Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Present Genitive

She had always lusted after one.

The soft-topped sports coupe. The epitome of capitalist, materialistic, decadent independence.

When their upwardly mobile circumstances had allowed, he had mentioned the possibility in terms of the Company car but they could never agree on the make, let alone which model.

The banana yellow Audi TT described by the guys on Top Gear as a sheep in wolf's clothing for its under-performance; the silver BMW Z8 Pierce Brosnan's James Bond had driven were her favourites but he was a Jaguar man... or an Aston Martin. Big, heavy male speed machines as opposed to the delicate continental models.

They almost compromised on a Porsche until her practical side had fought its way to the fore with the question of whether it could accommodate their golf clubs or designer shopping bags, so they had gone for something bigger and more useful.

As time marched on and motherhood enveloped her in its all-encompassing embrace, the roofless sports convertible came to represent freedom in a Thelma and Louise, headscarved, sunglasses and sisterhood kind of way. The liberating possibility of a tussle with Brad Pitt in a secluded motel room and leaving this mundane mortal coil in a death-defying, electrifying blaze of glory.

Climbing into yet another family-friendly behemoth that spoke of play-dates, responsibility and the monster weekly shop at Sainsburys, she subjugated once again that tiny part of her that screamed out for emancipation and knuckled down to being the perfect wife and mother.

Until the day came when the children were grown and a landmark birthday and anniversary in the same year brought the gift. A set of keys lying on the table, a bright red girlie soft-top sitting on the drive.

Tears choked the back of her throat as her fingers reached out to touch, just once, the symbol of her independence.

And yet, to take the keys was to accept that she could endure another 25 years in a sterile vacuum of emotional repression and, for the first time ever, there was no doubt left in her mind that this was simply how it had to be.

So, a few hours later, with a heavy sigh, she scrunched the keys in her palm before jangling them from their loop and placing them, regretfully, on top of the signed papers.

Closing the door behind her, she walked away from the present and climbed into a waiting taxi.

She chose freedom.

17 comments:

Sophie said...

I'm sorry I know the reader should be happy for the strong decision that she has made. I find it said that she has to look at her last 25 years that way.

scarlet-blue said...

I know women who are or who are trying to do the exact same thing. You've captured this dilemma well.
Sx

BenefitScroungingScum said...

In my experience, no matter how long it takes eventually that desire for freedom wins out.
Hope all is well with you, BG x

marianne said...

I loved this. Courage isn't easy.

Jennybean said...

Sometimes in the end we find the thing we have been wanting was only a symbol, what we really want is the truth...

Great story...

Fat Controller said...

Powerful stuff...

Polar said...

The emotions are difficult to put to words.
The lifetime of waiting for something, when it does arrive, the strings attached are chains, too heavy to lift.
At our age we can look back and seethe years gone by. We can look ahead and see at least that many more ahead that can be enjoyed in better ways!

having my cake said...

Sophie - Hello! Yes, it is sad, but I think all woman have to go through that stage in order to come out the other side and be able to appreciate the good parts of that relationship and any new one.

Scarlet - Thank you.

BG - It's a fantasy but I think you're right about the desire for freedom coming to the fore in the end.

Marianne - I bet, for all her bravado, she still took that sports car for a drive first :)

Jennyb - Very perceptive :)

FC - Glad you liked it

Polar - It just takes that first step...

Helga Hansen said...

Beautifully written, Ms Cake... one day we should go soft-top shopping together!

Gorilla Bananas said...

It's laughable to think of anyone being bribed to stay in a marriage with a car. Yet on reflection, I'm sure it has happened.

Ben said...

Cake, I enjoyed your short very much. You captured a lot of emotional issues in so few words. Wanting often is better than having, but in the end freedom offers so much more without the material overhead and baggage.

Kyra said...

I'm not sure, but I think I might have picked the car...

Apollo Unchained said...

Holy Beemer, woman, that was brilliant! So nicely done.

having my cake said...

Helga - That's a date!

Mr Bananas, Im not sure he was trying to bribe her. I think it was a present that she had always wanted but, from her point of view, it came with strings attached.

Ben - Thank you x

Kyra - In one alternative ending, she did! In another, she sold it and took money :)

Apollo - Ta muchly x

justme said...

Yeah.....I'm thinking she should have taken the car and run......she deserved it!

nitebyrd said...

She chose freedom.

Yes. A wise choice.

Riff Dog said...

Very powerful story. A huge number of people have this same choice . . . or at least look forward to the opportunity of the choice.