Friday, November 23, 2007

A trip of destiny: Jeff and Abby

It's election night and Abby is about to realise that trusting in the Universe brings things to fruition in a way in which you would never believe ...

In the moonlight she stripped off her long purple strapless batik dress and threw it over one of the wooden outdoor chairs. Quietly opening and closing the gate she stood for a moment on the edge of the deep end before diving confidently in the water. The moon was full and luminescent above her. Instead of swimming mindless from end to end, she floated on her back and stared up at the moon, marvelling at the depth of originality in its surface and how it seemed to morph and change the more she stared at it. The Chinese believed that it wasn’t a man in the moon, but a rabbit. She could see the Rabbit, she could see the man and she could even see what she thought was the Sea of Tranquillity.

“The arms of Orion that's where I wanna be
Since you’ve been gone
I've been searching for a lover
In the Sea of Tranquility
I'm drowning without you here, my dear”

Her eyes stung with the first prickling of tears. It had been years since she’d last heard that Prince song. Immediately she is transported back to a queen sized bed, in a room that smelt like a combination of Kouros after shave and stale sweat from the king gee workclothes scattered across the floor. Above her the thin lace curtains billowed out over her head, as a warm breeze gusted inwards. It was the start of summer and the first storm of the season. The room was lit in weird dark umber and tangerine tones, of the storm smudged dusk. Thunder cracked over head, getting closer each few minutes. Lightning illuminated the room and the two naked bodies on the bed, in brief flashes. On the stereo Prince played as the cataract of sexual tension built, like the storm outside and cascaded through them as they become one in a sweaty heaving mass.

The clink of the gate broke her out of her nostalgia. Diving under the water she swum to the end and broke the surface at the steps expecting to see Cal sitting there. Seeing no one she wondered if she really had heard the gate, or if it were the new next door neighbours indulging in a night swim as well. In the wake of the memory, the water felt ice cold against her hot skin. Looking up at the moon one last time, she climbed slowly out of the pool and walked the few steps over to the pool gate before she realised that the towels that usually hung over the pool fence, were neatly folded by Cal that afternoon and put away in the laundry.

Thankful that the night was warm, she opened the gate and walked under the canvas pergola hoping that the laundry door was still unlocked. Looking about in the hope that someone had left a stray towel behind she saw him sitting there staring at her.

“Nice butt,” he commented in a sarcastic tone. “Too bad I don’t have my camera with me this time.”

Like a rabbit caught in the headlights of an oncoming car, she froze in her naked vulnerability before him.
“Tits a bit on the saggy side.”

She instinctively raised her hands to cup and hide her bare breasts, without taking her eyes off him as the shock of his presence wore off.
“How dare you come into my house,” she finally managed, grabbing the discarded dress from the back of the chair and awkwardly yanking it over her wet body.

“Truth be known it’s actually your back yard. Technically I’m no’ in your house.”
“Don’t be a shit Harrington, just leave or I’ll call my husband down here to get rid of you.”

He laughed in a horrible guffawing manner, that set her skin on edge.
“And he’s no’ going to ask what I’m doin’ here.”
“What are you doing here Harrington?”
“I came to celebrate with you. After all I’m guessin’ that the whole team was here tonight. The delicious Violet Cunningham and all those hippy braless, hair armpitted bitches you call you mates.”
“Just leave Jeff,” smouldered Abby, in a barely contained fashion. “This is my home and I wont have you slagging off at my friend here. OUT!”
“Woooah A-bby” he drawled, relaxing further back into the chair he was sitting in. “As I said I came to celebrate with the team.”

“You’re not part of the team, even in that deluded mind of yours you can’t honestly believe that you in any way contributed to the success of this campaign.”
“Re-ally A-bby. Well lady, that’s where you are wrong.”
“It’s really late at night Jeff, its been a long day and I just want you to leave please.”
“Where’s your hospitality.”
“It fucked off about the same time you let yourself in here uninvited,” she swore, standing with her hands on her hips.
“Well I’m not going until you at the very least offer me a beer and give me a chance to tell you a little story.”

