Radio

He is sitting by the bathtub, shaking like he was in the electric chair, but he is still alive. His hand is touching a Valentine’s Day card saying, “To Nick – I love you with all my heart.”. He feels sick and throws up in the toilet, wishing to choke on his own puke.

***

I studied her well. People never change once they pass twenty; they try to feel young again and realize 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 had fucked seven men in two years. She loved me, she loved me not, she loved me – I didn’t know. I gave her anything she ever wanted; I had never made so much effort for anyone in my life. I cooked for Daisy, even when feeling tired after work. Sometimes I wasn’t sure if I just felt sorry for her or whether I did want to do all that for her. Her mother was a “courtesan” in her words, and I never knew if she meant a 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; I’d never met him. I only knew that she adored him while she was the bastard daughter. She would describe her brother as muscular and tanned.
Daisy was scared of being alone. I always thought that was a man’s problem, but no, it was Daisy’s. She was unique, as 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 significant to me. It had to be in spring. Though she never cheated on me during spring, 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 did before. I wanted some sort of revenge, which I wouldn’t be able to pull through.
One night, I went to pick her up from a party; she wouldn’t pick up the phone. She was drunk. That was when I saw her with him. Her laugh resembled that of a choking hyena and the body of a whore, which I adored. He had one arm around her waist and one hand on her breast. She swung her hair into his face in a way 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. In this case, she treated everyone the same. Slowly he started walking back to the party and waved goodbye to her.
“Prick!” she shouted.
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. It felt like a snake was crawling 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 stopped me from responding to the hug. I didn’t want to start an argument either, so I faked the way I held her. She noticed no difference.
“Where’s your car?”
“I walked.”
“What?!”
I wondered whether she had kissed that guy at the party.
“Who are you? Picking me up without a car?!”
Maybe he had already fingered her at the party. I wondered if she was wearing any underwear.
“For fuck’s sake! Screw you!”
“Walking is a good way to get sober again, Daisy.”
“I said, screw you!”
She was walking back to the party, but I grabbed her shoulders and turned her violently towards me. I kissed her hard on the mouth 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 kept kissing her and pressed her against the lamppost–the way a whore would love. As I was penetrating her, I watched her breathe heavily. She wrapped both her arms around the lamppost as if she was chained to it. I knew I was good, but why couldn’t she be mine?
Back in our apartment, she would always throw my books on the floor and tell me to stop acting like an academic. I could’ve said that about her fake designer shoes, but I didn’t. She started tidying or packing, one or the other. 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 ten bottles of liquor–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 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.

On the following Saturday, I didn’t see her drink much in the club. She had been with her female friends all the time. She looked preoccupied, unhappy. It surprised me because she was never like that on Saturdays unless she was with me. I enjoyed watching her miserable; it sort of warmed me up. However, this changed as soon as a bloke started talking to her. She checked him out from bottom to top, and her eyes began to glow. He was tall, tanned so dark that he looked foreign. They were hugging as if they’d known each other for ages. She started laughing. 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 a miniskirt came up to me and asked 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. After lighting it, I realised 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 waited for what was going to happen next. She passed me her joint, which I rejected.
“I’m doing a discount for you, sweetheart. Yours or mine?”
“Excuse me?” I asked.
“Are we going to yours or mine?”
“Why not just stay here?”
She was laughing her head off and stood up, walking around the lamppost.
“Come here.”
I approached her only slowly. A lot was going on in my head that night, and I had the impression that she was way gentler than Daisy. There was something maternal in her, but I wasn’t sure. It struck me that she didn’t even recognize her future son-in-law. Well, whoever did recognize me? Daisy?
As I reached the lamppost, she started pressing me against it. Her fingers were stroking my dick and then slowly unbuttoning my trousers. She went on her knees and looked up at me. All I saw was Daisy’s face. My beautiful Daisy. As she took it out, I realized that it wasn’t Daisy and moved away.
“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. Sweat was running down my forehead, and my breathing was irregular. She began to laugh again; this time, it sounded even worse. My ears hurt.
“An out-of-date condom for a blow-job? Are you for real?”
“Shut up!”
She wouldn’t stop laughing at me. When I thought I heard someone, I put my dick back in my pants and began to run. I had forgotten my book, but it didn’t matter. I felt humiliated and disgusted. I walked into a bush and made myself sick before walking home.
Daisy was in bed. It felt like 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 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,” I said.
She sounded soft and sober.
“Did you see anyone nice tonight?” I said, not knowing why I did. 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 talk to her that day; neither did she talk to me. I didn’t want to start a fight, but I also didn’t want her to leave me on my own that day. However, I ended up sitting on my own in the apartment, reading.
The ring I got her was kept safe. I had 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 no matter what occasion. She didn’t have a bath before she went out because she’d already had one the night before bed. 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, we had a date, and it was already twenty-five past. I was in such a hurry that I  forgot to take the ring with me. 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. My heart was standing still, and my body was shaking. I stood 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’d spent at least two hours in the park. When it was getting dark, I started walking home.
I smelt roses coming from the bathroom in the apartment, and I heard music, too, but I felt too numb to recognize what it was. I tiptoed into the kitchen to get a knife and eventually found myself standing in front of a bunch of white roses with thorny stems and his Valentine’s Day gift, which she still hadn’t opened. I took a rose, and my palm began to bleed. Then, I walked into the bathroom, slowly opening the door, and the music got louder. She was reading a Valentine’s Day card.
“Oh, Christ, you scared me! Where have you been?”
She looked so beautiful, but there were no more white roses and never would be.
I picked up the radio that was playing her terrible music. Daisy let go of the card, which fell beside the toilet. For some reason, I had Lady Macbeth and Desdemona in my head.
“Nick…” she whimpered–eyes wide open.

 

by P-chan (c) 2005

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