Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Trophy Wife (Short Story)

What the ...! He just walked into me, He almost dislocated my shoulder.

He says he didn’t see me but I’m kind of hard to miss, standing in front of the dresser, putting on my make-up. And I’m wearing my little red dress. I can think of several ways to describe this dress and invisible isn’t one of them. “Tight” maybe, “revealing” probably, “unsuitable for a married woman” for sure, but definitely not “invisible”.

He’d just come out of the shower. Maybe he was worried about all the hair he lost in there, the bathtub must be full of it as usual. It’s disgusting. Thank God I declared myself a career woman early on and never had to do the domestic wifey bullshit. I’ll ask Ranjani to scrub it again. The poor woman has had to clean several times today; I can’t stand the thought of using the bathroom after him.

Anyway, I won’t bother thinking about it, my shoulder isn’t really hurting and we have a party to go to. Four hundred of Samir’s closest friends, an exclusive guest list and tight security at the gate of his mansion in the mountains; this is going to be fun. I’m sure Samir will ask the DJ to play my favourite hip-hop, he always does. They know how to get me going, they like to get all their guests going because that’s the way to ensure the who’s who of society talks about nothing but their party for the rest of the week. Of course we could have all gone to a night club instead of clamouring to be on Samir’s guest list, but the clubs are full of tourists and prostitutes.

So now he’s almost running to the car. Well, he’ll have to wait, there’s no way in hell I’m walking any faster than this. It’s at least thirty-five degrees and I don’t want to break out in sweat, not to mention my heels will crack.

I just hope he doesn’t take off without me. Maybe he won’t even notice that I’m not in the car yet. Funny we’ve ended up like this. I remember the day he said I was the perfect girl for his convertible. I was wearing oversized sun glasses and let my hair fly in the wind. We had our first kiss that day. I often think that’s why he married me: I made the ideal accessory for his Benz. He’s got a sedan now; maybe that explains it.

Okay, so he’s been decent enough to wait, he’s sitting behind the wheel texting or checking his email or whatever it is that he does with his Blackberry every time he’s got a free minute. I’m trying my best not to let the sand into my shoes. Couldn’t he have moved the car closer to the entrance of our building? I hate the summer, the wind brings so much dust, it feels like the desert is about to claim back the city.

I’ve barely shut the door and he’s pulled away already. Why does he have to look like this when he drives? He curves his chest and stretches his neck, wrapping one arm around the wheel and keeping the other hand on the gear as if he’s competing in an international rally. Except the car is an automatic and we’ll soon hit unyielding traffic jams.

Okay, enough with the moaning. He’s an okay guy from a good family and he makes a decent husband. I should really start thinking about that baby now. We’ve been married three years, we’ve ran out the course of the socially acceptable timeline for a couple to go without children. The only point is… I never want to have his kids. What if they had his fat, pale hands? Aaach! Also, sex seems to be outside of the scope of this contract and I can’t tolerate the idea of him touching me anymore. Maybe we’ll try IVF. I could have twins to get it out of the way in one go. Ideally, two boys, so I’ll never have to hear an aunt or his mother pressing me to have another child.

Ya Allah, I’m only twenty-six years old and I’m a bitter old woman already. I mean listen to me, I sound so spiteful. It’s not only because of today, I’ve been feeling this way for months. It’s like I’ve become furniture to him. Cheap furniture. He would have certainly not walked into a Regency table like he walked into me this evening... I’m an Ikea chipboard desk.

Glad we’ve finally arrived; this car is tight and stuffy. Obi the Nigerian bouncer sees us pull up and nods in our direction. Samir always segregates his invitees, not everyone is invited to all the parties, but Obi is amazing with faces and names and he knows we’re expected tonight. He gestures to the guard to let us drive through the gate.

We walk in together like we always do as these social events but I’m sure everyone suspects what’s going on with our marriage. We chat jointly to one or two couples and then go our separate ways. I know he’ll end up standing by himself near the bar or occasionally finding someone to talk to about real estate deals and stock prices and I’ll be on the dance floor most of the night. It’s like I’ve become socialite-dancer-girl extraordinaire.

The DJ smiles over the crowd when he sees me approaching, it means he’s in a good mood and will play “my” list.

Here we go, the hip-hop is on and Fadi sprints in my direction. I barely know Fadi but just like me, he loves to dance so we’ve become each other’s partners at the parties. I love the way he makes me move when he stands right behind me and puts his hand on my waist.

The music escalates. I close my eyes. No need to think or even try to follow Fadi’s lead. Track after track, our bodies just synchronize to the beat.

The DJ shifts to Arabic pop. Fadi detaches himself from me with a smile that says “it’s time for your little show.” I don’t like this nor the way everyone moves away to stand in a circle and watch me. But the music sounds so good… I shut my eyes again.

The drumming of the tablah doesn’t even make it to my ears, it goes straight into my body. I feel it in my ankles first and then it goes up my legs and sits in my hips. They start shaking like they’ve got a soul of their own. My chest follows, then my shoulders. I have no more control, I lift my hair up with both hands and just move… grind… gyrate…

It takes me a while to realize someone has grabbed my arm. It’s him, standing in front of me. He’s moving his mouth but I can’t hear him. Why doesn’t he leave me alone? I try to pull away before the music leaves my body, but he presses harder on my arm.

“It’s time to go home.” He says.

I shake my head. “We just got here.”

“You’ve been dancing for hours.”

He’s right, I must have been at it for a while. There are a lot less people in the party. I nod. “Yes, let’s leave.”

I seem to have lost my shoes, I look around and find them lined by the wall. No idea how they got there; I go over and put them back on.

I’ll dance again soon...

Credits: Pic: www.buycostumes.com

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