Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Pieces of You

I wrote this story today. Would love to know what you think.

My dear Louise, will you marry me? Will you give me your body, your heart, will you let me penetrate that secret, private part of you? And most of all, will you let me take you away from Brendan, that awful husband of yours?

You don’t know this, but I saw him hit you once. It was in the depth of night, in your remote cottage, which looks so cheery during the day, all covered in white roses, dancing prettily in the sun. White blooms against dark pink bricks, a pink that so accurately matches the inside of your lip, the lip he punctured that night. He was raging, his face flushed. Oh, I know you will say he had been drinking, but is that really an excuse?

There you were, so fragile, so breakable, your hair a blonde halo around your head, eyes wide, taking his abuse. I saw it all through the window. You will probably say, why didn’t I knock at the door, make myself known? Well, to tell you the truth, I wanted to, especially when he slapped the side of your face. Your scream drilled through me. I almost lost it, ran in to save you from the monster. I was about to, but I held myself back. Your white fingers going up to your lip, blood splashing onto your pale blue nightgown, all the fury seeping out of his eyes, and now he was crying. Crying! After what he’d done to you. And then you leant your head back, exposing your precious neck, a neck as bendable and delicate as a daisy stem, and you kissed him with hunger. How could you kiss him, smear him in your blood, and how could you let him kneel before you, lift your gown and bury his face between your naked thighs? How could you, Louise? How could you do such a thing?

Then your blue-gray eyes lost focus, growing cloudy, and he pulled you to the ground. I could watch no more. I turned and fled.

My dear Louise, is there anyone who knows your little eccentricities like I do? How you stumble bleary eyed down the garden path some mornings, wearing mismatched shoes, before driving off in your ancient Mini? Or how you put two artificial sweeteners in your tea, a manifestation of some unfounded anxiety about your looks?

Does anyone know the real you like I do? They all think they do, because they’ve heard your voice, soft as kitten fur, as you read your books out on the radio. Because they’ve seen you, all dolled up on some TV program, talking about how you write four books a year, and that it’s not so hard, all you need is discipline. How I laughed when I thought of all the times I’ve seen you tear up sheaves of typed paper, how I’ve seen you reach for those cigarettes you never smoke in front of Brendan, and smoked three or four, one after the other, tears running down your face in frustration. Why do you lie to your public, to all those desperate housewives who devour your romances, one hand down their knickers, idly playing with themselves as they imagine themselves ravaged by some long haired hunk who is keeping them prisoner in his castle in Monte Carlo?

I know that you don’t have time to reply to all my letters, but the ones you sent me are kept under my pillow. I know them all by heart. Right from the beginning there was a connection, wasn’t there? I told you I loved your books and you wrote back that you were always so surprised at how many men read them. But what should be so surprising about it, my sweet? As soon as the first line is read, time stands still, the tale unfolds. One is helpless but to read and read. Normal life is suspended. And I don’t like it, don’t like it one bit when I hear you say, “Oh, my books are pure fantasy. Love like that doesn’t exist.” And I want to scream at the radio, “Well of course it doesn’t, because you are living with a big hairy brute, who is at least twenty pounds overweight, and so what if he is some high flying banker, he takes his clothes off and leaves them lying there for you to pick up, and leaves half drunk glasses of whiskey standing on every surface, their dark orange color reminiscent of urine samples. And now answer me this: Does he ever buy you flowers? And I don’t mean the bedraggled kind you get from the petrol garage, that I’ve seen him insult you with once or twice.

Do you think it’s presumptuous of me to ask for your hand? I don’t, since I feel I know you so well, after all. I even know how you smell. I snuck into the cottage a few months back and stole a pair of knickers from your laundry basket, pink cotton with green polka dots. There was one perfect golden hair stuck to the crotch. When I pressed the knickers to my face, they smelt of the sea. I still have that hair, and the knickers still smell, faintly, of you. Or maybe they don’t. Maybe it is the memory of the smell that still lingers, all consuming.

It hurt that time you wrote, “Please do not write to me again. Your letters are long and incoherent, and I feel you want an intimate relationship with me, where none should exist. I have had problems with stalkers before and have, on occasion, had to involve the police.”

I believe that letter was a prank, a joke, for we both know all the feelings we've shared, the jokes we’ve told, the plans we’ve made. The list of places I made, of where we would travel to together, once every piece of you was inside of me, all the pieces stacked together like one of those Russian dolls.

I would screw the last doll down so tight. It would be dark in there and you would be safe.

Just pieces of you, surrounded by pieces of me.

So will you marry me, my darling? If the answer is yes, just leave your door ajar.


meva said...

Scary! Very well written, Emma. What a creep!

A Liquid Blue said...

oooooooooooh! deee-lish-us!!! very very subtly macabre... i love this genre, and you've done it so well! great job, Emma, you're clearly very good at this.

Freddy said...

oh but you're good!

I am in awe of you Emma K,
I bow in front of you and plead to be allowed to lick your feet
or anywhere else?

Troika said...

Emma, no offence, but it's just awful.

There's not a sentence in there that isn't a cliche and it's not very original.

I think the idea is alright but the character is flawed and unbelievable. It just hasn't worked.

A good editor could tidy it up a bit I suppose, but you need to rethink the basic premise.

EmmaK said...

meva....thanks, glad you enjoyed it.

a liquid blue....glad it gave you a bit of a cold thrill.

freddy....thanks, I like to have my feet licked. Be my guest. did I know you were going to say that? To be honest I wrote it in an hour, so maybe it does need some work. I will leave it for a while, edit it later. Have you ever written any fiction? If so, put it up on your blog.

Midnight said...

I found it hard to concentrate after cricking my neck looking at the photo of the woman in the skimpy bikini.

Chris said...

Actually I did like it. This is a good thing, as normally the words "I just wrote this, see what you think" provoke a kind of head-slapping agony in me.

If I have a criticism, it is that it reveals its "twist" too early. Somewhere around the "you don’t know this, but I saw him hit you once. It was in the depth of night, in your remote cottage, which looks so cheery during the day, all covered in white roses, dancing prettily in the sun" bit...

Maybe it's the word "remote". It's surprising what one little word can do, is it not?

The russian dolls bit was great. But yes a bit creepy!

Troika said...

I didn't say that because that's what I was expected to write.

I have tried my hand at some fiction but it has all been utter shite, complete crap.

A good quote from someone (can't remember) that I'm probably going to quote wrong:

If you're editing your own work and you come across a bit that you think is particularly brilliant, strike it out.

meva said...

BTW, Emma. Has anyone commented on what fabulous legs you have?

EmmaK said...

midnight...that will teach me to put up women in their underwear when I am looking for some serious literary criticism ;)

chris...thanks for taking the time to read and crit this, I am most grateful. Yes, I will rewrite it with the 'twist' coming later on.

troika....yeah, the advice is 'kill your darlings' i.e. cut the parts of a work that are great in themselves but which unbalance the work as a whole.

I don't think your fiction can be that bad. I think you're a pretty good writer, if you can stand to take a compliment.

meva...thank you...I have had compliments before about my legs but I am always happy to have another one.

Janet a.k.a. "Wonder Mom" said...

Oh my goodness..more more...I want to read more...That was fantastic...

rivergirlie said...

very creepy - and increasingly so. it sounds so benign at first. very skillful manipulation of the reader. i actually had goosepimples by the end!