WAITING FOR MARCEL.
The boots are killing you, tight and rubbing the feet. You ease them off and let them drop to the floor. The bedsprings make noise as you move. They did last night too. What a racket, Marcel had said when he climbed on the bed beside you the previous night with the intention of making love, what a boneshaker of a bed, he moaned, shifting his weight, trying to find a spot that didn’t make noise. You had laughed but he had been stone faced, balancing himself in his nakedness, his arms outstretched like a high wire act at a circus. We’ll wake the whole hotel, he added, squatting on his arse and remaining still for a few moments, his dark eyes staring at you, his disappointment looming there. You remember creeping to Marcel’s room along the corridor, he wrapped in his dressing gown covering his nakedness and you following him quickly hoping no one would come out of their rooms and spot you both creeping along in a state of secrecy and partially dressed. His bed was better and made little noise, but it had a dip in the middle and you both seemed forever wedged there after the sex. You look around your room. There are two framed paintings of Paris, a potted plant, a chair where your dress and cardigan are slumped, and under the bed a white chamber pot half full of urine. You can smell it now you focus on it. What one focuses on is one’s reality, Father once said, the wider the area of focussing the wider your reality. Funny to be thinking of Father now. He’d not have been impressed if he’d seen you and Marcel last night. His eyes would have loomed large; his moustache would have trembled with anger. His voice would have bellowed waking the whole hotel from its slumbers. His hard hand would have waked your arse to kingdom come. That is only imagination based on his treatment of you as a child. Not now. The last time you saw him in Lyon he was almost blind and stuck in the invalid chair that Mother pushed him around in. He muttered that day when he saw you, his crooked fingers reaching out to you in his darkness. Lela, is that you? He muttered. Yes, Papa, it is I. What is to become of you? He asked. I am all right now, I am living in Paris, you answered. Paris? His voice had a whine to it and it lingers still in your head. The room is tidy and clean, but the bed makes too much noise. It creaks again now as you move. You bounce up and down on it to make the noise more suggestive. You smile. Those next door will say to each other, what is she up to in there and at this time of the day too. A middle-aged couple, they are. You’d seen them when you entered your room. They looked at you down their middleclass noses. You bounce the bed again. The springs almost sing. You wish Marcel was there and not seeing friends at the art gallery. You want him there; want to sense his hands touching you, his arms embracing you. You want him shafting you into the bedsprings. You snigger at the thought and at what the couple in the next room would think. You sit in your petticoat and black stockings and wiggle your toes. You think about writing a postcard to your parents; a postcard of Paris and writing, Dear Pere and Mere, having a good time and working hard and being a good daughter and going to mass everyday and confession one a week. Lies. You couldn’t write such lies, Mother would know, she could smell a lie from miles away. Best write just a few lines. Keep them happy. You rise from the bed and the springs sing again. You walk to the window and peer down into the street. People everywhere, traffic, noises, smells, sights, life. All these people will be gone and buried one day, you muse, leaning just over the balcony, your white petticoat flapping like a flag in the breeze, the wind embracing your arms and shoulders. You rub your arms. You wish Marcel were there, his arms around you, his breath on your neck, his hands feeling your breasts. You sigh and wander back to the bed and sit down. The bedsprings sing. The sound echoes. You think you had better go and bath and be ready for tonight. Marcel is taking you for dinner and drink and to a few clubs he knows and to meet a few friends and live and love and spare no thought for the couple in the next room, or your parents, or for tomorrow, or how loud the bedsprings sing when you return in the early hours, and Marcel and you make love with all the noises and ahs and ohs, and you singing some aria from a half remembered opera. The thoughts please you. The images play out in front of you, around you, on the bed, around the room. Yes, you say to yourself, I must go and bath. Lela, you dirty cow, you must wash yourself clean. Cleanse yourself of yesterday, of last night, of this morning. You rise up from the bed. The bedsprings sing. You laugh. You grab a towel from the chair and putting on your dressing gown you go for your soak in the bath.