Radio

There he is, sitting by the bathtub, shaking like he has been sitting on the electrical chair, but he is still alive. His hand is touching a Valentine’s Day card saying “To Nick”. He feels sick and throws up into the toilet, hoping that he could maybe choke on his own puke.

***

I studied her well. People never change once they passed twenty; they try to feel young again and realize that there’s something wrong. The older you grow, the colder your blood becomes: “The same flower that smiles today tomorrow will be dying”. Daisy cheated on me six times in two years, which means she’d fucked seven men in two years. She loved me, she loved me not, she loved me – I simply didn’t know. I tried to give her anything she ever wanted; I had never made so much effort for someone in my life before. I even cooked for Daisy, even if I just came home from work – tired. Sometimes I wasn’t sure if I just felt sorry for her or if I really did want to do all that for her. Her mother was a “courtesan” in her words and I never knew if she meant prostitute or what, but I knew her mother was a whore just like her. She never knew her father and neither did her mother. She had an elder half brother as well from her mother’s first marriage, but I’d never met him. I only knew that she adored him as a brother. She described him as tall with strong shoulders, always nicely tanned and shiny blue eyes.
Daisy was scared of being alone. I always thought that was a man’s problem, but no, it was Daisy’s problem. She was special; like the sunshine in my room on a warm afternoon in May. Just like Hemingway I knew there always would be spring. Wishing Daisy and me a new beginning after each row was very important to me. It had to be in spring. Though she never started cheating me on me during spring time; I wouldn’t have been able to cope with it. But that spring was an exception – unfortunately. It was worse than the last 6 1/2 times. I started carrying one single condom with me every time I went out, which I never ever did before. I wanted some sort of revenge, which I knew I wouldn’t be able to manage.
One time she had left a party, drunk, and I was about to pick her up, because she wouldn’t answer the phone. I saw her with him. Her laugh resembled that of a choking hyena and the body of a whore, which I adored. He had his arms around her waist and one hand pretending that it had accidentally touched her breasts. She swung her hair into his face like she’d never done to me. As they were walking down the road, he pulled a condom out of his pocket, which she immediately threw away.
“I’m on the pill you dumb shit!”
But he didn’t look impressed and friendly shook his head: “No, Daisy, sorry. I don’t do that…”
She started freaking out like she would do with me when I wouldn’t do things her way. Why did she treat everyone the same? Slowly he started walking back to the party and waved goodbye to her.
“Prick!” she shouted.
After that incident I started walking towards her with hot blood and clenched fists.
“Oh hullo baby, there you are! Take me home!”
She flung her arms around me and I felt like having a snake around my neck. But my blood turned cold and I didn’t know what was going on. I just smelled vodka and cigarettes on her, which prevented me from responding to her hug. But I didn’t want to start an argument, so I faked the way I held her. She noticed no difference.
“Where’s your car?”
“I’m not with a car…”
“What?!”
I wondered whether she had kissed that guy or not.
“What are you like? Picking me up without a car?!”
Maybe he had already fingered her at the party. I wondered if she was wearing any underwear at that moment.
“For fuck’s sake! Screw you!”
“Walking is a good way to get sober again, though.”
“I said screw you!”
As she began to walk back to the party, I grabbed her shoulders and turned her violently back to me. I kissed her very hard and dragged her away from the road. Before she put her hand into my trousers, I put my hand under her skirt and felt her underwear. I kissed her even harder and pressed her against the lamppost, which was the way a whore would love. As I was penetrating her, I saw her breathing heavily and she put both her arms around the lamppost, as if she was chained to it. I knew I was good, but why couldn’t she just be mine?
Back at home she would always do the same: throwing my books on the floor, saying how much she hated them and the fact that they were all over the place in our apartment. I could’ve said that about her shoes, but I didn’t. She started tidying or packing, one or the other. I wasn’t sure, although I was watching her attentively, but she didn’t seem to know what she was doing, apart from freaking out.
Saturdays were the worst days ever created. Those days would swallow her up like an alcoholic would gulp his sixteen large cans of beer; and all those in a single night.
I would follow her out into clubs and pubs, breathing in all the smoke, taking in every man’s comment about Daisy, when she was dancing. I wondered which of them she would kiss, before coming home. So, instead of lying awake all night, I’d just follow her out – uninvited. No one would even notice me, not even Daisy. She blindly chatted me up before, but it was too dark for her to recognize my face. However, the idea of her chatting up her own boyfriend made me very proud. I didn’t see her drinking much that night and she had been with her female friends all the time. She looked preoccupied, rather unhappy, which surprised me, because she was never like that on Saturdays, unless she was with me. I enjoyed watching her unhappy, it sort of warmed up my body. Nevertheless, this changed as soon as a bloke started talking to her. Her eyes awoke in curiosity; she checked him out from bottom to top, whereas he did it the other way round. He was tall, tanned so dark that he looked foreign and his blue eyes were so shiny that they hurt my eyes. They were hugging each other already, as if they’d known each other for ages. She started laughing and I had had enough. I left and went to the park, where I sat down on a bench next to a lamppost and started reading Othello, until a middle aged woman in miniskirt came up to me asking for a lighter. I recognized Daisy’s mother on the spot, but she had no idea who I was, because she was off her fucking head. I only had matches to offer, because I loved the smell of them. As soon as she had lit her cigarette I realized that it was a joint; it smelt like burnt rubber. She was exactly Daisy, fifteen to twenty years older, but with dyed red hair instead of blonde.
