Dear Readers (anyone out there?),
I am waiting patiently for responses to several of my story submissions, sent to various venues months ago.
The following passage is from a story that I sent to a literary magazine produced in the English Department of another Canadian university (not the one where I teach). I sent it in July 2007. I haven't received an answer. When I sent a query letter in December, I was told that the mag is run by volunteers, so I should be patient.
The story, "Losing Deirdre," has never seen the light of day before. It is mildly erotic because of
the subject-matter. I leave you to guess how much is based on my colorful past, how much on other lives I have observed, and how much on educated guessing. If you would like to see the rest of the story, leave me a note.
Losing Deirdre - Part 1
by Jean Roberta. Not to be reproduced without author’s permission.
I haven’t seen Deirdre for years now, but our last night together replays in my memory from time to time like an old melodrama on TV. I keep wishing I could change the ending.
“How’d you do, babe?” was the first thing I heard when I entered the dark room. She always asked me that when I came in from a call.
Dee, honey, how could you sound so childish and so knowing at the same time?
“Not bad, not great,” I told her. “One-fifty.” We were in one of the little third-floor bedrooms in the old house Ben and Alexis had rented as soon as they had arrived on the prairie from the bright lights of Montreal to start what they called a top-notch escort agency. Deirdre was living in this musty little room, and I spent the night with her whenever I had a late-night call.
“Turn the light on, Jackie,” she ordered me, in baby-domme mode. “I want to watch you take your clothes off.”
“It’s three o-clock in the morning,” I complained. I wasn’t sure whether I was annoyed at the prospect of being pressured into more sex when I wanted to sleep, or whether I resented her for using my working name instead of Chris, the name my parents gave me.
Deirdre lay in bed while I stood in darkness in the middle of the room, pulling off my black dress, black satin heels, stockings, garter belt and matching red bra and panties. I knew she was naked under the covers, and I could see a faint glimmer of moonlight from the window on her smooth skin.
I wanted to see her somewhere far away from this house, to run naked with her in some prairie farmer’s wheat field where our slim bodies – mine pink, hers golden-brown – would look like part of the landscape and not like objects for sale.
“You’re so beautiful, honey, and I really like the way you dress.” Only an eighteen-year-old could say it like that, I thought, in this context. I wondered whether she really understood that I was old enough to be her mother.
“I wear what the johns want me to wear,” I whispered back. “Same as you.” Nonetheless, I crawled into bed where she was waiting for me with open arms, and I held her as tightly as ever.
Kissing and rocking each other back and forth, we generated heat between us. I suspected that she had been working herself up for several hours while I was out. Sex seemed to dominate her life to an unhealthy degree, or maybe I told myself that to avoid recognizing how my own life had been slipping out of my control. What an irony, I thought, that this is what we like to do when we’re not working. But with Dee it wasn’t work.
Her raven-black hair slid past my face. I thought of her native sisters standing on street corners, and I thought of my own seven-year-old daughter, who had once asked Deirdre to put makeup on her so she would look like us ladies. Oh, the guilt. But oh the hypocrisy of a culture in which everyone is judged by how they look, and every desirable thing is for sale.
There is nothing I could feel about my messy life, I thought, that won’t look like a cheesy cliché when I examine it later. But I really do want to protect the girls I love, for what that’s worth.
End of Part 1. To be continued on request.