Originally published in Bespoke Magazine
I bound up the stairs back to my room and carefully choose my outfit for the day. A grass green cashmere sweater – turtleneck to cover the gash from the liver-grey stray cat that clawed me last night as I choked it to death and dumped it on the new neighbour’s lawn, with a note demanding that he stop flirting with her. A pair of dark charcoal pleated wool trousers, the same ones the now- deceased ex-boyfriend she once loved, wore. An ivory white pair of sneakers with black stripes, vintage to make me look younger because I damn well know she likes them young.
I’d invited her over one weekend – an accident, of course – and a substantial inheritance delivered me from the working classes. Since then, I’ve been religiously setting my alarm to exactly an hour before she does, waking up and mechanically slinking to the balcony to watch her sleep, then slowly wake. As she just did. I’m aroused again as she gets into the shower, despite the cerulean curtain blotting out her nakedness. I tail her down the stairs and into the street, to her car. Start the engine, methodically allowing three vehicles to slide between us. I park outside the café where she works, adjust my hair in the mirror, smear skin-beige foundation on any remaining spots on my face. I grit my teeth in lust and anger and I don’t know why. I pull myself together. Breathe in. March towards the terrace gate. Breathe out and slouch on a stainless steel garden chair. My mouth waters at the sight of her in uniform – black ballerinas, mini-skirt and a sedulously unbuttoned white shirt. She’s always perfect.“Good morning, sir,” she says, ever so cheerfully.
“Good morning, Cindy,” I mutter. My voice never sounds like my own.
“Always so punctual.” She gives me a kittenish wink and my stomach drops. I nod and look down because I know I can’t contain myself. I start to sweat.
“The usual, sir?”
Her scent overwhelms my nostrils. My hands quiver. It takes me back to the moment before her ex died, squealing like a pig as I watched him fade away, with her scent all over him, slowly possessing me, making me feel the way it must’ve felt when he made love to her. I’m trying to speak but my jaw is clenched. My lips are flapping. I’m losing it. My voice is gone. I somehow manage a nod. Thank goodness. She turns around and leaves my side. The same routine. Every single day.