I own nothing but an undying obsession.
"Sure thing, marriage is bliss …
That's why I'm sitting here, in this empty, estranged apartment, feeling numb and betrayed, hurt and abandoned, writhing beneath the burden of the memories, staring blankly at this white sheet of paper in the lame attempt of writing you a letter…
It's been long since you left…so long…too long…"
A bitter smile twisted my lips as I pictured myself, an epitome of misery, lying on the couch that had witnessed so many of our embraces, with dried tears on my cheeks, red eyes and a running nose, and I wondered sarcastically who the hell would find me even a bit appealing. I looked down at my clothes: an extra large T-shirt, so old that its color had faded, some sweats and ridiculous plush slippers that seemed glued to my feet… That was how I had been aimlessly wandering through these silent rooms for days now, like a lunatic, seeking his lingering presence in every inert object, sniffing clothes for the remains of his smell, touching absently pieces of furniture… If he were to come through the front door right now, the very sight of me should be enough to make him run like hell.
Pensively, I took hold of an exquisite silver frame beside the couch and I stared at the godlike man in the picture; his beauty was beyond words. I remembered well the day when this picture was taken…a windy, clouded day at the beach last fall. It had been a rather unpleasant weather for a stroll, but he'd convinced me and we had a wonderful time.
Just by looking at his picture he could take my breath away… hand raised through his impossible to discipline hair, large shoulders on which the grey sweater looked molded, cast in marble chest…and how easily could I recall the rest! His steel abdomen, his narrow waist, the feline way of walking, his long legs, his gorgeous…everything.
I closed my eyes as an excruciating pain swirled inside me… Like flashes from a stroboscope, behind my eyelids, I could see our naked bodies, making love, I could smell his scent, I could hear his grunts, I could taste him on my lips… The loss of him, his unbearable absence was like the sensation of an open blood vessel, through which my life was draining slowly.
I flew my eyes open only to meet his. Even from the picture, he was teasing me with his mischievous, sexy trademark smile.
"Ladies and gentlemen…I give you my husband!" I rasped sourly. My mouth felt parched and my throat was so raw that even the smallest sound stung like a paper cut.
"The shrewd businessman, the incredible lover, my best friend who always manages to make me laugh…"
I stroked his features under the glass with my thumb and I smiled cynically at the irony of the genitive. My husband… My man… Mine. For as long as we both shall live.
"You said you would love me until you die/and as far as I know you're still alive, baby..." I mumbled still holding the picture, still looking at him with wistful eyes, still wanting him until death and beyond. "Yes, you will be my man in after-life. At least then. 'Cause I've been good, baby, I've been nice…"
I placed the picture back on the coffee table and rose to my feet. I needed a drink; perhaps it would help diffuse my stinging thoughts, my pain to some extend. I went to the bar and searched for Edward's stock of Glenfiddich, his favorite liquor. One bottle-barely touched. I poured generously in a glass and toasted foolishly in the air. "For you, my love. A ta sante!"
I took a gulp, then another, and set the glass on the counter. Only then I felt both the taste and the smell of the drink; the intense memory of him brought not only by my mind, but by two of my senses as well, hit me with the force of a wrecking ball… I wrapped my arms around me as if I were trying to keep myself whole, to prevent my body to cave in on itself, and let myself sank slowly to the floor. Oh, God! How I wished he had not done that! How I wished that were just a nightmare from which I would soon awaken!
I hid my face in my hands and wailed.
Quite a while passed before I was able to return to my letter.
"I've received a, shall I say interesting? piece of correspondence this week. I leave it here, for you to see and I to be spared of yet another sick impulse of looking at it, again and again. My thoughts are lost among anguish, turmoil and disbelief, and I cannot find any words that aren't constrained or hollow to express properly what I feel. So I'm borrowing them from one of your favorite lady singers. Una delle tue cantanti preferite…
I would like to meet her;
To know how she's like;
Is she fit or not,
Is she pretty? I would like;
Oh, I would like to see her;
To watch her for a while,
To learn about her life,
Her background and her past.
