Thursday, April 9, 2015

H is for Honeymoon




It wasn’t really a honeymoon but we joked it was. It was the only way we could endure the long lectures about how we could live meaningful lives and make it through the group role plays. I had not even thought about drugs now for many weeks, but would still face invasive cross examinations by a bewildering array of doctors and psychologists.  

As the hours in the tiny anterooms and the great hall crept by our eyes would drift to the clock waiting for 4 pm when we could strip off and change into our swim wear to make it onto the roof terrace.


Grenoble

In the afternoon we would chat and smoke. Our touches were confined to brushes in passing, nothing to alert people to the nature of our relationship. Then at night we would return to the terrace. We’d look at the lights of Grenoble and the canopy of stars high above the Alps and we’d make love under the furry lawns and dizzy realms of the Milky Way. Sometimes we’d swim naked and hold each other as we shivered against the night sky. Sometimes we’d talk into the early morning and sup on the harsh Cognac that Geraldine had hidden in a secret pocket in her suitcase. We’d feel the sway of the lights and the dizzy heights above us and be gripped by a giddy hedonism.

We joked it was a honeymoon because it was the closest either of us had been to one. I knew Geraldine was sleeping with me because there was nobody else sane enough or young enough to sleep with at the chateau. I knew she’d be discharged and forget about me, but some nights when her tears anointed my face, I wondered if my assessment had been accurate.

As is the way with honeymoons, ours came to an end in the most unglamorous of circumstances. One night two maintenance workers came onto the roof to fix an air conditioning unit and caught us in a naked embrace. They called Madame Bouvret, the formidable building manager, who escorted us down the stairs, a paunchy hand gripping each of our shoulders. She then delivered a lecture to us in broken English. Access to the terrace had been taken away and with it the only thing that made life bearable at Chateau Lac Dumain.

Apart from Geraldine I got to thinking more and more about my parents. My mother’s letters oozed concern but there was something restrained in them. My father’s were perfunctory. None of them made mention of when I would get out of here. The weeks had morped into months and the hot summer sun beat down on the chateau. I missed the pool every day. Increasingly the ornate iron lattice on the window of my room came to resemble the bars of a cell. I could come and go within the confines of the castle but would often find staff gazing at me down the hallway or hear the light steps of orderlies following me. Geraldine kept her distance but about two weeks after we had been banished from the terrace, I found myself next to her in recovery circle. I felt a small pressure on my hand and picked up a piece of paper.  I placed it in my pocket and read it in the bathroom. I watched the warm light playing over her ornate writing.

“I miss you. Meet me at the well at 9.”

The well was now disused and in a part of the courtyard that was in a blind spot from the administrative buildings. At 9.05 p.m. it was in darkness . I paced nervously for a few minutes before I saw her languid figure pass across the courtyard.

We kissed quickly and she took my hand. “Campbell. I can’t talk to you for long, for fear they will discover me,” she whispered. “I have not heard from my family now for  six weeks which is unheard of. I am scared, Campbell – yes scared that they have disowned me for real this time.”

Her small face was so drawn, that I wanted to cradle her head in my arms but then a fire came into her eyes.

“God obsessed bastards.”

“So what are we going to do Geraldine?”

The girl tugged on my arm. “We are going to escape. Tomorrow night we will be out of here. Meet me at the same time, same place tomorrow night. Bring a small bag with belongings.”


I tried to ask her the many questions that were crowding my mind but she was already a spectral shadow, sliding back across the courtyard.

Chapters from my novella Transitions are entirely fictitious and no resemblance is intended to real people or events.

8 comments:

  1. Catching up after a two day hiatus. The plot thickens! Will they escape or be caught? If the former, where will they go; what will they do?

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    1. thanks for sticking with it Susan and all the more reason to come back tomorrow :)

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  2. This episodic novel of yours is drawing me in. After finishing the letter H I had the theme music from Dick Barton playing in my head.

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    1. fantastic Mark - I guess these posts are meant to be short so doubt if many people will read all the way through - thanks for sticking with it..

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  3. oh! An escape sounds fun. Can't wait to see how that goes.

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