Following are excerpts from my book “Happily Unmarried Ever After”
- Excerpts from Chapter Three – “It must have been the roses”
- Excerpts from Chapter Six – “An Englishman in Newark”
“HAPPILY UNMARRIED EVER AFTER – A FAIRY TALE FOR THE MODERN WOMAN”
“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. Meet me there.” Rumi
Excerpts from Chapter Three – “It must have been the roses”
…I smell him before I see him. A whiff of jasmine mixed with coconut and lime. Then, out of the corner of my eye, as soon as this intoxicating scent hits me, I see the un-tucked, crisp white shirt and the dark, shiny hair. He has not noticed me, at least I do not think so, although he walks by again, this time behind me and I hear him inhale, one single, slow breath. That is how close he is to me. I have to smile to myself, thinking that if it had been anyone else, not so good looking and not so fantastically scented, I would have probably turned around, right around this time, and called him a “f….ing a..hole” to his face. Usual response to strange men in the subway who stand too close and breathe heavy in my ear. But my defenses are down with him.
A train pulls into the station and this time it is the right one for sure. Just as I am about to enter, a guy sitting to the right of the door awakens from his daze and rushes out of the car. In order not to get trampled by this genius, I take a step back, into the fragrant stranger on the platform.
He is standing right behind me but again I get a whiff of his intoxicating body scent and do the unthinkable.
“I’m sorry.” I apologize, turning my head in profile, just enough to catch a glimpse of him out of the corner of my eye. How non aggressive of me, after all it was he who was standing way too close.
“Oh, no, it’s all right. I’m sorry.” He sounds exactly the way someone who looks and smells like him should. I can feel all the muscles in my body relaxing and a pleasant tingle in my toes.
Excerpts from Chapter Six – “An Englishman in Newark”
I am on my way to beginning the rest of our lives together. Amal and I and our living together in Los Angeles, that is. After his final performance in the play, the Nineteenth of December in Boston, he hugged me and uttered the words I had always wanted to hear.
“Will you spend the rest of your life with me?”
OK, so maybe other women would rather hear “Will you marry me?” shortly thereafter followed by a sizable diamond ring. But the institution of marriage has never been an absolute necessity to me. In fact, it is more the idea of unending partnership that I find appealing and romantic…
…I board the plane quickly and take my seat by the window. I watch the ground crew loading the luggage efficiently into the cargo hold.
“So, it was you!” I hear the words spoken in perfect Queen’s English before I turn around to behold the surprise. Crispin was the man whose silhouette made me smile earlier and he has the aisle seat next to mine. We hug, inappropriately and too long for ex lovers and take our seats. I, for one, glowing.
“Darling, you look more beautiful than ever! I can’t believe my eyes. I thought I saw you in the terminal, fighting with that midget who was trying to steal your luggage, but I wasn’t sure. And the last thing I wanted to do was distract you from your battle.” His eyes twinkle. I am almost positive he is making fun of me.
“You look fantastic too, Cris. And I wasn’t fighting with a midget back there. I was consoling a child. You know children, those lovely creatures of which you have, oh let me see, two of your very own! How are the kids, how are the ex-wife and wife number two?” It is a mouthful, but then Crispin is a very complex man. He is also even more handsome than I remembered.
“Well, you might want to phrase it this way: how are the kids and the ex-wives? I got a divorce from my second wife. I am now in the market for number three. How lucky we should meet again, after so long.” He winks. Crispin and Amal are as different as night and day, physically and in every other way.
“How long has it been, Nina, two years at least, right?” He could be ordering a sandwich at a deli but with his accent, my name sounds like a Shakespearean sonnet.
“Hum… Are you implying something Cris? Because I must stop you right there if you are. I am spoken for. I am on this flight, moving to Los Angeles, to be with this man. I believe he is the love of life. Although, I am so mad at him right now, I could scream!” I am not sure if it is because I am so angry at Amal, but I feel an easy closeness with Crispin. It reminds me of the times spent together and all the wonderful talks we had. Everything sounded smart when he was involved in the conversation. We would read poetry to each other, speak at length about our world travels, drink amazing champagne and lie in each other’s arms. No commitment, no flying across the country to give it my all, no hard work for the sake of the relationship. Just two people, really into each other, spending the moments they had together with as little space between them as possible.
I turn, because Crispin’s hand rests on my arm. Was that a shiver I felt? It is getting to be a chronic condition these days. I thought it only possible when Amal was in the room.
“Darling, the flight attendant wants you to buckle your seat belt. Do it please, I beg you, so we can take off. You are clearly holding up the plane.” How funny, Crispin. Well, at least the quivering feeling is gone. I must remember to thank Crispin for killing the mood. It is all coming back now. The downside to this man – apart from the “married with children” issue which he thinks has been resolved now – is his condescending attitude outside the bedroom. In bed, he was always free and uninhibited. In life, he can be a damn pompous ass.
Nevertheless, I turn to take in his gorgeous profile and try to remember the words to “The Road Not Taken.” I can only think of the last stanza.
“I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
I am not sure whether Amal or Cris are the road less traveled. And I cannot remember the explanation Mr. Jones, my eleventh grade English teacher, gave to the class. Some special, code-cracking truth that, at the time, I wrote down in my notebook as the meaning of life.
“Anyway, what’s this rubbish I hear about you finding the love of your life? Haven’t I taught you anything?” He takes hold of my face. He smells fresh and his hands feel soft yet masculine. I want to be mad at him for still making me feel like an inexperienced little girl but I cannot focus on anything other than his aqua blue eyes.
“Love does not pay the bills, Darling. Love does not keep you safe in a storm. Love does not challenge your mind nor does it nourish your body. Now, hold on – I know what you are thinking. But it isn’t love that gives you that intense, pleasurable feeling. It’s passion, that is different. You and I had passion. You might be “in passion” with this chap, I shall give you that much, but I guarantee a disaster if you have made any decisions based on love. What is the boy’s name anyway?” I hate it that he calls him a boy. He is doing it again, belittling me, my feelings. He makes it sound like I am in heat. “In passion,” I’ll show you Crispin!
“The MAN’s name is Amal. He is a wonderful, loving…” Cris interrupts me! Aaugh.
“Amal… Oh, the boy is Indian then? You should have said so right away! It is all the Kama Sutra he has been practicing on you that has you speaking of love! I should have known. I give it six to eight months. Let me see. I will be on a hunting expedition in Tanzania, then up to visit my mum in Wales and in April, I open in a play in the West End. By the end of that run, it should bring us both to the end of August and I know you will be thinking differently then. If you have outgrown your sentimentality, I can offer you security, sparkling conversations, a wicked good time in the sack and two lovely, ready-made children who would only visit us on weekends. Love, I do not do, but by then, I guarantee, neither will you.” He sounds so sure of himself. All he has managed to do is feed within me my feelings for Amal. I unexpectedly plant a kiss on Crispin’s cheek. His little speech has convinced me I am traveling to the right destination. We spend the rest of the journey exchanging light conversation and pregnant glances….
© 2009 by E. N. Rothe