Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Incubus

The Victorian house towers before her as she comes up the ornate pebble walk, its shadow crossing the street in the setting sun. She had spent weeks scouring real estate brochures for the perfect home in the perfect neighborhood, searching for something comfortable and reflective of her refined tastes. She had almost relinquished herself to spending another winter in the city, when one summer evening, she discovered the home tucked away in a prestigious neighborhood of a small community just outside the edge of town. Not surprisingly, he seller was asking too much. However, there was no price she wouldn’t pay for her solitude and thus began moving into the distinguished residence in the fall.

The home was certainly more than she required, having only needed to furnish a small penthouse in the city. However, she had been buying and storing antiques in hopes that one day she would find a suitable house to situate them. In view of that, she was there to supervise the move. Standing watch at the garden’s edge, she bit her lip anxiously as the moving van backed into the length of the cobblestone drive. Admiring the antiquity of the furnishings as they were being unloaded, she cautioned the workers against a painful death should anything be damaged. All the same, they were quite mindful of the value of each piece and bore them respectfully to its rightful room without question.

She had also acquired several Persian rugs for the house. A large golden Tabriz was placed in the Great Room, its earthen tones contrasting beautifully with the rich wood of the Louis XV furniture nicely as well as bringing out the blondes of their upholstery. Comparatively, she had several runners for the hallways, two elegantly colored Hamadans and a vibrant Heriz for the foyer. The dining room played host to a subtly patterned Turkomon and a long-leafed table with high-backed chairs. A golden-flowered Kashan went to the bedroom, its rich reds and deep blues supporting a Queen Anne cherry-wood vanity and similarly fashioned four-poster bed with canopy. A woman can never be too comfortable, she maintained.

She spent the better part of that weekend having the movers arrange everything. The Louis XVI mirrored armoire was, of course, placed in the bedroom, while the Chippendale china hutch, with its two beveled-glass doors, fit perfectly at the end of the dining room. She finished the move by setting the George II clock, its long walnut case and gold face intricately detailed, at the bottom of the stairs. If I put it here, the chimes will be heard throughout the house, she smiled expectantly as she watched the steady swing of its pendulum. At last the move was complete; however, she had another week in the city tying up loose ends before she could spend the night. I'll be back soon, she pledges intimately and locks the door behind her.

As promised, she has returned to find herself admiring the cornice work of her new home as she climbs the front steps, the soffits festooned with arcs of wooden lace. On the side of the porch the formal dining room is on display, bedecked by her gabled bedroom. A balcony and black-iron rail transverse the porch roof to a sitting room in the two-story bay, its narrow windows symmetrically stacked as its segmented roof spirals into the dusk. A stone chimney projects high above the tile cap of the main ridge, its flue exhaling heat into the cool evening air while the entire structure is flanked by two soaring white oaks with whispering leaves. She is openly pleased with her purchase, and retires momentarily in the porch’s swing.

It’s good to be home, she admits. I have the entire weekend ahead of me. Suddenly, it occurs to her that he hasn’t called on her all week; she had been so busy getting settled into her new home that she hadn’t even noticed. Instinctively, she looks at her watch as if expecting him to arrive at any moment. I wonder why he hasn’t called, she asks herself, last weekend had been positively splendid–dinner, theatre, dancing the night away under the stars–or was it the weekend before? She ponders, and tries to retrace the memory. Oh bother, she concedes. I don’t have time for this; he will call–they always call. All she really wants to do right now was sink into a hot bath with a good book and a warm memory.

Hearing laughter; she notices children across the street. Instead of dwelling on her latest suitor’s apparent discount, she abandons herself to the harmony of the neighborhood. The fact that the brood are scattering the fallen leaves quicker than their father can rake them amuses her. She remembers how she used to torment her father in the same way when she was a little girl. More Daddy, make another pile, please– I’m trying, sweetheart, I’m trying. The portrait of a woman on the porch holding a baby mysteriously appears over the man’s shoulder. Feeling incomprehensibly incomplete, her heart sinks. Damn it Daddy, why hasn’t he called, she lashes out in her mind. Consequently, she shifts her attention.

A barn owl calls out in the distance, its lonesome cry reverberating hauntingly through the limbs of the neighborhood trees. She intuitively tilts her head in its direction and yet before she can attune herself to beauty of its lament, another returns the call from a different direction. Subsequently, a similar owl perched across the street cocks its head inquisitively at the family below and answers somberly as well. However, the gentle graveness within the owl’s evening communiqué stirs a melancholy within her. She cannot help but think that her attentions, no matter how reserved or misplaced, have been disregarded. The fool is patronizing me, she deduces unforgivingly. Well then–we shall see to that.

Decidedly, she gathers her self-esteem and sashays seductively out to the garden alongside the approach. The purpose within her stride reveals the shapeliness of her legs as her dress flows fluidly back over her advancing figure. Thus, endeavoring to drop a hint, she picks up her skirt and kneels down at the garden’s edge and starts to put together a spray of flowers for the foyer. The veil of the dress stretches enlighteningly across her thighs as her proposal hovers invitingly over the ground. Looking innocently over her shoulder, she is pleased to see that she has caught her neighbor’s undivided attention as he stands smitten in his yard, offspring perpetually tugging at his pant leg.

Bouquet in hand, she stands with her back still to her voyeur. Pulling the folds of her skirt back over her thighs, she plucks the cleft delicately from her peach. Subsequently, she spins on one heel glides back to the porch in long-slow-deliberate steps. She smiles mischievously as she feels her neighbor’s stare on her back and giggles naughtily when a door slams impulsively behind her. She glows accordingly and acknowledges the building warmth of her own desire. Yes, we shall see to that as well. She casts one last tempting glance at her admirer, and climbing the porch playfully, enters her new residence with a measure of accomplishment and renewed sense of sexual expectation. He will call–they always call.

To be continued.

© Charles Coakley Simpson 2002 - 2010

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