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Neil Neil
by Abigail George
2022-08-28 09:11:07
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Neil. Neil with the face made of iron. Ripples of light in your eyes. Neil envious of others. Sandra, envious of girls or women in this situation. Envious of the desert, of the sky, of moonlight, of the violent, burnt grass in daylight. Neil’s hand touches Sandra’s neck. Hand itching to touch neck. Neck itching for touch. The cold out is a blue place. A purple sea.

It is a marvellous place to behold. Sandra’s body is tangled in Neil’s warmth and shallow breath. In the swimming pool, she’s blue and her hair made of gnarled oak smells like chlorine.

si01_400_01Nobody knows of the greatness of Neil’s despair and the tragedy of his hardship from birth. All Sandra knows of Neil is that he’s a journalist. Their making love was just for fun. A game.

‘You’ve ruined me for love for life, Neil. Neil are you listening to me? In the daylight, the sun makes a mockery of everything that was sacred the night before.’

‘The sun in all of its epic vastness always alters everything in sunlight. Sometimes people can be ghosts. Most people are. Always floating out of reach when you want them to stay.’

‘Who on earth are you talking about now, babe, Neil, are you okay?’

‘Neil, Neil, Neil, the superior man. Sandra, the inferior, submissive woman playing the role of the inferior and submissive woman who bathes in the glory of light. Did you like the perfume I got you?’ Sandra nodded her head and smiled at her reflection in the dressing table’s mirror.

‘I’m not boyfriend material.’

‘Is it because you’re damaged goods, Neil? Did you mother never read you a bedtime story at night, tuck you in and tell you how much you were loved?’

‘My mother loved men. She loved everything about them. Good guys. Bad guys. Holier than thou guys.’

‘And your father, Neil? Did your mother love your father?’ Sandra stopped brushing the tangles out of her hair. She stopped looking at Neil’s handsome face and his unkempt, tousled yellow hair in the mirror and turned around to look at him, properly. He was smoking.

‘I didn’t know you were a smoker.’

‘Yes, yes, I am a smoker. I drink too.’

‘Well, most men in the patriarchal society that we live in today smoke and drink. Smoke away if it makes you happy.’

‘I’ll stop. I’ll put it out if it will make you happy.’

‘No, it’s fine. I don’t mind. I don’t mind at all.’ Sandra went back to brushing her hair. Patting her hair. Smoothing a stray curl here and there. ‘Do you still want to go swimming in the hotel pool later on?’

‘Oh, I don’t know. Must we? Couldn’t we just stay here. Make our own fun.’

Sandra looked at Neil, with a slow smile on her face and a blush creeping onto her face.

‘Neil, anything you want, babe. I don’t mind. I’m easy. It’s too hot to swim.’

‘It’s too hot to do anything but smoke and have a drink. Should we order room service? Hamburgers or a steak? Milkshakes or cocktails?’

‘Proper grown up food, you mean? Steak and cocktails are proper grown up food. No, let’s act like kids. Like teenagers on a rampage or a road trip or on a Saturday night. Hamburgers and a pink milkshake for me please.’ Sandra laughed. Neil liked her laugh. He smiled.

‘Hamburgers and milkshakes then. You make me feel like a kid again. A kid in nature.’

‘I like your laugh.’

‘I like you Neil. You’re handsome for one who thinks they’re dead cool. You’re funny without being patronising or patriarchal or condescending or undermining me as a woman. You listen. You really listen to me. You’re sweet. I know men don’t really want to hear that one, but you are.’

‘When are you going to stop brushing your hair and come and sit next to me?’

‘In a minute. Give me a minute. You should order, anyway, shouldn’t you? Come to think of it. I’m starving.’

‘Do you like it here?’

‘Yes, yes I do. Thanks for inviting me.’

‘It’s only two days. Two days can go buy really fast but it’s really beautiful out here. I love the mountains. Used to be heavy into hiking trails and stuff in high school but now I just come to the mountains for the view. To get a fresh perspective.’

Neil watched her slow, careful hands and a flame of desire for her started to burn within him. He liked her. He really liked her. She was fun to be around with. Like she said, she didn’t really mind if he smoked. She didn’t mind if he didn’t make conversation. Neil thought of his mother. Of just how much Sandra did and didn’t remind him of Gerda. He thought of his adolescence.

Sandra was fluent in the language of good clothes and the sexual impulse. She was some kind of model, television presenter and actress. Neil hadn’t seen anything that she was in. He didn’t know if she was a good actress, showed any promise or a bad one. She mentioned Shakespeare in the Park. Some stage works. That she had always been on the stage ever since childhood.

‘Say this, this is mine but I’m not yours and I do not belong to you,’ was the burning issue of Neil’s mind.

‘I am falling then I am numb and then I am dead. Shakespeare sure had a way with words, don’t you think, Neil?’

‘Whose words were that?’

‘Mine. That’s how I feel sometimes after I make love with someone new and think that it’s something special. A new relationship that could turn serious. The old me falls away. Simply fades away and I feel like a girl again.’

Her breasts are two pale white stones. She seems to know everything about him. At least when it came to lonely people. Lonely men. She doesn’t believe him when he tells her how wonderful and beautiful and lovely she is. She tells him that she has no self-concept. That all actresses are insecure. That all television presenters have this game that they play. To be relevant and seen.

She turns her head away. There’s a tide in her eyes. This confident woman in black whom he first met at an art exhibition of a mutual friend, had a current in her hands the first time she touched him. She’s asleep now. She’s dead to the world, while the man, Neil, smokes another cigarette. Gerda, his mother used to smoke menthols. Pop a mint in her mouth afterwards.

The television is on mute in the hotel room. The leftovers of room service are getting cold. In the nightfall, the woman, Sandra, is the colour of moonlight and the bedroom in Hillbrow is neon-lit. Flesh is the prize. The flame of the sexual impulse found in the wilderness of the male beast and the breasts of the female. Gerda had flaws. Neil thought to himself. He wasn’t perfect.

Not by a long shot. Son like mother, Neil thought to himself. Neil loved women. Women had always been his weakness. Their legs were like summer. Their perfume sent him into overdrive. Sandra was different from the others. She wasn’t the older, motherly type that Neil usually went for. She was a girl but she could hold him hostage in her arms. Wipe away his tears.

‘You’re more than a man to me,’ Sandra whispered in his ear. ‘if you’re man enough to cry in my arms.’

Abigail George has two books in the Ovi Bookshelves,
"All about my mother" & "Brother Wolf and Sister Wren"
Download them, NOW for FREE HERE!



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