Train Of Thought

Entry by: Jim bob

17th July 2015
A Train Of Thought

Helen considered her appearance in the vanity mirror, and knew she'd have to apply her best one for the evening. Charlie, her poodle, sat obediently on his doggie stool several feet away staring at his master, its pink, silk neck- tie satisfying his snow-white coat. At times he'd whine until Helen would turn from the mirror and raise a finger to her mouth. As well as her tired face, the mirror reflected their bed, a king size, its quilt matching the pink of Charlies neck-tie. At Each side of the bed stood tables; on one was a Mickey Mouse alarm clock, on the other a half empty pack of gum, its silver foil coiled round itself, and a recent edition of Slimmers World. Helen looked at her greying locks that partially fell against her eyes, then quickly brushed them back as if in disgust. She caressed an area of damaged skin on her left cheek, rubbing at the psoriasis there, a few flakes falling onto the cold marble surface of the table. Then, she picked up the hairbrush and vigorously swept the locks back, too many of them remaining on the brush, however, with her face further exposed, provided Helen with the kind of idea of how much she had to do.
'Shh,' she said turning around to Charlie, after he'd began whining again. ' I wont be long,' knowing this not to be entirely true. Helen’s voice, low and raspy sounded loud, against the soft acoustics of their bedroom, and the gentle tick of the mickey mouse clock. The dog obediently stiffened from her command, its gaze again more relaxed and accepting of her. She dwelled on her appearance again, whilst removing the cap from a large tube of foundation cream, then opened the right hand drawer of the table.

The knock at the door didn’t' startle Helen. Richard, her husband entered, she noticed through the mirrors reflection, and quickly slid the drawer back.
'How much longer are you going to be,' he asked. The poodle released a low bark, the sort that showed compliance and no more.
'As long as it takes,' she replied at his reflection.
'Helen, our guests will be arriving soon, that’s all,' and he took an anxious look at his watch.
' Oh don’t be so fucking pompous Richard,' she said turning round to face him. 'They may be guests, but they're our friends too. You are so ridiculous sometimes.' Helen immediately turned back to face her reflection again, implying enough had been said on the matter
' The foods ready, the canapes are in the fridge.' she added. 'Sarah can help out. Its what we pay her for...' But her husband, decided to ignore her too, she noticed as he left the room.
' Come here Charlie' she suddenly hollered, a grin emerging on her face. The pooch jumped from his stool and leaped onto Helen’s lap, its short stumpy tail wagging, and panting excitedly.
'He's a silly old fart eh?' she said to him, rubbing his tummy.
'Stop that' she suddenly said as the dog attempted to lick her face. 'I have to put my best mask on tonight for our dear friends, Charlie. She picked him up and placed him on the Persian carpet, where, eventually he lay down, rolled around for a few moments then made its way back to the stool. For the second time Helen opened the right drawer. She removed the bottle and poured generously into her existing drink she'd brought from downstairs. The smell of juniper, overwhelmed the pungency of her Christian Dior she'd applied since coming out of the shower. Helen sipped greedily from the crystal glass, and then re-filled it.

