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Have A Nice Day

by Valentine Bonnaire


erotic fiction"Blot out the moon,
Pull down the stars.
Love in the dark, for we're for the dark
So soon, so soon." — Jean Rhys

I wasn’t going to let her kill me.  I wasn’t going to let them kill me.  The whole crushing force of the women who had come before me, who had lived before my time with him.  She sat like a matriarch on a throne wagging jeweled fingers on her dead hands while she attempted to orchestrate our future.  My mother-in-law.

She’d already killed him.  The man who was going to be my husband.

I had the evidence.  My poor, poor Charles.

“Make us a cuppa, will you love?”  She only pretended to be crooning.

I never could stand the way he jumped to attention when she issued a command.  Even now she was still issuing them.  From beyond the grave and he couldn’t let go of her.  That year we first met he was making her tea every Sunday.  She hated me.  Because I was alive.  Looking back I think she added something to her tinctures.  Datura leaves.  The poisonous flowers hung like fairy lanterns all around the garden next to her oleanders.  I never could trust her.

“Isn’t that lovely,” she crooned at him.  “Give us a biscuit.”

“Give us one, then...”

“Go on.”

He lined the biscuits and shortbreads up like little soldiers for her on the dainty china plates.  Tick tock.  Tick tock.  Tick tock.  I thought I would die having to listen to that clock.  Maybe I was going to start screaming because it was like I was in a horror movie.  It was her music, listening to that clock.  A substitute for sound that might have been beautiful.  The clock and the sound of the wind and the black crows that lived in the jacarandas.  The dead silence, while she stared at me from her pink leather couch.  She smelled of cheap Earl Grey.

“You’re a dead loss, aren’t you?”

That was her work-around for men, to get them to do her constant bidding.  She said that to Charles and she said that to his father.  I stayed quiet and listened while she spun her toxic strands of language around the room like a web.  Around the three of us.  Listen to things like that long enough and you can become a zombie.  I wanted to block my ears.  Maybe I wanted to shield him, then, too.  Aeons of matriarchy and the claws they wield.  You know all about that don’t you?  Chances are you encountered one too.  Or somebody numbed by one.  A female from the deadzones who’d stayed alive just to haunt the living.

I liked to look over at his father framed in the afternoon light.  He’d become deaf to her after the long years of marriage.  He sat nodding in the late sun of afternoon like a daffodil against that wintry glass, the wind his only music. 

I wondered if he could smell it on me.  If he could smell what his son had done the nights he ravished me all afternoon and night and long into the morning.  Sometimes we didn’t have time to shower we’d spent so long in bed.
“Let’s have a bit of a look ‘round the garden, then?”  his father would smile, suddenly  breaking the silence.

He’d smile at me knowing I was trapped by the deadly tick-tocking and the venom of her biscuits and words.   That I couldn’t stand the clinking of the teacups and the rattle of her spoon, or the way that she looked at my body and made remarks about my clothes or my hair as if she were embalming me.  He knew that I’d need a cigarette soon and that I’d offer one to him as well.  We would set off for his tiny lath house, arm in arm.  She’d made him frail.  She’d worn him down with her endless demands and her endless needs and her endless projects.  As wives do if they are her sort.  As husbands do as well if they are a certain kind.

We left them sitting in the oedipal tangle that happens to only sons, setting off for the flowers.  His gorgeous roses splaying open in the pale afternoon of the garden like luminous lamps that lit the path in pinks and purples and bisques tinged redpink at the edges. 

I wanted to tell his father about how much I loved D. H. Lawrence, but instead I began to give him books.  It was no good trying to say anything in her presence.  She simply sucked all the air from the room. 

I wanted to say that her son had been like the gardener in Chatterley with me, but I gave him “Sons and Lovers,” instead.

Because his son Charles had been, nightly, at my little flat ever since we’d met.  A lover between my legs, calling me a rose as he licked me into another atmosphere.  Sometimes it was suffocating the way he didn’t want to go home to his own place.  It took us awhile to move in together once we decided to give it a go.  Marriage, that was. 

My husband was a flower thief.

Nobody knew that about him of course.  Especially not her.

I never told anybody either, about that night he must have bagged hundreds.  I came home from work and he’d made dinner and left a masterpiece for me.  The house was warm and the lights were low.  I thought I smelled roses and when I flicked the main light on in the hall I couldn’t believe my eyes.  There must have been two thousand of them draped everywhere.  Truly it was the most poetic thing any man had ever done.  My bed was a bower, as if I were Tatiana.  I thought he might have been a secret poet from the way he left those.  Like most women I had started to fantasize about what he might be, rather than what he actually was.  That he loved me, I never doubted.

That she wanted to kill me couldn’t have been more obvious.  I was to be his third wife, and she was supposed to want a grandchild but I don’t think she did.  His father might have.  We’d walk in the garden and he’d fill my arms with flowers to take home.  I’d arrange them as Charles came up behind me and slipped his hands up under my shirt unhooking my bra in one deft snap until his hands ran all over my breasts and he’d whisper at my ear that we had time before work, *we really had time,*  and I wanted a baby so much that it seemed possible in those years as if you try and believe everything about marriage is going to be possible and there won’t be any hard things.

“Have a nice day,” his father would say as he waved us off.

Those were our Sunday visits that went on for years while I sipped the tea and grew weaker.  Her venom ate into my brain with each callous word and bitter little smile.

“Oh she was one, that lot,” she’d say.  “Why, she’d never even let us come over.”

