The Velvet Chamber
An Anthology of Revisioned Myth and Fairy Tale

Explore the dark side of the female psyche --A CALL FOR WRITERS supports The Velvet Chamber

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Good Dream

In that small two room apartment we could smell every inch of each other's bodies; Stella's unborn child, Stanley's breathing, the things they whispered to each other at night. I thought they were both gone for the day. I thought I had the apartment to myself. I poured a whiskey and opened the windows, musicians played on the street below. I ran myself a bath. I lit a cigarette. I took off my clothes.

It was a Saturday afternoon. I might've been dancing. I might've been touching myself. I am a woman after all, and it was hard to get him out of my head. Even though he hated me. Once when we were alone, he said, “You'd be attractive if you washed your face.” So I was naked when he walked through the door.

“You're supposed to be out,” I said, but I didn't make a move to cover myself. I might've been wearing mama's pearls, I might've been wearing white kid boots, lace gloves, diamond earrings. I might've been wearing stockings. I knew I looked good in that light, late afternoon, almost golden. I avoided the morning light, most unforgiving.

"You're supposed to be out," I repeated, the ice melting in my drink, a fly buzzing against the screen window.

I suddenly remembered the moth that followed me up the stairs my first night here, three months ago. It was a sign, an omen. I didn't see it then, but it became very clear to me as I stood naked in the kitchen, Stanley barely three feet from me. I saw the dark hair that covered his arms and his hands, a pelt.

“If you were a gentleman,” I finally said, “you'd walk back out the door and give me five minutes to get decent.”

“Blanche,” he replied, “you couldn't do that in five years, never mind five minutes.”

“You want a whiskey,” I asked.

“Sure baby.”

“Come and sit down,” I said, pulling out a chair, “you're making me nervous, standing in the doorway like that.”

“No,” he replied, “I like it here.”

“Aren't you going to tell me to get dressed?”

“You are dressed, Blanche, you're dressed as I always pictured you.”

My heart twisted, ripped right in half. But I didn't stop. I don't remember trying. I brought him the whiskey, and he put his fingers up inside of me, said,

“Is this what happens in the stories you teach, weren't you a teacher, Blanche? Didn't you instruct young minds, high school, was it? I was never much good in school myself, got into fights, pissed on the bathroom walls, chased girls, but you--- you taught literature, isn't that right,” his voice was gentle, teasing, “is this what happens in those stories, Blanche,” now he was whispering, tickling my ear, “a crazy woman dances naked around her sister's kitchen, drinking whiskey at three in the afternoon," he pulled me closer, I opened my legs wider, "looking for love," he continued, "but only finding heartbreak. Isn't that who you are Blanche, isn't that your character? Is that what you teach, or is that what you are? Tell the truth, Blanche, teach me something, do you like being fucked in your sister's kitchen?”

Then he brought his hand, the one that had been inside me, up to his mouth, and sucked on his fingers one by one. He took the whiskey from me, drank it down, walked into the bedroom, and closed the door. I stripped off my jewelry, unhooked my stockings, and went into the bathroom. I lowered myself into the cool water, closed my eyes, and dreamt I was back at Belle Reve.

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