half-looking, half-thinking about past lovers, and she looked vacantly out of the bay window, across to her neighbours, a couple in their 40s, in the driveway now, debating something rather stiffly over the car. They were stuck, she could tell. She knew that he was either looking elsewhere, or wanted to. It was an instinct honed over many years. Oh, he was loyal alright, they even loved each other, she didn't doubt; but the loins knew, the heart knew, the sinews and the straining muscles, they all knew that he had more to give than she could receive, and the strain was showing, like cracks in rootftiles letting the water in, leaking slowly into the attic room above the bed. She smiled at this analogy, and wondered absent-mindedly whether she might persuade him to visit the attic for a little inspection. Amused at her ruse, she whisked a pair of vivid pink cotton underwear from the drawer, sat on the bed and pulled them on. Oh, she wasn't dead yet! she chuckled.

The doorbell rang, and Ilona started, looked up at the clock. "Bugger!" she said, then called down, "Abigail?"

"Hi... hi... It's me... " called her cousin from the porch. Ilona heard the noise of a car driving away. She must have got a cab from the station. Time was she would not have spent her money on such senseless luxuries, thought Ilona, she must be about ready to retire.

"Coming!!" she cried, pulling on dark red socks, "with you in a second!"

Despite her resignation, she found herself warm and happy to see her cousin, short round Abigail, standing proudly in the brick arch. They embraced, Ilona dropping down several inches to put her fine, diagonal cheeks against the round face, once, twice, three times. Holding her, Ilona felt her cousin's physical tension, she quivered like a wooden ruler. Ilona drew back and looked into Abigail's face, saw a note of tragedy underneath the usual determination.

"Abigail.. are you OK?" she asked.

"Yes, yes, just had a bit of an accident on the tube. Nothing, nothing, I'm fine, just lost my earring." Abigail stomped past Ilona and into the hall, her shoes clacking on the dark parquet, clutching her enormous black bag.

"Lovely to see you! Let's have tea in the garden," suggested Ilona gently.

End episode 6

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1 Comments:

At 10:51 PM, Blogger ily~d_angel quoth...

dont know how i came accross it, but i wanna read more

 

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