Armand Comes Calling After Fifty Years ...
One night a couple of weeks ago, Armand showed up ... after more than fifty years. I know the dream probably occurred because my second husband had been insanely jealous of him and had nailed his photo to the floor boards during a renovation, a photo I had come across recently while searching for our divorce papers. He'd defaced it before mailing it to me with one of his vituperative frightening letters.
Armand would be nearly ninety now, but in the dream he was my handsome, if a little portly, lover who was almost twice my age when we began our affair. Yes ... a five year affair with my boss. I was a twenty-one year old single mom. He was thirty-nine. Almost fatherly.
We loved one another but affairs with married men are sordid. Everything has to be sneaky. I had to meet him away from home, crouch down in the front seat until we were past the area where there was any real possibility of detection, and, except for one wonderful weekend camping trip, all our shared moments occurred under cover of darkness.
My father suspected, because Armand showed up at his door one night very drunk asking to see me, but my father, like my grandfather, was a worldly man, and besides he avoided confrontations and conversations in which I might have been forced to lie. He preferred to allow sleeping dogs to lie there, to hide dirt under the rug, to pretend that our own very empty relationship was as pretty as it appeared on the surface, like the confections my grandfather's bimbos sported on their heads. So all he said was that Armand had arrived the night before drunk and had tiptoed through the tulips singing. No questions. No need for evasions.
But the other night when Armand visited my bed in the middle of the night, we simply made love, in much the same way we made love every week at that little Laurentian motel. This time we didn't even talk, and this time he didn't shower away the smell of our sex before leaving. And there was no Chinese food at the next door restaurant either. He just drifted away.
After he left I lay there wondering why he'd come. Had he died recently? Maybe I'd conjured him with that photo with the nail through his heart? Maybe he thought I must never forget how terrible it is to be married to an insanely jealous man. Perhaps he was simply an embodiment of all men in stale sexless marriages ... men who seek gratification of all kinds elsewhere but who remain married? Or was this a warning about losing good years when you might have found someone to make a real life with? Maybe it was to remind me that I should stay clear of cowards.
I wonder if all those bimbos had dreams about my profligate grandfather.
Dreams of My Father ...
After Dad died I had recurring dreams about his coming back demanding that I return my inheritance; that he needed it. They started when I bought a car using his money. In all the dreams I thought of the money as his, never mine, probably because in my waking life I still think of anything I inherited as being his, not mine. These dreams are frightening because I can't give the money back to him because I have spent it. I awake from these nightmares icy cold and trembling. It takes me a long time to go back to sleep.
Just the other night, my father arrived, not alone in a nightmare, but with two women, one on either side of him, holding his hands.
The one on the left was very like one of my grandfather's bimbos. I recognized her from a photo he kept from the early fifties. She was white blonde and glamourous. She signed it "All my love, Kippy". She was his New York girlfriend. He traveled to New York several times a year on business. Kippy would have looked great on his arm, sitting across from him at dinner in a smart restaurant eating expense account meals, and making passionate love in the bedroom of his upscale hotel. I think she was a call girl who had several out of town visitors she played with ... for a price. But I might be wrong. I never asked. He never told me.
The other woman was Adele, frumpy, overweight, her dark greying hair cut and styled ineptly. Adele was a dietitian from Halifax. I loved her and wished she were the mother I never had. My father said she had an unpleasant smell.
Where were all the others, I wondered. Joanie who refused to marry him because he was a divorced man and she was Catholic. Mary who sewed beautiful clothes to try to win my cold little jealous heart. The Czech woman he brought to Canada, married and divorced within a couple of years when he realized he'd been used as a passport to the West. Lizzie who was his last partner, the one he never married, the one who said they were shacking up and then giggled at the audacity of having said that.
Why just those two? The two extremes, perhaps? To show what men want, but not enough to make a commitment, and what they shun even though the woman's heart is warm and loving?
10:34 ... another 1 1/4 hours ... if I am right on track that should be another 1000 words ... 2400... almost 2300 ... I am going to shower and go out for a walk to clear my head ... maybe my story will find me.