Yesterday morning, Hubert was up and out of the house early. Happy day! Out of the house means out of pajamas!
By the time I’d done my toilette, he was back with breakfast-in-a-bag.
I nibbled and sipped while he laid out the plan. To make up for
forgetting ignoring my birthday, he suggested we head down to the local repertoire theatre and watch Fassbinder’s “Satansbraten.” Then maybe out for a drink and post-mortem.
Maybe that’s not romantic in some places…
He was giving me the synopsis when I spied the mold. I spat the half-chewed bite onto the remaining eggwich, folded the mess back into the greasy paper, and swilled out my mouth with the now-tepid coffee. It’s the thought that counts, I told myself.
Smiling, I handed him the paper cup and went up to brush my teeth.
At one, I went down for lunch. Hubert was just hanging up the phone. And looking nervous.
A teacher was sick and he’d been asked to fill in. He wouldn’t be out of the classroom until 6:45. The film started at 7:30 – not enough time for him to come home so we could go together. Would I mind terribly if our date started once we were both at the theatre?
Mind? Why would I mind hoofing down to the local stroll by myself?
I most definitely did mind his remark that I’d be safe as long as I didn’t dress like a working girl. So, Hubert made nice – and made lunch.
After he left for his writing class, I thought about what he said – and decided to spice up the evening.
By 7:15 I was standing outside the theatre, my knee-length black coat covering up my “wanna-go-on-a-date” finery. I lit a cigarette and watched the negotiations of some women whose outfits were all business.
Within a few minutes, Hubert got off the bus and walked toward me.
I should have known. Not only by the number of young people getting off the bus and walking toward the theatre at the same time, but… just because. I just should have known.
When Hubert waved, I untied my scarf and blew him a pouty kiss. As he neared me, I winked and opened up my coat. And then (I am still humiliated), as I bent ever-so-slightly to lift my skirt and show him a bit more thigh, Hubert swept his arm magnanimously to his right and corralled five young male students straight toward my Sinful Snow White décolletage.
He thought they deserved some fun after a long class.
And didn’t I look fetching.
I clutched my coat closed as Hubert – oblivious and happy – paid for our tickets.
I wrapped my scarf around my head and face, my mother’s voice inside me, tsk-tsking: “You should have known this was a bad idea, Eunice!”
I fumed as we walked into the auditorium. Thankfully, we found seats at the back. Three dwarfs on his left. Two on my right.
I refused to hold Dopey’s hand. We are so NOT hosting the faculty-student Christmas party this year, I hissed.
The prostitutes on the screen were too much art-imitating-life for my liking. I slipped out while Hubert shared a bon-mot with one of the writing students.
Outside the theatre I lit a cigarette. Fumed some more.
A woman – shivering slightly in her skimpy outfit – sauntered past me. Twice.
The second time, I took it as a sign.
After a dance of suspicion, disbelief and, finally, laughter, she agreed to wait – no more than five minutes – while I found a cash machine.
After I handed her $200 and she slipped on my coat and scarf, I bought a movie ticket and described where she’d find her 60-year-old date and his young cronies.
Back home, I poured a gin.
As I made up Hubert’s bed in the spare room, I pictured her, scarf around her head, masking her profile. Taking the seat beside him without taking off her coat, angling herself so her back was ever-so-slightly turned to him.
As I wrote out an invoice for my coat and the 200 dollars I’d had to withdraw from the cash machine, I pictured him reaching for her hand when she sat down, content that all was right in his world.
As I lay his “smoking jacket” on the pillow of the pull-out bed and slid the invoice into the sleeve of his pajamas, I pictured him turning to her – and she to him – when the credits finished rolling.
As I closed and locked the door to the master bedroom, I pictured the students wishing Hubert and his “wife” a good night.
I sipped my second gin and laughed.
In the morning when I went down to make coffee, my scarf was laying on the kitchen table, tied neatly into a bow. On top of it was a cheque for $400 drawn on Hubert’s personal account.
The memo line said, “ Hot date and cover up.”
He has a sense of humour. I’ll give him that.