This is the rework of a self-published auto-biographical story (2008), rewritten for this blog. Names of characters have been changed.
Content warning: mental and physical abuse, misogyny.
Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in getting up every time we do.
Continued from… The Day After
Annie’s excitement and enthusiasm knew no bounds where she sat in the car next to Fred. Together they were on their way back home from the city, as she had received the money for the insurance claim after the burglary in her former house. It was going to be a perfect day!
In the days before this trip Annie and Fred had selected a new hi-fi, which was now in the back of the car. Annie could hardly wait to try it. She loved listening to music, and she knew Fred did too. It was something they shared, which today made her feel even closer to the handsome men behind the wheel. As Fred parked the car on the driveway, Annie jumped out to retrieve the package from the back.
“Where shall I put it?” Annie asked.
“Put it in your room for now,” Fred said, his voice friendly and full of love, “Before I can do anything with it, there are some other things that need my attention.”
Hours later, Annie couldn’t wait any longer, so she decided to unpack the hi-fi herself. After all, in the past she never needed a man to help her, as she knew how to install the appliance. The hi-fi was already on its place and she was busy with the cables when Fred walked into her bedroom.
“What are you doing?” he asked.
The undertone in his voice frightened Annie. She stuttered.
“Er… uhh… I decided to… er… put the hi-fi on its place.”
Even though Annie knew exactly how to continue, she changed her strategy. Fred sounded angry that she was doing everything on her own, and she wanted to boost his ego by asking for his help.
“I am having trouble connecting the speakers. Can you do it for me, please?”
Unfortunately, it didn’t work.
“will you leave the hi-fi in your bedroom?” Fred asked with the same angry sound in his voice.
“In that case, you can do it yourself. If you put it in the living room, then…” he let his words hang in the air and walked out of the room.
That was the moment when Annie realized that the only reason Fred was as excited as her to buy a new hi-fi, was because he wanted it for himself. She wished he would understand that she needed something of herself in her bedroom. Everything in the room, except for her clothes, was theirs. And what’s more, they had their own hi-fi in the living room, so why would he want hers there? She was angry as she continued to connect the speakers. Angry at Fred for being so selfish, for not being happy for her. And angry with herself for yet again making Fred angry.
For the first two weeks after she had installed the hi-fi in her bedroom, Annie didn’t dare turning it on.
Annie flung her briefcase on her bed and walked to the small living room where Fred sat with a cup of coffee in one hand, and a letter in the other. Annie greeted him with a kiss on the mouth, while quickly glancing at the paper in his hand. From what she saw, she realized the handwriting might be that of a woman. She didn’t ask what it was. Annie would never dare to do that ever again. Experience had taught her to wait until Fred told her what he thought that she should know, and if he didn’t, she would eventually hear it from Fran.
“I received a letter today,” Fred said with a smug smile, “or I should rather say, the club received a letter today.”
A chill ran down Annie’s spine.
“Is the advert running again?”
“No it isn’t. Here,” he said, holding the letter out to her, “read it.”
Annie did. A woman, who saw the advert in an old issue of the newspaper, had written the letter. It wasn’t a long letter, but in it she expressed her hope that the club still existed, as she was just starting to explore her own bisexuality and wanted to meet likeminded women. Annie read the letter twice, and offered no comments on it. When Fran came home, she too read the letter, and also wisely decided not to comment on it.
To be continued… The New Club
© Rebel’s Notes