Yesterday, everything was still okay. At least as okay as life can be when you are with Richard. To tell you the truth, I'd been against it from the start. It was destined to end in
disaster. The first shared flat is something special; so should be the man you share it with.
Well, Richard is unique.
Puzzled? No wonder, it's a confusing story and I'd better start at the beginning.
"Things will be better once we are living together, you'll see," Richard assured me when he first came up with the idea. "It'll be less stressful than the continuous hopping around between the office, my flat and yours. Once we get to know each other's quirks, we'll learn to be more tolerant. Come on, say you'll think about it!"
Two days later, he brandished a newspaper in which several advertisements were
circled in red. One of them even had an exclamation mark beside it.
"Well? What do you think?" Richard asked, smiling, when we were standing in the charming living room for the first time.
I'd already fallen in love with the wooden floors, the beamed ceilings, the cosy fireplace. Late sixteenth century. So I ignored my gut feeling and agreed.
Of course, things didn't go better. I soon realised that if I didn't leave him, he'd destroy
me. But try to explain such a thing to a boyfriend! My friends weren't any help either.
"Leave Richard? You can't do that, darling!" Charlene was aghast when I asked her for
advice. "He'd be crushed. And why should you? He's got an excellent job, he's tall, handsome and must be an ace of a lover."
At that point Richard had come into the restaurant, given Charlene a peck on the cheek and me a big kiss and a bunch of roses.
"See what I mean?" her eyes were telling me over the rim of her wineglass.
That was when I realised that nobody would understand, let alone help me. They thought I was crazy. You probably agree. You'll think, "The girl is simply not ready for a incere relationship." You have no idea.
But I can play that game, too. If they thought me insane, why should that not bring me freedom? I began telling Richard about noises I heard, complained about being watched,
wanted him to call the landlord and ask whether former tenants had sensed 'things'.
"Are you out of your mind? There are three other parties living here and nobody has ever told me strange stories!" Richard shouted. "Do you want us to become the laughing stock
of the house?"
That was yesterday. I was standing by the fireplace in the living room, dusting the mantelpiece. I didn't mind the row that followed, being certain it would be our last. I
remember holding Richard's football trophy. I think I saw it fall to the floor. Had I dropped it or had Richard? It was dark after that.
When I woke up this morning, it was as if I were trapped in my own fantasies. There were strange noises, everything was blurred and I felt - wobbly somehow, without substance. I still have difficulty finding my way around (in my own flat!) and time plays tricks on me.
Present, past and future seem fused into a viscous haze. When I want to go into the living
room, angst seizes me. Terrible things must have happened in there. I seem to have to look for something. If only I knew what. Is this how you feel when you're going bananas?
Now, let's go about it rationally. "Think again, girl! What was the last thing you remember clearly?"
(To be continued)