Winter 2011

Table of Contents - Vol. VII, No. 4


Poetry    Translations     Fiction    Reviews   

Terry Collett


Dotty Feigned Sleep

Dotty thought she could feign sleep so that her husband Donald would not disturb her. He would disturb her if he thought she was awake and laying on the bed. He was like that, always after sex, anytime, any day. The bed was comfortable; the new mattress held her in a way Donald could never do. She felt the mattress beneath her, the firmness, the way it touched her, her body feeling loved. She sensed the blindness behind her closed lids. She tried to keep her lids still just in case he entered the bedroom and saw them move. Her right hand was beneath her head cupping the back of her skull; she sensed her hair in the palm, on her skin. Her left hand lay on her stomach. She had her knees drawn upward, her skirt hem just above the knees. He’d find that quite sexy she imagined. She didn’t know what he thought, she could only guess. She imagined he’d find almost any position she lay or sat in sexy. Her mother had told her little about what to expect from men, about sex, about her monthly bleeds, about anything much beyond the small talk over meals, beyond the chitchat of small gossip. She stiffened. Was that Donald? She thought she heard the door handle move. She listened intensely. It felt like being inside a sealed box. Every sound bit at her ears: the tick tock of the small bedside clock, the birds outside the window, the faraway traffic hum, but no Donald. It was good to lay on the bed without being pestered for sex. Nice to be able to just lay there and not have to spread her legs to let him enter. Her mother said sex was a necessary evil when she eventually said anything at all on the subject. As a child it never dawned on her that that sort of thing went on in their bedroom. Maybe it didn’t, except sufficient to conceive her. Even now as a young woman, she found it hard to believe that her parents did anything remotely enjoyable in a sexy kind of way. She couldn’t even conceive her mother naked, let alone spreading her legs in preparation for sex. She heard the door handle move. She kept her lids stiff and her eyeballs motionless as she could. She sensed Donald in the room. She wished she’d fallen asleep. It was difficult to feign sleep when another was walking about the room possibly gazing. She imagined him staring at her, his mind thinking of her position, taking in her the way she was laying, conceiving of sexual situations. She heard him go to the window and open it up to let in air and louder birdsong and the sounds of traffic from across the fields. She wondered what he was doing. Maybe he was standing by the window peering at her, watching her breasts rise and fall in her pretend sleep or perhaps he was at the edge of the bed looking down at her, his nose breathing in her scent. She couldn’t remain motionless. Even in sleep people move. She couldn’t be like a corpse, unmoving, stiff, dead. She moved her head to one side as if seeking a more comfortable position. Her left hand fell onto the bed. What a drama queen she was. Mother had said that of her. Donald said it too. Especially when she feigned headaches before sex. She sensed him move about the room. She moved her lips as she imagined sleeping people did. She could hear her own breathing. Did it sound fake? Did he suspect? She was tempted to open her eyes, just thin slits to see where he was and what he was doing. She did that as a child when her mother used to enter her room to check if she was asleep and watched through the slits between lids her mother peer at her closely. She felt him draw closer, sensed his breath near her cheek. His lips touched her cheek. She wanted to feign sleep, but it seemed so fake that she slowly opened her eyes and saw him leaning over her with his lips hovering just above her forehead. He smiled and kissed her lips. She smiled at him. Now to feign the enjoyment of sex, she mused, seeing the curtains moving from the fresh air from the open window.


© Terry Collett



Poetry    Translations     Fiction    Reviews   

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