Page 57 -
P. 57

 body, nothing fanciful about him.
It had taken her some reassuring months of conver- sation, as he’d helped Marie lead her mother down the path from the Church each Sunday to her car, be- fore he’d finally asked her out, to a meal at O’Leary’s, the fancy restaurant in the town. The rest had taken its course.
But she had noticed the stiffening between them, the longer silences that had come with the withdrawal of affections. He’d never been a wild one for the sex, but regular. Once a week, a Friday night most often when he had been out for the pint after the evening
“He wasn’t complicated.
If he’d a scowl on him when he came home, a calf was sickening.”
feeding was done. She would feel that great hand of his upon her hip and the breath of him, the mixture of toothpaste and stout, breath heavy in her ear and she would know.
It was a Friday night she’d chosen. “There’s steak tonight,” she’d told him that morning, “so don’t be late now or you’ll not get the best of it if it’s cold.”
She’d worn her good silk blouse all day and felt the slide of it on her skin, had been distracted, plotting as she went through the Bandon branch accounts and had to have her lunch at her desk to make good on the mistake. She’d kept her work clothes on while she cooked, but slipped upstairs as the spuds boiled to put her purchases on, beneath the blouse, part of the game of it and felt the rustle
and slide of the material as she moved around the kitchen, the glide of the silk against her skirt, loose from dieting. She’d not eat too much, she thought, so she didn’t feel bloated.
She had the good wine glass filled when he came in, hair plastered to his head from the rain, which was
teeming outside, battering the dark windows of the kitchen with bursts and blats that made her feed more wood into the range. She saw the straw in his hair, the soiled jeans as he struggled from his boots at the door.
“Have I time for a shower?” he asked, stood dripping on the kitchen matt.
“You’d better,” she told him. “I’ll not have you at the table like that.” She smirked to herself as she heard him trudge up the stairs, imagining the unlikely thought of it, him having her on the table, the cutlery all scattered, glasses rolling on the floor. She sipped her own wine, felt the rich, acidic roll of it on her tongue. She’d best enjoy it while she could for she’d be a long time without the drink.
She had not reckoned with the match on television, another parade of jug-eared lunks beating their chests. Brian was rapt in the sitting room when she finished clearing the dishes, the meal done, holding his glass in both hands, leaning forward on the sofa as the team in red, their men, she knew, battered away at some other lot in blue.
“Will you have a little more of this, darling?” she asked him and reached with the bottle to fill his glass, smelled the soap on him, fresh and clean and hoped the perfume she’d sprayed earlier was having its ef- fect. The term of endearment was enough to tear his eyes from the screen for a moment and he looked at her then, as she stood over him. She lent a little closer than she had to, placed a hand on his shoulder as she poured the wine and sat at the other end, propped
a pillow against the far end of the sofa and slipped
off her shoes, stretched and placed her foot in her husband’s lap, the length of her skirt riding up so he caught a glimpse of the tops of the stockings. The poor man nearly dropped the glass with the shock of the sight and she could see the colour rising in his face and rubbed her foot. “You watch your game, darling, if you want,” she told him. “But if you fancied an early night ....” She barely made it to the top of the stairs before she heard the abrupt cut in the commentary and the heavy tread of his weight on the stairs.
She lay there after, listening to the sound of his brush- ing and looked at her wine glass, still half full and smiled at the rumpled sheets, pulled to one side as they’d moved, the ungainly pile of his clothes, shed
in a hurry as she’d slipped from her own. She placed a hand on her belly, felt the camisole again, creased where he has slid it from her shoulders. She’d never
(continued on next page)

   55   56   57   58   59