A short story, by Sha’Tara
Introduction: I was watching “Last Love” that amazing movie with Michael Caine and Clémence Poésy for the third time tonight. I had my netbook on my lap to record passages in the movie when the following story simply jumped at me. I don’t see that is has much to do with the movie, except perhaps the ages of the couple, and the fact that “Mr. Morgan” was a college professor, but anyway, here goes.
“Hello, Matthew, I’m glad you decided to meet after all.”
“Hi, Giselle, what made you think I wasn’t going to show up?”
“Oh, maybe your way of showing a complete lack of interest in my doings?”
“I’m sorry, my face is a complete traitor, plus I’m essentially an asocial person, I thought you knew, understood and accepted that about me?”
“I forgot, Matthew. Should we order?” I tried to make my voice hard and cold but I was trembling with fear inside, to the point of feeling sick.
“Yes, certainly. Garçon?” I moved to sit next to him; the meal was beyond excellent. He talked then, and I listened. Had there been company I would have had to do all the talking.
That’s how it was with us. Matthew and his French girl, the incompatible, impossible couple, they called us. His friends from the college where he teaches English and Philosophy all speak English. When they see my name written down, they call me Giselle with a hard “g” as in guide. They make it sound like gazelle. It’s their little joke, they know how to say my name. I like the feeling the name gazelle gives me, it suits me somehow.
We make a strange pair, there’s no denying that. He’s a twice-divorced college professor who’s also over twice my age. I’m a tall, somewhat skinny brunette who’s a landscape artist and arborist. I spend most of my time outdoors, he spends his days teaching and interacting with people and he’s the one who’s asocial. I love people as much as I love plants.
We met on the bus a couple of months ago when I was having my truck serviced and forced to take the day off. I was on my way to my Yoga class and he dropped a couple of books at my feet. Before he could retrieve them I’d picked them up and as I handed them back to him our eyes met. He has piercing blue eyes and very expressive hands. Call me a slut, but suddenly I wanted those hands on my skin. And I wanted his lips on mine. Just like that. I was taken.
“How would you like to come to Yoga class with me?” I asked him. Why? Some things just have no explanation. I wanted, no, needed, him near me.
“You don’t even know my name, I don’t know yours… did you say Yoga class? I’ve never done Yoga; don’t know much about it except what I’ve read. I don’t see the point of it, actually.” He had a pleasant bass voice that filled my heart with instant and deep longing. I wanted to swim in it, naked.
“I’m Giselle. You?”
“Matthew, Matthew Hislop. What’s your last name?”
“Oh, it’s Laliberté. That’s my maiden name, never married.” Then it struck me, why did I volunteer that information? I know, I wanted him, and my woman’s intuition told me to make myself vulnerable, the best way to attract him in case my physical attributes weren’t enough. Did I ask myself if he was married? No. It’s as if I knew he was free, available and could be mine.
It worked. I came to my stop, got off and he followed me.
“Yoga class, Matthew?”
“Yes. Why not? I’m intrigued now.”
We did Yoga together. Two days and I was in his apartment making love with him. I was a twenty two year old virgin. It was as wonderful as it was frightening. I felt so terribly alone and vulnerable and sure of only one thing: I was lost in his maleness. My lust turned to love and in his own way, he began to love me. How could any woman leave such a man?
I learned how. He did not engage. It was as if he was always in two worlds, one that included me, an exciting convenience, a fun thing, a trophy girl, and another that no one would ever be allowed in. I would have left him after that first week but my body would not let me. I could not imagine ever encountering him when he wasn’t mine. I was addicted to him, to his body, to his hands, to his voice and breath. He exuded a kind of brutal magic I was powerless to break.
Which brings me back to our dinner date at Michael’s where I had intended to confront his coldness. It wasn’t going to happen, I already knew before I got there. I was still taken, and I would remain taken unless his coldness became misogynistic. I would never tolerate that, not ever. Somehow, again that intuition, I knew he would never turn on me.
I would live my life with him and take care of him as he got older.
I can imagine cutting his graying hair, trimming his eyebrows and ear hairs. I can imagine even more personal caring. Though he is a much better cook than I, I can also imagine the time when I’ll have to do it for him. By then of course I will have learned to make his favourite dishes. I can imagine my love for him growing in his cold soil. I am that kind of seed that does best in a winter soil. And I have a heart that needs to give. He would fulfill that need for me. With him I can imagine the unimaginable and thrill at the thoughts.
I got lucky, there is no denying that, but perhaps he got even luckier.