You may remember my episode with Chloe. I took her home after the night out with friends; she had made a mess of the car, of me and herself. It was not a pretty sight.
She lived in a tiny little apartment by herself. It was a struggle to get her up the two flights of stairs, fumble in her purse for her keys and let her in. I felt like pushing her in, closing the door and then having to spend half the rest of the night cleaning up my car, stripping off my clothes putting them in to soak or just chucking them out. It just didn’t work out that way.
Chloe collapsed on the floor just inside the door and moaned. The moaning was quite reminiscent of moaning I had done after my boozy nights out but then there was nobody to hear me.
I dragged her into her bedroom and said “I’m going to get you in bed after I have got your dirty clothes off. Do you understand?” She moaned again with what I thought was consent. The shoes, tights and dress were no problem. I took these to the laundry alcove and tossed them in some cold water. The shoes strangely were unmarked. Pretty pink high heeled straps that I put on the floor. I had put her watch on the side table but left her assortment of bangles on her.
When I returned to Chloe she was still moaning. I told her she had to drink some water to rehydrate. She took a few miserable sips and fell back onto the bed again. I found a bucket and placed it by the bed and told it was there. She moaned an affirmative. “I’m going to put you in the bed now, hold me round the neck and I’ll lift you up” She did so and I pulled her near naked body up and pulled back the sheet and plonked her down again.
At this stage you are going to ask was she pretty? Yes, she was beautiful, something like a ripe pear you want eat up greedily.
“I’m going now Chloe” I said.
“No don’t go,” she cried, “I feel safe with you.”
“No, I’ve got to get home to clean myself up.”
“Have a shower here, please don’t leave me.”
“You shouldn’t drink so much, Chloe, you not a nice person when you do”
That was my mistake. I should have just left, there and then. But she turned on the ultimate weapon. She cried.
“I’m not really like this” She wailed.
“Try to sleep Chloe”
“Hold me for a little while, please”
I sat on the bed, pulled her covers up and patted her shoulder.
As I did this I looked at her as she dozed off. She looked like a sleeping angel, albeit with foul breath. I turned the bedside lamp off so there was only a glimmer of light from the hall. As I patted her gently she murmured in a slurry voice “It’s all an act you know. There is a nice person inside me.” With that she fell asleep.
It was half past three on Sunday morning. I found some blankets, tossed them on the couch then went to have my shower. The bathroom and the whole of the apartment was pristine, clean, well cared for, food cupboards stocked. Was she telling the truth that was she a different person that somehow turned into a bore with a few drinks inside them? Did I want to find out? I looked at the bookshelf. Kafka, Camus, Hemmingway, Vonnegut, and so on, I was amazed. There were two by Annie Proulx, Shipping News of course and then Postcards which was my favourite. Was there someone inside her after all that I would like to know? On the coffee table was the book she was currently reading The Motorcycle Diaries by Che Guevara. It even had a book mark not just turned face down on the table. Now I was truly convinced.
I recalled her beautiful body and the words she said to me just before she was threw up in the car.
“Jim, Jim,” she said as she just had let her fingers gently touch my neck, not crudely, not passionately, but with affection. Did I ever figured her out wrong! Ah well, better late than never.