Maybe it's bizarre,
Finally to see, to admit
And to imagine no more;
Oh, I would like to understand,
Even if that breaks me,
Since she knew how to get you,
Since she took my place.
I already know her perfume
Her handwriting, too-
That crumpled soft word
Forgotten in our car;
I want also to see the hotel,
If you paid good for it;
If the room was beautiful,
And if there was a big bed;
It's perhaps not normal,
It's insane how that attracts me-
This urge for being hurt
Oh, 'till the bottom of it, 'till death.
Oh, I would like to know it all,
And her age and her skin,
Everything that separates us
And makes us alike; That's idiotic!
I would like to surprise you with her
When you are funny, when you are sweet;
To listen to you making her promises,
And when you tell her about us;
I would also like to see you,
To observe you in the mirror,
When you are kissing her,
Sucking in your stomach, oh matador!
I want your body against hers,
All those forgotten gestures,
I want to discover you again-
The one I used to love so much.
In that cold, in those ashes,
I would like staying there,
Just to see and understand
Everything that I am not. (*)"
I remembered him coming late at night, sometimes disfigured by weariness, collapsing on the couch, tie loosened, head leaned back against the cushions, eyes closed as I prepared his drink in silence. Nothing pretentious, just the scotch. Straight. Edward liked it that way. While he sipped his drink, I usually sat on my knees, on the floor, furtively feasting with the sight of him.
My eyes would wander over his profile, taking in every little detail, like a child following with his finger a shadow on the wall: his forehead, his eyelids, his nose, the flawless lips, the planes of his chest concealed by the shirt.
It would still be inexplicable to me, even after all that time, how that gorgeous man could be mine.
In a few moments, he'd be better; jaw relaxed, breathing deepened, shoulders yielding. This was my favorite moment of the day and I secretly used to anticipate its arrival, because I knew he would next whisper softly, barely audible, without opening his eyes:
"Come to me, Bella!" And I would eagerly climb him, like an addict, with an inner smile, straddling his lap, hungry for his kiss. And what a kiss that would be! Soft, gentle, tender yet deeply erotic, the simple touch of his lips being enough to melt my bones, sufficient to liquefy my brain… He would taste even better, a bit of whisky mingled with his sweet-scented breath, making me thoroughly and utterly dizzy every single time.
"Living here, all by myself, under the current circumstances and after all the failed attempts to contact you, has become unbearable. I miss you savagely. I have nothing left except this beautiful, violent, desperate thing which is my love for you, and which is constantly burning me, overwhelmingly, suffocating, devastating. I don't know what more to say without the risk of turning this letter into something even more contemptible and pathetic. My scorched soul is stoically waiting for you. It's waiting for you like you were the ultimate remedy, the final shore. Hurry up, my love, so you won't find it someday, when you'll be back, all dried up in expectation, but still standing, facing the horizon…from where you might show up…"
Against my own advice, I took another look at the photograph that had come by special delivery, in some common manila envelope. It was a black and white image, all blurry and dim, as if taken in night vision mode, most probably in a darkened room. I had been carefully studying every angle, every detail since its arrival, trying to no avail to learn more from it. It wasn't of any real necessity to analyze it further; just to close my eyes was more than sufficient. It was already incisively and thoroughly imprinted on my retina.
There were two human bodies depicted there, engaged unquestionably in an extremely passionate act of sexual intercourse; man on top of the woman, his back muscles drawn taut as he was pinning her beneath him, his face deep buried in her neck, her long, elegant legs wrapped around his waist, her fair hair fanned out over the pillow while her head was thrown back in a silent scream of ecstasy.
The photo was simply beautiful. Quite poetical. Or was I biased because that magnificent male body was my husband's? I would have recognized that untamed mane anywhere. Her features were indistinctive, but she had to be at least pretty to match Edward's eerie, unearthly beauty. I expected as much from him, to be picky about his women…especially about the one he was currently cheating me with.
Could I blame her? Wouldn't I be, as well, vulnerable to his charm and as defenseless against his infallible appeal as a fly in a spider's web? Would it have mattered to me he was an attached man? A married man? Had I been her, what would I have done? He was the kind of man who could make a woman lose her head ever so easily. Make her forget all about herself as he possessed her. Drive her wild with desire. Would I have been able to resist this unbelievable man, torn between guilt and an overwhelming, once-in-a-life-time-kind of passion?
