Saturday 21 June 2014

'The Engine Of Desire' by Cathy Lennon

If I’m honest, I knew it was my body that had attracted him. He’d nudged his friend and nodded in my direction, words coming out of the side of his mouth. Within minutes of sauntering across, the words had stopped and his hands were all over me.

‘I bet you can really go,’ he murmured. I said nothing, I was already glowing red - he was certainly upfront -  but I was as hooked as he was. ‘Fancy going out for a spin?’

We shot along country lanes, hedgerows flashing by, a low sun dazzling us. I could feel myself growing hotter and hotter. I knew he felt the same, his hands were tense on the wheel. We stopped at a country pub. Outside, pint in hand, he stared at me possessively. I couldn’t look away. I’m used to men. One day you’re the only thing on their minds, the next they’re onto something else. But I knew he was special. We were going to be special.

He introduced me to all his friends, one at a time. He always kept a hand on me, reassuring both of us. I remained impassive beneath their admiring stares. I knew he’d expect me to be faithful. I was confident it worked both ways. Funny, isn’t it? How we delude ourselves in those early days.

You can probably guess the rest (as the song goes). I don’t want to be indelicate but the physical side fairly purred along. It was exhilarating, overpowering even. But then he started making excuses. Whole weeks would go by and I didn’t see him. When we did go out together, he seemed preoccupied. He didn’t appreciate my charms like he used to.

One night he said goodbye to me on the street. I watched him walk away beneath the lamp posts. He didn’t look back so he never knew that I saw him, getting into a people carrier. There were car seats in the back and one of those stupid ‘princess on board’ stickers on the rear window.

I won’t deny it hurt. For days afterwards I felt too bad to move. I didn’t go out at all. Then one day I realized I felt dirty, outside as well as in. So I decided it was time for a fresh start. There was a queue of people in front of me, but eventually my turn came. I exulted in the rhythmic fat caterpillar swirl of the brushes as warm, foamy water sluiced me clean. I felt reborn, reinvigorated, raring to go.

‘Excuse me,’ came a voice beside me. The man from the garage had pressed the emergency stop. He stood gawping at me, his deep blue eyes fascinated by the water dripping from my body. ‘Are you alright?’

Deep inside I felt the kick of ignition.

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