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not love, no

published: 2014-11-15

Addy is a prostitute, like so many female characters in 18th century novels are. Toothless, often. Not my Addy. She has fallen from grace. Once upon a time, not long ago, she wore indigo blue silk. Now she wears dark blue cotton.
She has just had sex with a married man. He visits her often. He says that she and he both know there will come an end to this. She lets him think, lets him speak and when he has repeated himself she asks
It will happen, he says.
She says – I love – and waits for him to become nervous – the way you fuck me.
I love the way I fuck you too.
She has not undressed this time, only taken off her underwear, and so she stands clothed before him in her dress watching him put on his socks, collect himself.
She asks why he always leaves at six and answers the question herself: dinner with the family. But he has already started telling her how he always cooks for his wife and children, he likes to cook. He comes in at 6 – have you already done all the groceries then? yes – and they’ll have some wine, catch up, play games, then have dinner quite late.
He has still been putting on his socks but suddenly seems startled by something and puts his foot down. She has never seen him look at her this way.
In sympathy.
Because of it, she cries.
Go now, she says. It’s loneliness, that’s all.
Not love, no, not love.

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