“We’re all out of beer,” lied Abby. “So I guess you’ll just have to be on your way and maybe you can ring for an appointment and we can chat then – like the old mates that we are.”

He reached down beside his seat and lifted one of Cal’s Belgium beers onto the table.
“Don’t suppose you’ve got a bottle opener down here?”
Abby reeled at the sight of the beer and the inherent message that it carried – he’d been inside her home. She reached across the table to the waiters friend that had been left downstairs earlier on in the evening and passed it across to him.
“My thanks to the lady of the house,” he mocked, tipping his finger to his eyebrow just as he’d done the night of the debate.

Abby quickly disappeared into the laundry and found a discarded pair of jeans and top to change into, throwing the wet dress into the washing machine. She knew that Harrington was not going to leave until he’d dispensed with whatever story he’d come to tell. She couldn’t risk creating a raucous and bringing Cal down here. Sitting down opposite him, she wrapped her hands around her glass of mineral water.

“Now you’ve got a beer and my undivided attention, please…” she invited, gesturing a welcome with her hands.
“How about we slip on over into the deck chairs. You remember the Addams Family? I always loved Morticia and her moon baking. You reminded me of her floating naked in the pool earlier on.”
“She was my favourite character too,” admited Abby uncomfortably, more than a little disturbed that she had something in common with this person who she detested so intensely.

Laying in the deck chairs under the full moon, Abby remembered what her Mum said about the moon and how the psych-ward was always chock-a-block on a full moon. She was almost certain now that Harrington was mentally unstable – he was not his moody, passive aggressive self though she wasn’t about to be lulled into a false sense of security by his magnanimous disposition. Minutes passed as hours, as they lay there, Abby waiting for Harrington to say something.

“I really pissed my Boss off with you, did you know that Abby,” began Harrington, taking a long swig of beer from the bottle. “You should be greetin’ me with open arms lady. I saved you from inevitable political destruction by taking your money and keepin’ my mouth shut about your little affair with pretty boy footballer.”
“Are you suggesting someone paid you to dig dirt on me.”
“Why didn’t you sell it?”
“I could make more money blackmailing. A steady stream of income.”

“Why do you hate me so badly Jeff?” she asked. “I’m pretty sure that I never once did anything to hurt you.”
“It’s not personal A-bby,” he replied, setting the beer down on the paving and staring up at the sky. “I decided a long time ago that I was going to grow up to be the biggest mysoginistic bastard that I could.”
“To be the antithesis of everything that you’re mother wrote and promoted.”
“You know nothing about my mother,” he snapped, sitting up to glare at her.

“You’re mother was Ava Louise. How did she die Jeff?”
“I made her life such a living hell that she didn’t want to be around any longer. I bought up a whole heap of pills, left them lying around in the kitchen and one day she was dead in a pool of her own vomit and shit. Pretty nifty huh?”
“Chas told you about me didn’t he.”
“Now that was pure gold,” he laughed manically, draining the bottle of beer. “I’ll just help myself to another.”

When he came back, he settled back into the deck chair and spent a long time drinking before he said anything.
“I knew about you long before you were anyone. Every weekend durin’ football season Chas would sit there off his tree, and bang on how he was friends with pretty boy footballer. Then he’d bang on about the teacher they had at school with the tight white pants, how they’d all spent three days in detention in your room. How they all wanted to get into your pants and how they all said that you fucked one of them, but no one ever knew who it was.

“He recognised your photo lying on the table. Told me that you were the Miss Paisley.”
“Serendipity,” commented Abby almost believing in some warped fashion that the universe intended for it to be played out this way.


THE BLUEST BUTTERFLY said... write a lot. Visiting from Michele's.

Carmi said...

Hi there, Jodi. Michele sent me on this snowy morning to thank you for sharing your writing. I love your descriptive style: I can visualize the scene if I close my eyes just so.