Sunday, December 31, 2017

David Russell writes


Part IV

The drizzly bustle of London felt quite refreshing on her return. Now was the time for the reportage and the post-mortem, the reunion with the tales to tell.

The accounts were now evened with her old college bete noire, her embarrassing conscience. Janice, somewhat chastened by divorce and litigation, came to the door. “Welcome back, Selene; you look like the blooming picture of health! Come in; make yourself comfortable; I want to hear all the details.”

The gym and the tanning parlour had in no way been neglected by Janice, but abrasive experience had left its tangible mark. Selene felt a twinge of longing to bring her ex-rival back to ebullient life. The full development of Janice’s careerism and Selene’s cynicism made both of them feel like calling things quits. 

They nestled together on the sofa; the memoirs flowed with total ease. Janice hung on to her every word. “Oh Selene; I feel so happy for you; I almost feel myself fulfilled through you; I half imagined myself filling your role.” She blushed a little. “I feel so guilty about the way I carped at you through the years – but it was because, underneath it all, I love you dearly. And I know you can guide and steer me to have my never-to-be forgotten encounter.” 

“Janice, I want to inspire you. You should really rummage in your mind and memory to pinpoint your most secret desires and yearnings; go to the depths of the wildest books and films you know for things to re-enact. And if you’d like a little dress-rehearsal, and un-dress rehearsal with me, I can be my androgynous self and play the part of your lover.”

So, a happy culmination in the form of a blithe threesome – Selene, Janice and Dr Jamieson. 

Selene embraced Dr Jamieson and squeezed her waist. “It was your solid, reliable advice which enabled me to let go, utterly carefree, in wild abandonment. You convinced me to the bottom of my heart that my experience was the prime, the peak, of health. I’d love to compare notes with you.”

Dr Jamieson blushed and hesitated a little – many medics are, after all, somewhat given to prudishness. But she took a deep breath and overcame her reticence.

“I’m so glad of that. Actually, I was going through a bit of heartbreak when I was advising you – it was one of those charismatic bastards who really hurt – led me up to the ionosphere, then dashed me into the abyss. But seeing you so positive, so aglow, with such an untrammeled sense of purpose, renewed my hope and confidence, and...” there was a twinkle in her eye, “something happened to put this right. He was a total, lovely stranger, and we swept each other up almost without speaking. He had to go, but told me he was my supreme curer. She sighed: “I’ve got three houses now; I need to fill one or more of them from time to time, and now I can bring myself to do so. You made me feel I could take the steps to come out of my shell. My patient: you are my teacher.”

“Listen, girls”, said Selene, “we all have our masculine and feminine sides. We appreciate both firm, athletic women and slender, feminine men. Let’s do a bit of role-swapping, taking on the identities of our ideal lovers. Come on: we’ve all messed around on the peripheries of this at drama therapy sessions. Now we have surmounted our barriers to each other, let’s take things several steps further.”

The three women’s repressed egos burst deliciously out of their shells. For years Selene had an obsession with her doctor, which she never dared to utter, to confide to anyone. Those earrings, those blouse buttons radiated through the clinical advice; her fingers itched to undo them. As for Janice, they used to have many a mock fight – pull each other’s hair? Was there something underlying between them, which could now come out? The trio made a perfect mutual admiration society in their silken retro underwear. 

“It’s not just one way, darling; we were always each other’s guiding lights; we are the true duo-directionals.”

All three had brought their fantasy wardrobes. Janice and Dr Jamieson revealed that they had both been on clothes shopping binges when they had their big, painful split-ups. Selene’s accounts of her experiences gave both of them a role model, and the figure of a lover to strive for. The art of kissing was brought to an exquisite pitch of refinement.

Janice and Dr Jamieson showed off the letters, emails and pictures of the men they had their eyes on. Character studies gradually emerged of the two potential partners. Janice had come to focus on Romulus, a Quantity Surveyor, and Dr Jamieson on Humbert, a heart surgeon. Romulus had a square jaw, and an overall chiseled appearance; Humbert was taller, more aquiline.

“Well,” mused Selene, “I’ve got Melville on call; so let’s think in terms of a six-some.” The other two beamed with delight. 

Then came the fashion parade; all three of them brought their fantasy wardrobes, embracing chic up-to-date and retro. Interestingly, they all had experience as wardrobe mistresses in amateur theatricals, and got a kick out of dressing and undressing the actors and actresses. Now they could do so with each other, and be exquisitely, tenderly tactile in the process. Through the cooperation there was a parade of femmes fatales through the decades and the centuries.   

As they were getting deliciously turned on, Selene raised her hand in a ‘halt’ sign. “Now girls; as a climax, I’ve got a really special treat in store for you.” She disappeared into the back room; The other two were agog with anticipation. At last appeared, luminous and resplendent in her priestess robes – fragrant and freshly laundered, illuminated into a dazzling spectrum of colour by a subdued light. The other two were agog with delight: “Selene – we worship you”. They stripped down to white corsets and bowed to her in adoration. The ceremony fed them with beautiful thoughts about parallel rites with their male lovers. What about getting them to parade in a Mr Universe contest and flaunt their rippling physiques? What about them having their separate trysts and then comparing notes on a girls’ night out? What about alternating – drawing lots for who should go with whom, and then all coming blissfully together in a spirit of shared love?

They all drew fantasy pictures of each of their three men, nude and in trunks. Each described the setting of her next seduction, and plotted all the details of their lovers’ attire, through the textures of all the fabrics, down to the last button and zip. They even imagined having telepathic, heliographic full-length mirrors so that they could flash images of their lovers’ forms to each other.

So, for Selene the holiday had been vindicated. It was both more and less than she had expected. The satisfaction could last her another few years. And the rapprochement with Janice and Dr Jamieson was a crowning achievement, for the old sense of estrangement had been eating away at her. So she could rest on the laurels of her memories, new and old. Something told her it might be tempting providence to go a third time – for now drug-dealing and terrorism seemed to lurk in the background of every holiday paradise. The genuinely exotic were becoming ever rarer, ever more life-threatening. Selene liked to flirt with mortal danger, but no more than that – she steered clear of hang-gliding and bungee jumping. Her experience, and her example, were so wholesome. She had heard it was becoming all the rage for a lot of women to hire male prostitutes. She saw in the news that there had been a bomb attack on the aircraft which followed her return flight. She breathed a sigh of relief; at least the mortal perils did not come too near.

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