I didn't dare to answer honestly to those questions.
The image of their commingled bodies haunted me still as I was trying to fall asleep. I envisioned her fingers trailing across his flawless, smooth chest, threading their way through his messy hair, pulling him closer. I could see oh-so-clearly her lips touching his, hear her breathy moans of pleasure as he claimed her mouth. Him, spreading kisses along her jaw and neck, licking the delicate lobe of her ear, dipping lower to taste her breasts, expertly filling her body with thrills of delight as he pumped himself inside her.
And I could visualize the erotic display of emotions on her face as he made her come.
I lurched up from my pillow, gasping for air, sweat and tears mingling on my face and neck, and futilely hugged myself once more. Every pain - of flesh or soul - gets worse in the night. Mine was no exception.
On impulse, hastily, I reached for my phone on the nightstand and dialed his number. I needed him; I needed him to reassure me, to tell me everything was nothing but a bad dream, a sinister joke of a devious mind. I wanted to be engulfed in his deep voice, to have at least that way the illusion of his presence.
My last three attempts to speak with him during the day had failed. I couldn't stop myself from hoping it might be different this time. After a couple of rings, a melodious, alto female voice answered:
"Edward's Cullen phone, Tanya speaking."
His PA. Again.
"Hello, this is Bella Cullen. May I speak with my husband, please?"
"I'm sorry, Mrs. Cullen, Mr. Cullen's not back from the field yet…"
"When is he returning?"
"I'm not able to say, there's a situation over there and he is needed…"
He is deeply needed over here, too…
"That's what I have been told every time I've called. Are you sure you have conveyed my messages?" I snapped.
"Of course I have, Mrs. Cullen!" the voice replied, of a sudden rigidly formal.
"Can you tell him I called, please?" I whispered, once more defeated.
"I most surely will. I'm certain Edward will get back to you the minute he returns."
'Edward'?! What had happened to 'Mr. Cullen?'
"Yes, Mrs. Cullen."
"What's your hair color?"
"I'm blonde," she answered after a slight hesitation. "Why are you asking?"
"It's nothing, really. I was just wondering. I'm sure it's very pretty, Tanya. Thank you. Good night."
"Good night, Mrs. Cullen!"
I was quite sure she'd been smiling while uttering her goodbye words. A polite, business-friendly smile meant to be sensed by the unseen interlocutor or was it a little victorious one?
With all my strength I threw the phone against the bedroom wall in a pathetic effort of gaining some revenge. It was, after all, a gift from Edward. All useless now, scattered all over the floor in tiny pieces. All useless before its destruction, as well.
I should leave. I should leave right now. To avoid the humiliation of his return, the embarrassment, the ridicule, not to face the urge of throwing in his face all my venom, all my bitter reproaches by screaming, begging, imploring in some striving, disgusting, hysterical, profoundly feminine manner.
I refused to project in my mind grotesque revenges or ingenious traps to regain him, or reconciliation scenarios, in which he'd be just a superb beast and I, a helpless thrall forever enslaved by his male perfection.
I would not demand eternity from him, solemn gestures and promises, final commitments; I would not blackmail him with my tears and despair; I would not become a clingy, encumbering ballast, looking up at him in hopeless adoration, only to discover him crushing like a giant god, estranged, indifferent, far-off.
No. I wouldn't do any of that.
Was I so easily surrendering? Was I so weak, defeated so soon, already willing to give him up? Maybe I should fight instead, fight for him with this beautiful yet faceless woman with everything I had.
But even if I did that, Edward would still not want me. It was as simple as that, yet inexorable nevertheless. "Too proud to beg/ Too dumb to steal". Yeah, that would definitely be me. So why impose myself on him?
Thank you for reading.
(*) Approximate translation of Patricia Kaas' song, "Je Voudrais La Connaître"
Other quoted songs:"Illegal" - Shakira, "It's Probably Me"- Sting feat. Eric Clapton