Sunday is quiet at chez Audrey. While my body pops my eyes open at six in the morning, every morning (no doubt owing to a years-long routine with ‘that man’), Audrey enjoys the last day of the week with all the decadence of an Edwardian princess. She seldom stirs before lunch no matter what, and then only to drape her post-showered self about the sofa sipping tea and crunching on near-to-blackened toast and marmalade.
By seven I have already showered, breakfasted, tidied, and read through a good portion of the Sunday newspaper.
At seven-thirty I was at my own house. you know, just to look things over. Would you like to know the truth? It was far less an inspection and far more a giddy girl dashing from room to room, thrilling at every sight. The fading smell of paint together with that invigorating timber smell of new furniture speaks new house to me and like a child on the night before Christmas, I am almost insane with anticipation of the day I will make this home once more. That day, the builder/decorator assured me last evening, will be Tuesday. Hurray!
The colours on the walls and ceilings were inspired by a visit some years ago, on a rare trip abroad when ‘that man’ had business in Paris, on a day-trip I took alone to Claude Monet’s house at Giverny. The dining room is the most lovely pale yellow with brick and white coloured tiles. The living room is a slightly muted turquoise and nineteenth century tiled floor. The kitchen is in blue tones, while my bedroom is a restful celadon green. I decided when renovating the house that each room would have its own character rather than the dull beige and dark brown that dragged its former incarnation into Dante’s seventh circle of my own, personal hell. So there! Colour reigns. The king is dead (well, might as well be), long live the queen! Oh dear, I am getting a little carried away aren’t I? Calm down, Katie girl. Must be the paint.
Having spent the better part of two hours at the house, time gets away doesn’t it?, I found myself walking about the shopping centre. The greengrocer had some fresh-looking courgettes and a cauliflower that would go perfectly with the meat in the fridge. I know white sauce is old hat now but there’s something about Sundays and chops and vegetables that demands white sauce. Perhaps it might be considered ‘retro’ as some say. Really, I am not old, but an upbringing in the traditional style will have its influences.
Are you wondering whether I’ve been thinking on my new situation, moving home and the altered relationship with Audrey? Of course I have. I’ve thought of nothing else. I’ve done quite a bit of reading on the internet from people’s blogs and information places too. I’m a little farther down the road to understanding but not far enough I think.
Last night, after dinner while we were relaxing in the living room, I spoke about my confused feelings with Audrey. It went something like this.
“It’s like this”, I said, “this is all new for me. For years I was married, bored and neglected but married. I knew my place in the world as a wife and a housewife. The bedroom was a place where I did my duty when my husband required it. It was never something I enjoyed but I never expected it to be. It was a wife’s duty, plain and simple. I suppose my mind was dulled from the long years of boredom. It was safe though and all that mattered was being safe and stable.”
Audrey tried to speak but I hushed her and I went on.
“Last year, well the year before last now it’s a new year, it all changed. He was gone, I was alone, then the depression took me over. I’d no sooner gotten over that than I felt this need to make things new. You and the other girls helped and it was all going along like a dream, you know, like a beautiful dream. Then I came here to stay. Within no time at all I was going about the place as naked as a new-born and on top of that, sleeping with a woman, not only a woman but my best friend. Can you see how I might be a little overwhelmed?”
Audrey tried to speak. I hush her again.
“I’m almost there dear, almost finished. I’m enjoying it, Audrey, I am. You’ve been such a good friend letting me come here while the place is being done and you’ve shown me I can enjoy my body and I don’t have to be ashamed of my few extra pounds. That’s a big thing. And in the bedroom, well, I never imagined I could feel that way. Certainly never with a woman. But I have a problem. The nudity is fine, I love it, no it’s us, what we’re doing in bed. Is it really me? That’s what I can’t work out. Am I like that? Or is it just being able to let go for the first time? Is it just the feeling or is it more? If I’d met a man who did the same things, would I have enjoyed that the same way? Do you see what I mean? Audrey, I’m not used to any of this and I don’t know what to do. The house wil be ready in two days and I’ll be moving back. But what will happen then? Will we keep going with what we’re doing? Will it stop? Do I want it to stop? Should it stop, at least for now? I’m so confused.”
The words might be a bit different but that is about what I said. After that Audrey said her piece of course, and she was very good, selfless, as only a best friend can be.
We talked until very late and in the end we’d considered all of my worries. At first Audrey said that once I went back home she would stay away for a while. But I couldn’t have that. Audrey is my best friend before anything else. Nothing has changed there. She suggested we stop our bedroom dalliance, at least for a while, to see if the feelings we shared were real or just a sort of release. I could see that hurt her to say but I agreed that once I went home, we should stop for now.
I am stilled confused. I don’t know how I feel about Audrey in that way. Physically it is the greatest of delights, I will never deny that, but is it me? How long will it take to know? As I’ve said before, I’m not old but I’m not a spring chicken either. I’ve become impatient to live life now in every way I can. Should I be denying myself experiences I enjoy? How long will it take? Listen to me, I sound like a schoolgirl, but I feel that way, like life is so open in front of me that I’m terrified to make a mistake. I suppose we’ll see what happens.
Sorry to have tested your patience so long. I’ll try to write less next time.
Until next we meet,