Please sweetheart by Abigail George

Judith smiled across at Thomas. She didn’t say anything when he stroked her thigh up and down in the car. Up and down. Up and down. Until she felt an internal bliss rising up within her. At first, she felt afraid of this sensation. She had never felt this way before. Alone and afraid, overwhelmed irrevocably by city life, she changed. She changed over the months. She no longer felt anything for the past. She felt loved in the arms of power. Never before had she felt a love so great. Worshiped. Adored. She behaved like an actress. She flirted and in return she was caressed by men. She hovered near European males, found this exciting. Thought that she had a gift for it. For eating her dinners in a fancy restaurant. Thought that now she had economic freedom.

set0001_400Judith was a coloured girl from an Eastern Cape farming community. She knew her place. She also knew she was lucky. She had got good marks in matric. That was why she go the office job in Johannesburg. She didn’t know what to call the attention then. The inappropriate comments. She only knew this. That she was attracted to power. The emotional and financial security a powerful man could give her. She knew that one day, that day would ultimately come when she would marry and have children and forget about Johannesburg. Her winters there. The family who had rejected her because she was not white enough for them. She knew she would forget about her depression there. Most of all her nervous breakdown. She knew when (not if now anymore).

When she would marry she would leave home never to return to that asphalt jungle. She could
forgive her father then, even her mother. Feel no animosity towards her mother only grief, but she knew in time that would also change. There were times when she secretly despised herself.
She watches the flame bright and studious from where she is sitting. The candles that she has lit are enough to burn the flat down. She thinks to herself that she is a camera seeing not feeling. An electric soul on fire swimming towards the man. Her instinct is honest. A barefoot paradise.
They dance to a tape that she has put on. Joy Division then Lionel Richie fills the room. They are slow dancing. She’s tired of this game. He kisses her forehead and leads her to the bedroom.

All week Judith was missing him but she didn’t telephone him at home. Thomas had been angry when she had done that in the past. There had been arguments. Thomas didn’t hit her but he had raised his hand once. She had burst into tears then. Ran sobbing into the next room while he ran after her and tried to placate her. They had ended up making love. Thomas had apologised for being a bully. Told her that he loved her but he knew in his heart of hearts that he didn’t mean it and he hoped that she knew that he had only said it in the moment. He had found her at a jazz club one Friday evening. She was drinking alone at the bar. She was young.
Gamine and beautiful. She had beautiful eyes. She danced with energy. Listened to his stories.

Judith was way too young for him but she was looking for a man to go home with and she decided early on in the evening that it was Thomas that she was going to go home with. Instead he took her to a hotel in notorious Hillbrow, Johannesburg. All day after that Judith spent hours writing in her journal. How beautiful Thomas had said she looked over and over again. She told him about this older woman in the office who had become infatuated with her and had tried to kiss her one evening in a club they had both gone to after work for drinks. She had misunderstood the signals. The woman had said how pretty Judith looked. She had warned her about the married men in the office. She had asked Judith if she still looked attractive.

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