The Replacement Wife (part two - Madeleine - II.)
By Juliet OC
- 1108 reads
II. The sun was pouring through the window of Marion’s consulting room making my right eye water.
“I can’t wait for a blowjob. That’s what he said, the second day after the operation.”
“And what?” I said, staring at Marion as she continued to water the ferns on the windowsill. She may have been mumsy in build and demeanour, wearing high-waisted jeans with a red t-shirt tucked in, but she was unshockable. She carried the small metal watering can over to the yucca in front of the boarded up fireplace.
“Was it worth the wait?” She straightened and grinned at me.
Sun, wind, rain, anything and everything made my eye tear up, which is what prompted Marion to ask me about Flynn’s reaction to the surgery.
“I’ve had no complaints,” I said, returning the grin, my hand covering the lower half of my face. “In fact, he used to joke it was even better than before.”
“Is that what Flynn does to cope? Make a joke out of your illness?”
“He makes a joke out of everything. He doesn’t think life should be taken seriously. We are insignificant dots in a vast universe. A blip. A moment in time.”
“Is that what you think?”
My smile faded. “I don’t know what I think. But that’s not what is bothering me. I guess I’ll find out soon enough. Won’t I?”
“So what is bothering you?” Marion came and sat in the chair beside me.
“Flynn. He’s distant. We’re not. We haven’t, you know… since.”
“You haven’t made love.”
“Yes. No I mean. We haven’t. Not since December. I’m sure you are going to tell me it’s normal. I mean why would he want to sleep with me? But then I think. I haven’t changed. I’m still the same.”
“Oh my love,” Marion said and clasped my hand in her soft, doughy ones. “You’ve both suffered a loss. A terminal prognosis takes the stuffing out of you. If he loves you half as much as I know you love him then the intimacy will return.”
Marion’s words were comforting. She had counselled people like me before. It was safe here. A place I could let out some of my fears. The ones lurking at the edges, not the ones I couldn’t get a hold on; the ice cold shadows beneath.
“Spain will do us good.”
“Is that with your sister?”
“Yes. Grace is trying to make moments. You know. Last holiday together. She’s already belly aching about us coming for Christmas. Flynn and I have never spent Christmas in the UK. Except the first one and that was only because we were broke. I’m gonna have to think of somewhere to go.”
“What about India? Last time we talked you said you’d always wanted to go there. Have you discussed it with Flynn?”
“No.” I shrugged. “He hasn’t been in his new job long enough and we don’t have the money. Moving three times in four years is certainly costly.”
“But you were so keen the last time I saw you. What’s changed?”
“I just told you… no money and…” I paused, my throat yawning with tears. “I’m frightened it will lead to a conversation about our future and the fact we don’t have one, do we?”
“It’s a different one, but it is still a future.”
The tears came properly. “I catch him looking at me sometimes like he’s disgusted and I think… I think he wishes I was already dead.”
“Come here.” I leant into her soft bosom and she rubbed my back. “You are here. You’re not dead. You need to remind him of that. You need talk to him about India. You both need to make plans for your future.”
“But what if he doesn’t want to come? What if…” I paused as one of those nameless shape shifting fears bubbled up. “What if he decides to leave me?”
Marion nodded gently. “No one knows what will happen in the future. I can’t tell you that your marriage will survive this. Not all marriages do. But doing nothing, remaining frozen like this is not going to make it any less or more likely.”
She sat back and handed me a tissue from the box on the table.
“This is what it means to be strong Madeleine. Remember when you said to me in our first meeting how you were sick of people telling you how brave and strong you are, like you had a choice in getting cancer. You’re right, you had no choice. You had to go through the operation and treatments, but you do get a choice in how you live out the rest of your life. You can remain fearful and do nothing, wasting the time you have left, or you can seize your future and achieve some of the things you always wanted to, like travelling to India.”
“You’re right,” I said, with a wobbly voice. “I’ll do some research on travelling and volunteering and then I’ll talk to Flynn. Maybe if we don’t plan to go until the autumn it will be easier to ask for extended leave. It will solve the Christmas problem too.”
Marion made me feel like it was possible, and on my next appointment she mentioned she done some research into early retirement as a way of funding the trip. Initially I’d refused to entertain the idea, but on talking it through I realised I was associating it with dying rather than seeing it as a way to live the final part of my life to the full. Marion set me two tasks. The first was to enquire into whether I would be a suitable candidate for early retirement and the second was to talk to Flynn about India. I promised I would do both before my next appointment, even though the thought of raising ‘our future’ scared me silly. Flynn and I were going through the motions and that is how it felt. We were out of sync and I wasn’t sure how to get back in tune again.
- Log in to post comments
Some hard choices to be made
Some hard choices to be made in this part. Still enjoying Juliet. Jenny.
- Log in to post comments