Sunday 23 June 2019

Putting on the Slap

by Gill James


Today was the day. She was going to do it. She caught sight of her reflection as the bus went round the corner. She'd got used now to the scarf that covered her hair. In fact that had become a fashion item in its own right. It was fun, choosing which particular combination of colours and patterns set off her skin or in fact drew the attention away from her and towards her clothing.
Her mother had told her horror stories of what it had been like in the 1960s and 1970s. Young girls making themselves attractive and then wondering why the men wanted to sleep with them, wanted to put grotesque parts of  bodies into their private parts and tried to name it "making love". The short skirts probably didn't help.  Of course they didn't. All those old rockers taken to court in the twenty teenies. 
"What did we expect? We were  a little bit mad really." Her mother sighed. "We should have known better."
"Couldn't it have been just for you?" Why should every wrinkle show? Why must women always look so dull these days? Why  couldn't she look in the mirror and just enjoy what she saw?
"They always thought it was for them."
Perhaps they'd just wanted the attention, or the power or just to prove that they could do it.
Never mind all that. Her time had come now.
The bus stopped in front of the deli. She tried not to run. That lack of decorum might give her secret away. Her fingers trembled as she tried to put her key into the lock. It took her three goes. Her heart thumped as she bounded up the stairs, tearing her headscarf off as she ran.
She rushed straight into the bathroom, pulled off the rest of her clothes and turned on  the shower.  The warm water caressed her. She thought of him and felt a pleasant dampness arrive in the gap between her legs. She couldn't stop her hand straying to that spot ànd that very slight pressure caused a short but intense orgasm, a promise of what might come  later. Of what hopefully would happen. 
She dried herself, moved into the bedroom and selected her underwear: the matching green silk thong and uplift bra. How long would it be before they were revealed again? Now as well the green slinky dress that clung to her and shaped her and rested just above the knee, demure and revealing at the same time. Maybe a promise?
Now she must see to her hair and makeup. This was the hard bit. She envied her mother's generation. They used to do this three or four times a day. They knew exactly how to flick the end of a curl with a toss of the fingers, how to emphasise a cheekbone with a smudge of red and how to draw a straight line to frame an eyelid. It would take her forever.  
Yes, it took her forever to get it right. Or so it seemed. Actually it took exactly the right amount of time. The very moment that she attained the perfection she sought was the exact moment she needed to leave. She gently licked her strawberry glossed lips. Surely he would want to kiss those just as much she wanted them to be kissed?
The bus came at once, thank goodness. She smiled to herself as people looked away. Yes, clearly this was a courting ritual, a prelude to sex, maybe the hope of reproduction. Nature? No, she wasn't interested in children. Not just yet.
"No prizes for guessing what she's up to," the man in the wheelchair mumbled.
"She shouldn't flaunt it like that in public. She should get a taxi." His female companion was  frowning. Jealous, she supposed. Hmm. Well, if she'd paid for a taxi, then she wouldn't have been able to afford the slap. Perhaps he's rich. Perhaps he would marry her.
"My god,  there'll be a few hard-ons if she carries on like that." His hand lightly grazed his crotch.
That bit still worked then.
She wanted to titter. Oh yes, this was her moment,  her butterfly hour, her chance to shine. It was all about her as a woman, as a lover, as a sex object perhaps. But she mustn't titter, nor even put her hand in front of her  mouth, for she must not spoil this perfect image. 
He was already at the restaurant when she arrived. His dark brown eyes looked into hers and a spasm of delight traveled through her whole body.
"So beautiful, so perfect. Oh, I so want you." His lips brushed hers gently. 
Why not cut to the chase? Why not skip the  meal? After all they both knew what this was about.     
But no, like a gentleman, his hand resting lightly of  the small of her back, he showed her to the  table. The ritual must continue. Later for sure they would explore each other,  skin would touch skin, he would come and she would feel that explosion of physical joy deep inside. Perhaps over and over until they were exhausted. There was no ambiguity about what they both wanted.
As the waiter poured the champagne and she savoured what would happen soon, she paused  to feel sorry for the old rockers.

About the author

Gill edits CafeLit. She is a great fan of the short story form and of flash fiction in particular. She loves stories of the near future: Black Mirror, Years and Year, Humans and 21st Century Problems.       

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