“She had a body made for love.”
That’s what he had told her. Anabelle wondered if it were true that people could be made for things. She lay on her side on the bed with only a thin sheet covering the curve of her hip and wondered. Did beauty condemn a woman to be always involved in love affairs? To be always smiling and fawning at people who one had no feelings for? To always be thinking of where and how to make him happy? To be thinking of who would be next because to be alone was impossible? No one ever left her alone, and it was so much safer to have someone powerful enough to keep them all away.
There were woman who weren’t “made for love” as she was. She had seen them in the few moments that she had to herself when she was waiting for taxis, or looking out of cafe windows. They walked down the street with purpose. They were going somewhere to do something important. They had something in their lives other than frivolity. Occasionally they glanced at her with looks of envy wondering what it would be like to drive in a limousine and eat at expensive restaurants. They never imagined that she envied them as much.
What purpose was their in a life like hers? How did she affect the world at all? She was like a flower on the side of the road that a child has picked to smell. In fact she was less than a flower, because a flower was, at least, natural. All that she did was artificial: Her smile, her laugh, her passion, all learned. Lying here alone she could see herself clearly. She was a piece of gold tinsel folded into the shape of a swan and used to decorate a table. Now she was beautiful and remarked upon. Later, when the party was over, she would be in the waste-bin with the rest of the trash.
She turned her face into the bedsheets until her long auburn hair hid the room from her view. Through her closed eyes, she imagined those women in their sensible black coats walking down the street in low-heeled shoes. She could be such a woman. Love was not the only thing that she would do. One day she would put on her black coat, the long one with the fur trim, and just start walking down the street. She would walk as far as she could until she found an ordinary house filled with ordinary people and she would ask them if they could help her find an ordinary job somewhere.
Perhaps she could be a waitress, or a secretary, or a school teacher. They would feed her a meal of sandwiches and tomato soup and give her a place to stay. She would wake up in the morning and pull her hair back in a bun thinking about all of the sensible things that she would do that day. Things with a purpose. Things that made a difference in the world. Yes. She would do it tomorrow, first thing in the morning after he had gone to work, before anyone had time to call on her. She would dress in her plainest clothes and put on her long black coat and walk away from this life.
The door opened and he entered. He picked up the edge of the sheet and tossed it away revealing her naked body. Anabelle rolled onto her back and smiling stretched langorously. He wrapped his arms around her and pulled her to him kissing her neck. She rolled back her head and closed her eyes imagining herself sitting at a table with a surface made of cracked linoleum eating a meal of tomato soup and sandwiches.
“What are you thinking?” he asked.
Anabelle replied, “I am thinking of you, my love, only of you.”