“What are you doing this time at night, sweetheart? Looking for love?”
I kept silent for a while and in fact, her question raised a kind of curiosity in me.
“Yes.”
“Have you got twenty five on you?”
I gave her the money and simply waited for what was going to happen next. She passed me her joint, which I rejected.
“I’m doing discount for you, sweetheart. Yours or mine?”
“Excuse me?” I asked.
“We going yours or mine?”
“Why not just stay here?”
She was laughing her head off and stood up, walking around the lamppost.
“Come here to me.”
I stood up and approached her only slowly. I had a lot going on in my head that night and I had the impression that she was way softer than Daisy was. I was seeing something maternal in her, but I wasn’t too sure. It struck me that she didn’t even recognize her future son-in-law. Though, on the other hand who ever did recognize me? Daisy?
As I reached the lamppost, she started pressing me against it and I felt like I was in the wrong position. Her fingers were stroking my dick and slowly unbuttoning my trousers.
She knelt down and looked at me and I saw Daisy’s face all over the sudden. My beautiful Daisy. As she took it out, I realized that it wasn’t Daisy and twitched.
“You ok, sweetheart?”
“No, unless you let me use this.”
I took the condom out of my pocket and gave it to her with my shaky hands. I noticed how heavily I was breathing and that sweat was running down my forehead. She began to laugh her head off again; this time it sounded even worse, it hurt my ears and irritated me vehemently.
“An out of date condom for a blow-job? You must think I’ve got aids or something!”
“Shut up!”
But she wouldn’t stop laughing at me. When I thought I heard someone, I put my dick back into my trousers and began to run. I remembered that I had forgotten my book, but it was more important to me to save myself from that evil laugh. I felt humiliated and disgusted. I stopped, in order to make myself sick and then I began to walk back home.
Daisy was in bed and I thought it must’ve been about three in the morning, but it was only half past one. She was lying there with her back facing me. I could smell that she had had a bath, which was unusual, because she usually had one in the morning. She smelt very nice and clean, I didn’t smell any smoke, except partly on me.
“Where have you been?” She never asked me that before, but that was probably because I was never out.
“In the park and left my book there”, I answered.
She sounded soft and quiet and didn’t raise her voice once.
“You seen anyone nice tonight?” I suddenly asked with a very unfriendly and nearly attacking manner. I didn’t know why I asked her, probably because I saw her with someone and I just wanted to see what she would tell me.
“No.”
I clenched my fists and forced myself to sleep.
It was Valentine’s Day and she mentioned that she wanted some white roses, but
I refused. If she really wanted roses, I’d only get her red ones. After all, she ended up buying white ones herself. I didn’t speak to her that day; neither did she talk to me. I simply didn’t want to start a fight, but I didn’t want her to leave me on my own that day, either. However, I ended up sitting on my own in the apartment, reading.
The ring I got her was kept safe; although I knew that I kept it in the third drawer, but found it in the second one. I didn’t expect a present from her; she never did get any for me, for whatever occasion. She didn’t have a bath before she went out, because she’d already had one the night before she went to bed. Before carrying on with reading, I found a note on the floor, saying: “Meet you at Frankie’s Diner at half three.”
I couldn’t figure out whether it was her handwriting or not, but I didn’t care, because we had a date and it was already twenty-five past. I was in such a hurry that I even forgot to take her ring with me. I wouldn’t have forgiven myself, if I had arrived late. But as soon as I was standing across the road from Frankie’s Diner, I saw her with him. It was that guy from the club the night before with the heavy tan and stinging blue eyes. My heart was standing still and my body was shaking so hard, as if I was sitting on the electrical chair. I was standing there for at least half an hour, watching her laugh with a Valentine’s Day gift bag on the table. I was waiting for her to open it, but she never did. I walked back into the park and found Othello torn into pieces. I was sitting there next to the lamppost, with children and their mothers walking past me. I was sitting in the park for at least two hours till it got slightly dark and then I started walking home.
When I got to the apartment I smelt roses coming from the bathroom and I heard music, too, but I felt too numb to recognize what it was. I walked quietly into the kitchen to get a knife and eventually I found myself standing in front of the white roses and the Valentine’s Day gift of him, which she still hadn’t yet opened. I didn’t know what I did to my hands, as they were bleeding; bleeding onto the roses. If they only had thorns, I thought. Quietly I walked into the bathroom, slowly opening the door and the music got louder. She was reading a Valentine’s card.
“Oh Christ, you made me jump! What’s up with you? Where have you been?”
She looked so beautiful, but there were no more white roses and never would be.
I picked up the radio of the floor and ensured that it was plugged in. She let go of the card, which fell beside the toilet. For some reason I had Lady Macbeth and Desdemona in my head.
“Darling?” she asked with scared, wide open eyes and I was glad that it was her last
word. A last word to close my mind with.

 

by Paula DeckardĀ (c) 2005

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