Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: LUST (all-consuming desire; excessive craving) (01/08/15)
TITLE: A slight dose of Couvade's.
By Danielle King
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He froze in the darkness, waiting to hear her rhythmic purring before slipping silently out onto the landing. Counting each step, in the dim light he descended. A calf muscle scrunched in spasm as his bare feet met the cold, tiled hallway.
He remained undeterred; the goal paramount.
She awoke to the spirited song of the blackbird, boasting his fitness to the ladies; marking his territory with intent. Quietly she slid out of bed. A magnificent daybreak, sky’s streaked with red, took her breath away. There he perched, the feisty bird. Atop a chimney, singing his redolent solo.
She turned from the window, willing her young husband to wake, to share this magical moment. In the half-light, a shock of dark hair spread across the pillow, thick and wavy. She smiled. The thatched spectacle she once mistook for a wig. No self-respecting graduate would own such a mop head, surely?
“It’s to incubate his brain,” a friend told her. “He studies Psychology. They’re all a bit odd.”
If only they knew. She chuckled. Seriously, you actually wed the nerd?
Memories, not too distant, tumbled over each other. Her first impression, the geek, open toe sandals and wholemeal bread; furrowed brow; jutting forehead housing big, boring brain.
Dress sense? Don’t even go there…
And she chased him, did all the running, more out of curiosity at first.
He stirred under the covers, snorted and turned over. He wore pyjamas on our wedding night. His mother bought him new ones, especially.
Stifling a giggle, she climbed in beside him. Hopes and plans for their future lulled her into sweet dreams.
She awakened before the alarm. Today she planned to cook a proper breakfast, like an old fashioned wife; the type grandmas used to be. She pulled on her pink robe and tiptoed downstairs.
Taking eggs, streaky bacon and sausage from the fridge and the fry pan from its hook, she carefully laid them out on the worktop. Hands on hips she stepped back to study form.
Sausage first, then bacon. No, bacon first, then… wait, there’s something missing…
She scoured the larder. I bought black pudding. Mushrooms, I bought mushrooms too.
He was due at the office at nine. She disregarded the missing items and set about her maiden voyage as a proper, old fashioned house-wife.
“Scrumptious!” He licked greasy lips. “Can we do it again tomorrow?”
Glowing with pride and eager to replicate her remarkable achievement, she made a return visit to the mini-market. She filled her basket; bacon, sausage, eggs and most importantly, black pudding and large open cup mushrooms.
Strangely, she came over a touch queasy. It quickly passed and she went to work as usual.
That night her sleep was disturbed by husband, slinking out of bed. Bathroom again. Trying not to wake me. Ah bless.
At seven, the alarm rattled. Hurrying downstairs she set about repeating the previous day’s performance. The bacon didn’t smell quite as appetising. A wave of nausea hit. She was ready to add black pudding…
“YOU, are freaking me out,” she told the empty shelf.
Husband came down, gobbled breakfast at speed and shot out the door. “Again tomorrow?”
She did. And the following day. And the one after that.
On the fifth day he wrinkled his nose, poked his specs into place with an index finger, and minus one hint of emotion announced,
“I’m going to be a father!”
Oddly, the notion of her beautiful, madcap, screwball professor/husband playing away from home didn’t register. Profundity reigned beneath that wiry mop head. And she deemed this proclamation profoundly ridiculous, until…
Sallowness substituted rosiness; frenzied thinking trampled tranquillity. Nocturnal tiddles; It’s a bluff. He’s slipping out like a tomcat while I sleep. How stupid am I?
“I couldn’t help myself.” He looked sheepish. “I was lured.”
I do not want to hear this.
“It was a need, a craving, an irrepressible, all consuming passion.” She stuck fingers in both ears. “For black pudding… and mushrooms, raw… with ketchup.”
She promptly gagged.
“And that’s when I realised we were pregnant.”
“What?” She looked askance. “We?”
“I can’t do it alone, can I?”
“So, I grow the baby and you get the symptoms?”
His eyebrows met up. “There is a fascinating phenomenon, possibly psychosomatic in origin, known as… where are you going?”
“Baby shopping Mr Freud.”
“Don’t forget my mushrooms and… oh, bye then…
*Black pudding – or blood sausage.
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