His mother went on and on about how terrible his first and second wife had been.  She talked constantly about “her Charles,” in ways I couldn’t really understand until I saw the photographs of her with him when he was about fifteen and just entering manhood.  She was with her son and all his friends as they posed with footballs only it’s what she was wearing.  It’s how she looked around those boys that never fools a camera.  She shouldn’t have been dressed like that, in those short shorts from the 1950’s.  Not around boys that could have been her son.  Not around my Charles. 

Slowly, I think I must have been dying those Sunday afternoons.  Because that’s what other women can do to you sometimes if they are evil.  The tea had weakened me so much over time I felt I was a sonambulist.  Half awake behind lidded eyes.  Year after year as if I were underwater with it.

As she was dying I felt I had to confess everything to my therapist.

I was guilty for telling him I just wanted to stay alive.  “Have a nice day,”  he’d say,  as I left his office.

“Try and find the good.”

The good was wet wonderment down in the harbor as I bobbed willfully in the waves.

My lover had a boat locked away on the far side of the island.  I had to row in the dusk to get to it.  In the hold the light twinkled off the brass lamps gleaming against her painted hull.  He’d be nude as fast as I could speak, his hand having pulled me aboard.  He had little plates of food for the two of us.  He fed me from his fingertips afterwards.

His kiss was a stream of life and of light that managed to moor me aboard “The Hope.”

I never said anything aloud but I felt it was his baby that could come, after the long dry years.  I had no idea how I was going to be able to explain it and I didn’t care.  I was wanton, pulling him into me, licking the life off his lips, listening about his grown children and how his wife had left him.

It was good standing up holding the ladder as he fucked me from behind, the sheer momentum of his pelvis against mine; the thumps and the giggles at the sounds we made as the little cabin heated up and the excitement, the constant excitement that he was, his hands running over me as if he were plotting a course towards nirvana. 

The run away from death, and the stench of hatred coming from the room where I said I’d help to tend her as she lay dying.

I’ll never know why they wanted to make me one of them.  I guess they felt that if they could kill my soul off I’d just be quiet like a good girl and sit in the corner happy to sip from her poisonous flowery cups.  After his father passed it was the worst, because it was just the two of them, and me, and I’d sit there in the quiet and the clock would be ticking and the whole thing was fading into piles and piles of old photographs of England and North Africa and places they had been after the war, and tales of how they’d managed all the air raids until I couldn’t even breathe with the way she was looking at him.  Her eyes pleading in the suffocating closeness.

“Hope” was waiting.  She lay offshore only several yards.

Hope was his hands and his breath and my legs that wrapped around him pulling him inside, sucking him in to get closer, never wanting to feel himself retract.  Life was my clenching interior, clamping down hard on him as he sighed and cried out to god in little half breaths, panting, ecstasy coming over his face until it turned angelic above me.

He told me he’d like to bind me so I could never leave him, as if he were a kind of pirate rather than just an ordinary sailor.  He wanted me splayed open under the moon, as his figurehead.  “We can run for the Galapagos,” he said, but I was so weak from the years of her he didn’t know I was barely alive, barely breathing.  He fed me tangerines and the fruit dribbled between us until we fucked in the secret scent of orange, coming more alive in his hands each time, little by little, the juice between our thighs as we laughed and rolled to leeward.

“Don’t ever leave me,” he said.

“Don’t ever leave me,” was what I’d said to Charles just like that once upon a time.  The night we lay in the midst of all his scattered roses.  The night upon night he kept proposing.  Night after night until he wore me down and I finally said yes.

The years of tea laced with his mother’s Datura leaves had gotten the better of me. 

The years of listening to the clock tick and tick and tock, and time chiming — time chiming out my fate the way time chimes for all of us.

The Galapagos shimmered like an orgasm offshore, in a dream, intangible, under sun, a l’orange.

I let my head fall back while my lover frigged me, his fingers everywhere, the soft sound of his lips against my neck calling my name over and over,  his hands pinioning mine above my head.

“I’m just going to have to tie you,” he said.  “So you can’t go.”

“You’ll be mine to plunder forever and ever.”

“I have to get back,” I said.  “Soon.”

The light was reddening into afternoon, the seabirds shrieking as the fishing boats came in.  We rocked together in the wake, his penis inside me, so incredibly hard.  He couldn’t come.  That baby I was so desperate for was never going to happen.   Not with him either.   His tubes had been tied.  He didn’t tell me that until later.

Don’t ever let yourself become like me.  Don’t ever become one of the undead forced to live imprisoned as I have been.  In shackles and without the baby you dreamed about.  Knowing what I do now, his mother had something to do with the fact I could never conceive.  She’d made me into one of the living dead like she was.  She’d groomed me for years to take her place in the matriarchy.  She’d wanted a mother for him, for her son, out of me.

Charles wanders the manse now like a ghost and I look out the windows at the last of his late father’s roses.  I wonder sometimes if only I had gotten to the Galapagos, if I could have freed myself from the spell she wove around me like a fairy tale... like the kind of web a spider weaves just before it moves on its prey.  If I could have taken off the ring I swore to abide by. 

I cry all the time but only in the presence of my therapist.  In the window hangs a plastic remnant of the life that was his mother’s that he can’t bear to part with.  It’s a little golden bear on a plaque sitting amid some daisies. 

“Have a nice day,” it says.

© 2013 Valentine Bonnaire. All rights reserved. Content may not be copied or used in whole or part without written permission from the author.

Bio: : Valentine Bonnaire's erotica has appeared at and the Erotica Readers and Writers Association. Find her in the archives, and this Spring in one of Maxim's. More on her webpage xxoo! or @bonnaire in the twitterverse.


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