In Her Words(2)

By: J.S Ellis


Richard had a major heart attack two years ago, resulting in bypass surgery. He takes beta-blockers to decrease his blood pressure and relax the heart muscle. Speaking of which, I’d better call him.





6th January

Evening,

Diary,

Just been talking to Richard on the phone - nothing new to report.

I’m sick of this apartment. It’s like a crypt. The walls are closing in on me. I don’t know why I feel this way, I used to love this apartment, with its bright lights and classic contemporary décor.

There’s a vase of white lilies sitting on a red oak table in the middle of the living room. I like lilies better than roses. Roses are overrated. The floor is made of grey marble. The wallpaper is grey samphire, a delicate native seaweed. I picked it, but now I can’t help thinking how boring it looks. There aren’t many pictures of Richard and me. When I go to a dinner party at someone's house, the number of photos they have around overwhelm me. There are two photos of us, both in silver frames. One is from our wedding day. My twenty-five-year-old self-stares back at my older self. My hair was black when I got married, now it’s chestnut brown. I like to think of myself as a beautiful woman. I put a lot of effort into my looks, and even more recently, to hide the strain drinking is putting on me. I look lost in my wedding photo, with my grey/blue eyes staring wide-eyed at the camera. My clam-shaped lips are slightly parted. I had a more defined jawline back then, but I’ve still got the same distinctive high cheekbones and heart-shaped face. And the dress! I look like a lemon meringue. My mother insisted I pick that one. Which reminds me, I must call her. I can’t believe eleven years have passed since walking down the aisle.

The other photo, taken after we got married, is of Richard standing behind me, wearing his trademark bow tie and one of his many-tailored suits. I’m on the chair with my legs crossed, looking rather demure. We were happy back then, so in love.





7th January

Afternoon,

Diary,

I scrubbed our maple kitchen until it’s spotless, and made sure everything’s nice and tidy for when Richard gets back, not that he will notice, but it makes me feel better.

No music today. Just a sense of dread in the silence. Somehow, the music helps to fill the void. Makes me feel that everything will be alright.

Is it though? Is everything going to be alright?

This evening I went out to find where the music was coming from. As I walked through the streets, I had to cover my mouth with my scarf. After walking around for a while, past various bars and restaurants, a woman’s voice stopped me in my tracks. I looked up and saw the sign, Mau Mau. Maybe this was the one, I thought. Inside, there was a band in front of a red curtain and a crowd of people watching. A black woman sat on the stage with braids. Her voice was husky and sensual. A guitarist, a bass player, a black drummer, and a blond, androgynous young man with a saxophone stood behind her. The singer stood up and continued to sing in her deep voice. I stared at the sax player. His face seems familiar, but I can’t remember where I’ve seen him.

And the sax... is the one I’ve been listening to all this time! I’m so glad I’ve found this little place, it’s going to be great to hang out there. I must tell Sylvie!





10th January

Evening,

Diary,

The strangest thing happened at the grocery store today. I always pay by cash. I hardly ever pay by credit, since Richard checks my bank statements. I don’t want to give him the satisfaction of knowing where my money goes, after all, I’m the accountant, not him. I took a basket and filled it with shower gel, deodorant, biscuits, bread, and cheese. I stopped by the wine section and, being careful with my choice, selected a nice bottle of Chablis. I heard fits of giggles, and then noticed three tall, young men a few yards away from me. Two of them had black hair and hats. They were both clutching a pack of beer each. The other one had a black suit on and a red scarf. He was stunning. His blond hair hung past his shoulders like gold silk. Something inside me stirred. I feel guilty for thinking it, but he was rather hot! I started to worry they were laughing at me. I think I’ve done well hiding my vices, but maybe people around here have started to notice my buying habits. I’m so paranoid. I must stop this! I recognized one of them - Evelyne Robinson’s boyfriend. Evelyne is an art student. Her father is a wealthy man and owns a marketing company and many estates around the city. He seems to be buying up bits of London like he’s taking part in a real-life Monopoly game. Her apartment is on one of his estates. I think she shares it with her boyfriend and his mates.