Posted on February 28, 2015 by Patricia Ann McNair2.28.2015 Journal Prompt Image from Mad Men February 28, 2015: In their pretty dresses… Share this:ShareClick to email a link to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Like this:Like Loading... Related
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When I see her laughing in the kitchen, I am unaccountable jealous. That she can find laughter with someone else, that her thoughts can turn so quickly away from me. She is standing with Monica and Jane and they are all three of them pretty in their summer dresses and they are laughing at I know not what, and Jane touches Liv’s hair and Monica holds Liv’s hand lightly and carelessly in hers.
Brewer offers me a cigarette. He tips one from his pack and holds it out to me. I am distracted and I don’t see it at first, don’t see him. When I do, I shake my head and smile and I know it is not a real smile for I am thinking still of Liv and thinking of her laughing in the kitchen with Monica and Jane.
I drain my glass, taste the ethanolic sting on my tongue, feel the whisky burning inside as it goes down. My head spins a little and I suck in air. Liv catches my eye and she smiles and she is for a moment taken out of the laughing she has shared with Monica and Jane. I nod to her and move away, though it is an effort of will to be where I cannot see her.
Liv, and no one knows. It must be our secret, she said. Keep it to ourselves. And I want to write it across the sky, inscribe it on the moon. Liv naked in a hotel room and my mouth on her skin and she makes the sound of bliss or pain or something between the two. And the clock by the bed said it was late and still we lingered and loved, and the air smelled of sweat and something sour, and the air conditioning made a noise like spoons dropped in a steel sink.
Liv not in her dress, not in anything, except the bed that we’d paid for. And Liv breathless and calling my name as though I was not there beside her, calling as though I was far off or lost, which is how I feel now. And Liv’s summer dress on a hanger and folded shapeless over the back of a chair. And no one must know. Not yet, she said. So we arrived separately, but both of us late.
Brewer thinks it must be Monica that I am looking at in the kitchen. He says something about the dress she is wearing and how she has her hair, and he says he could put in a word for me if I want. Brewer and he does not know and he must not know. Not till Liv has had a chance to tell him. It wouldn’t be fair otherwise, she said. Brewer and Liv, and all the years that bind them, and Liv must be given time to untangle those ties, and they are knotted and stubborn.
I smile at Brewer and I decline his offer to have a word with Monica on my behalf. He splashes whisky into my glass, shrugs and moves away to tend to his other guests. And I hate him then and not because of the time he has had with Liv, the years before, but because it is his house and I must pretend that Liv is nothing to me when she is everything.
And her skin tastes of salt and her hair smells of apples and her hands smell of the cheap lemon-scented soap beside the sink. And there are only minutes between then and now; between a hotel bed where the sheets are starched and sticky and standing lost in Brewer’s front room, Liv’s front room; minutes between me planting shameless kisses ‘neath her breasts and Liv laughing in the kitchen with Monica and Jane.
Brewer winks at me across the room, and he knows something, but he thinks it is Monica when really it is Liv. And I hate him and I hate myself and a part of my hates Liv. and that makes no sense except it is so.