Christina, The Present, Saturday 6 October 2012
Christina woke up with eyes that felt like lead, a drill going off in her head and a thirst that would take a lake to quench it. It took her a moment to realize that she knew this room, but hadn’t been here in a long, long time. Turning over slowly, she also realized she wasn’t alone. Curled into her shoulder with an arm around her waist was her ex-husband, ex-love of her life and persona non grata, Nicholas Riley.
He was fast asleep, breathing heavily with one leg out of the covers and a peaceful look on his face. Her stomach dropped to the “no, no, no” level and she closed her eyes, counted to ten, but nothing changed. When she opened her eyes, she still felt awful and he was still there.
As quietly as a hung over – still possibly drunk – unsteady on their feet person could, Christina tried to extract herself from the situation. Moving Riley’s arm from her waist, she slid over the side of the bed to try and get her bearings. At this particular point in time, she didn’t have much recollection of last night, but it was pretty obvious what it involved.
Looking around the room for her clothes, she spotted her little blue dress on the floor at the end of the bed. As she searched hurriedly for any other belongings, she noticed her panties on the mirror of the dressing table. They were draped at an odd angle – like someone had sling shot them onto the mirror.
Oh dear god.
Christina couldn’t see her bra, shoes or handbag anywhere. Bras and shoes she could do without, but the handbag? That-was-a-problem.
Naked, she grabbed her dress, crouched on the floor and started hauling it on as quietly as she could. This was going to be the fastest exit of shame in the history of exits of shame. Christina crawled as silently as possible to the dressing table to retrieve her panties, but as soon as she got them, she also got a good look at herself in the mirror. The sight actually made her recoil.
There was mascara streaked down her face and lipstick all over the place. She even had some lipstick on her teeth and down by her chin. Her dark brown eyes were accentuated by smeared mascara and it looked like she’d gone a few rounds with MikeTyson.
Then there was her hair. It looked like she’d been ridden hard and hung out to dry. Years ago, this wouldn’t have bothered her. In those days, she was known as ‘Dina’, the high school grunge queen. By today’s standards: Christina Martin, lawyer, she looked a complete mess.
Dragging her fingers through her hair and wiping as much of last night’s make up off her face as possible, Christina pulled on her panties with a hop, and a bump. She started to creep toward the bedroom door thinking ‘so far, so good’ and was confident she could recover from this.
All Christina needed to do was get out of there- desperately and before Riley woke up. If she could do that, then she could use the lawyers trick of deny,avoid, defer, engage and if necessary, settle. She also needed to drink something and go to the bathroom: badly, on both counts.
Christina had her hand on the bedroom door handle and for a moment she thought she was going to escape until she heard a voice behind her say, “Good morning.”
Neeny Boucher is a nom de plume because her real name sounds like a 19th Century suffragette. She is a lover of the weird, the outcast and those on the margins of society. An appreciator of music, art, film, television, popular culture, social encounters and the human condition. Originally from New Zealand, she is a strong supporter of the All Blacks, has lived all over the world and is currently a trailing spouse in a picturesque village in Switzerland with two wonderful children. Her employment is varied and has ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous, not to mention, the messy. The sublime: teaching. The ridiculous: tour guide on a gondola when she has an irrational fear of heights. The messy: cleaning out turkey houses in Israel waiting for the European winter to pass. She has done all sorts of things she would not allow her children to do, including hitch hiking around southern Africa in her wild youth. All the experiences, however, provided the opportunity to partake in her favorite past time of people watching. A collector of amazing stories, Neeny decided it was time to put them in fiction, allowing readers to enjoy them as much as she did.