Points of View
By Elinor Woodhouse
surveyed myself critically at the cheval mirror by the light of the
early dawn. My eyes were somber, how often I hear people tell me that
they were my best asset, critics say that they flash sapphire fire when
I do Hamlet, and liquid blue when I act as Romeo. I never really put a
lot of stake into it. My hair is no longer in fashion, but I had always
liked it flowing and unrestricted.
I usually don’t rise as early as I do today, but I had a purpose. Although the trip yesterday took all my time, I didn’t feel tired. My sleep last night at this hotel was, for once, quite dreamless and peaceful. I dressed quickly; my fingers shook a little as I set the merino cap securely to my head, effectively covering the hair. Dark glasses completed the look. Today, my 22nd birthday was going to be an eventful one. I wondered if I should be doing something so rash, but can no longer back out at this late hour. I’m just about to commit a federal offense, and my mind was gleefully looking forward to it.
The cab took an eternity to get to the Mercy Hospital in Chicago. I looked at my watch again; I was just in time. Her shift is going to be over soon, I could picture her clearly in my mind, the cry of the newborn babies in the nursery assailing her ears, for I knew she worked in the maternity ward. She probably could barely keep her eyes open, would she be peering into the glass partition housing rows upon rows of the new infants squealing in their bassinets? Will her blonde locks fall on her cheeks as she pressed her hand against the glass? Will she feel that twinge of maternal longing creeping into her heart? Will she ever think that had she married me her baby would have been…chestnut haired and blue eyed and…I felt tears pricking at the back of my eyes…I will not cry. I came here to redeem myself; I just hope she didn’t read that little piece of news three days ago. No matter, it’s all moot now; soon she will be here…
My friend Mallory, a young nurse who oddly had an ambition to open a chic Salon in Chicago snapped me out my reverie. What was she saying? Oh, she wanted to call a cab for me, noticing that I could barely suppress my yawn; I had been working round the clock for almost twenty four hours now, thank God my shift’s over. Still I knew I needed this, otherwise I will go crazy from all the thoughts running through my head. I shook my head, telling her that I lived only a few blocks away. The walk home would probably clear my head and get rid of this throbbing migraine that wouldn’t stop. I knew the migraine started yesterday morning when I read that he was getting married. I never would have known had Albert not shown me the paper that was printed just three days ago, trust Albert to keep up with these things. I tried to suppress the drowning sensation that I felt every time I dwell on it. I’m stupid… stupid, stupid. It’s time for me to forget and move on; I’m probably the only person in the world who kept on being oblivious about Albert’s feelings for me. Even Sandy Bale, my best friend from the psychiatric ward, swears she will give up her husband Christian if Albert would only look at her twice. Why, even their head nurse Mrs. Cage, pregnant as she was, will run away with him to Timbuktu given some encouragement. What could I do? I just don’t feel anything for him, perhaps I never would. Right now I just want to collapse on my bed, drift on and think…here’s Mallory again, insisting that I get on the cab she ushered for me. She’s a dear, but sometimes quite nosy. I do think she’s quite a romantic, she thinks all I need is my true love to sweep me off my feet. The pain in my head seemed to have doubled now; perhaps that ride in the cab isn’t such a bad idea after all, she’s so sweet, even giving directions to the driver to my apartment, all I have to do is sink into the upholstered seat. I won’t even think of him as I drift off to sleep. Maybe.
I knew I had an odd look on my face as I carried my bundle into the Chicago Hotel.
The hotel clerk eyed me suspiciously and looked at the girl who seemed to be unconscious in my arms. I assured him that there was no trouble; that she was my wife and just fatigued, and I had a reservation under Romeo Montague. I was quite relieved when the clerk acquiesced and all was well. I was able to bring her to my suite without any more hindrance. I laid her gently on the bed and brought the covers up to her knees, sighing as I sat down by the bedside. I stared at her sleeping form, brushing my fingers along her cheek, wondering how long it is since she last slept.
She moaned delicately in her sleep, and a rush of heat coursed through me. I brought the sheets higher up to her waist, and opened a few buttons on her chest, just so she could be more comfortable. Really, that was all I was going to do. When she moaned again I shook all over, no longer able to help myself. I leaned over and kissed her on the mouth.
The slight sensation of softness on my mouth was so pleasant that I knew I was dreaming again. These dreams were always the worst because as all dreams do, they almost always end abruptly. I must be on my bed in my apartment now, funny how I don’t remember even going up the rickety stairs to the third floor; I must have been so sleepy. How pleasant this dream is! He’s kissing me and won’t stop, don’t stop. I don’t want to wake up! I don’t want to recall that you’ll be married soon, and that I can’t even be dreaming of you when you’re a married man…surely that would be a sin, wouldn’t it? I must remember to ask Father O’Reilly when I go to confession. This dream is rather different though, usually my dream is always kisses on the mouth, but now, your hands are touching me…touching me, where are your hands going? This is really weird, the most realistic dream ever, why I don’t even think I’ve ever felt this… Oh, God, I have to wake up now, or I’ll be saying more than double Hail Marys if this dream continues. I forced my eyes to open, and almost screamed as his face loomed into my view.
I felt her eyes flutter open and saw the shock registered on her face. She obviously couldn’t believe it was me. I soothed her with a few more kisses on her face as she slowly scooted away from me, demanding where she was. I smiled, she hadn’t changed, still the prickliest Freckles I have ever known. She asked me again where she was, and why I brought her there. I had to explain, of course, that I couldn’t bear to be away from her any longer, that even though my engagement had been announced to another, I will renege. Her face became whiter still, and for a few moments she couldn’t speak. Was I wrong? Perhaps I expected too much from her? Did she love me? I have to tell her, let her know.
I wasn’t dreaming after all. He was here, in front of me, soothing me with his kisses. Oh, how I love those kisses. Wait! I have to know, have to ask, this is wrong! I was here, in a strange hotel room. What was he doing? Wasn’t he getting married in a few days time? And then he told me, how he planned this all along, as soon as the engagement was announced, he couldn’t stomach the idea of marrying another woman other than me. He found out where I worked, my shifts, and drove all the way from New York, no matter what the cost. I wondered if Mallory played a part in all this, she was the one who bundled me to the cab, when I opened my mouth to ask, he claimed it again to kiss me.
love you, Freckles, say you’ll marry me, or I shall have to stay here
in this hotel room to persuade you.” I told her, hoping she’ll say no
for a little while, since I have several ideas in mind to convince her.
She sighed, smiling tremulously, tears shining in her eyes, the whiteness that I saw now slowly ebbing away.
“What about, what about…the other woman?”she asked, as always her compassionate heart never failed to astound me.
“She knows…I told her I could never marry her…my heart only belongs to you…”
pulled me tightly to his chest as he stroked my hair. Will we ever be
completely happy knowing that another woman who loved him was
suffering? But I had to give myself a chance, I deserved some happiness
too, and I loved him so very much.
“Yes, yes, I love you and I’ll marry you,” I whispered, as he hugged me closer and I turned my face toward his.
I twisted my shoulders to relieve the crick in my neck after hunching over my laptop for the last two hours. What a pathetic attempt! My editor candyterry and Lady Gato will surely have my hide for this, they wanted me to write something sexy and sultry, and this is what I came up with. Sexy? Sultry? I better eat some more oysters; just maybe Candy and Terry will get into action afterwards. Ahh, yes, the muse is here now, and there’s not even one reference to the Chipie on it.