She thought of her sixty-five years, and knew them well; Helen hated this number, and despised those memories, because that was all they were now; an abundance of what ifs and have-bins, of no mores and deep regrets, of non fulfilment’s and wasted desires. Her friends told her she looked gracious for her years. Helen didn't think so. And her husband? He didn't know the meaning of the word. His tidy fortune, she thought was about the only thing he had going for him. And her, for that matter. The rest? An overweight old fart, that’s all, she thought. She finished her drink, emptied the remainder of the bottle in to the glass then took it over to the walk in wardrobe, and shoved it behind her stack of footwear. It made a chink as it connected with others. Then, she returned with another from the upper shelf behind her collection of lingerie - a type of clothing best stowed in the open to prevent mustiness, an Agent Provocateur specialist had advised her. Charlie who'd been at her heels returned to his stool, and Helen to hers.
'You hungry, Charlie,' she said. Charlie barked, and this indicated that he was
'Fifteen minutes, okay?' she continued, and the dog barked again in agreement. Through the several years of instruction from its master, Charlie had begun to understand voice commands. Helen had had time to perfect this too; having little else she had to do these days save for the ladies club down in Wardour Street once a week,and, sometimes a ladies night out in the city, however, mostly Helen preferred to decline these evenings; something, she considered a bit old for her now.
She lit a Sobranie cigarette, and drew deeply, the smell of smoke mingling with the strong gin and overtones of Christian Dior, subtle but sweet. With experienced hands, she applied make-up that gradually filled in the imperfections of age; the lipstick, a subtle pink masked the dry leathery mouth, highlighters eradicating liver spots, excess blusher that obviously concealed a complexion that suggested excess, and mascara which counteracted deep dark crescents of weariness.
' Dont I look just the picture,' she said to herself in the mirror, on completion, and raising her glass in celebratory fashion.
'What you think, Charlie' she continued, turning to face him. The poodle raised its paws, and whined, in response as his eyes radiated excitement, as always for its master.
' We'll show her wont we?' she said as she clasped the bracelet of her Rolex, assuredly to her wrist.
' We don’t want that venomous cunt, Eileen Danders shooting poisonous words again' she continued as she applied final touches to her hair. 'Why oh why does the old fart keep inviting her, I don’t know.' Then, Helen placed the hairbrush down, and for a moment was silent, lost in speculation, as a brief spell of realization stunned her. She sipped on her drink several times in quick succession, as if this was vital in servicing her train of thought.
' Of course' she suddenly wailed, and Charlie barked through sheer surprise of this reaction.
'Why didn't I see this, Charlie. Why?' The dog barked in agreement, her statements somewhat exciting him.
'Shush now little man,' she said patting his head. 'We shall have something to say about this wont we?' she whispered up close to Charlie.
'What a fool' she said opening the jewelry box, white and leather bound, with a Harrods insignia ingrained in green on the lid.
'What a fool he is', she repeated,glass in hand. 'And what a fool I am for not seeing',
The jewelry box played a sprightly version of Irving Berlins Cheek To Cheek as Helen removed a Japanese Akoya pearl necklace- her husbands fifteen year wedding anniversary present. She clasped it around her neck, and admired the way they hung gently over the contours of her bosom, emphasizing her still firm bust, she thought. She smiled, drank and then began humming to the sound coming from the small box of treasures.
'Doesn’t he love me anymore, Charlie,' she said suddenly.
'What is it about me,' she continued. Tears welled up in her ducts, then tram lined evenly down her face, the mascara following, resulting in features comparable to Alice Coopers. After a moment, she began wiping away the wetness and commenced to re apply make up where necessary, her hands less steady but still able to function on something she'd been doing twice a day all her life. Cheek-to-cheek slowed down, and the diamond figurine dancer inside the box stopped dancing on her small pedestal. Helen picked the box up and wound it. She lit another Sobranie, then topped up her drink, and,this time started singing to Irving Berlins classic.
... And my heart beats so that I can hardly speak.. she sang while standing up '.. And I seem to find the happiness I seek..' And then commenced to dance, glass in hand as though this was her partner. Charlie began whining too but the dog was momentarily occupied cleaning it self.
'...Oh I love to climb a mountain, and reach the highest peak..' she continued, twirling here and there, elated by the consoling of music, and dance,unaware of liquid splashing from her glass; flecks of gin spilled over her hand on to the floor.

The knock at the door didn’t startle Helen this time either. This was because she didn't hear it, and it was only when Richard tapped her on the shoulder that she was sidetracked from her delusions. Helen stopped still, and stared at Richard, unsteady on her feet.
'What are you doing, Helen' he asked. She stopped suddenly as if all her train of thought had vanished in a snap. She brought the glass to her mouth to discover it was empty. For a moment they stared at one another, neither exchanging words, the Mickey Mouse clock audible against the dying rhythm of Cheek to Cheek. She went to the table, ignoring him and re filled the glass.
' What are you up to, Helen,' he asked.
' Pouring a drink, what does it look like,' ' she replied without looking up.
' What are you doing Richard. Thats something I should be asking you eh?' she concluded, now turning to him.
'What you on about'.
'Eileen Danders, that’s who' she wailed,
'She isn’t really my friend, Helen. She only comes over cos her neighbour Jenny asks her.
'Oh shit, really' said Helen apparently more in control of herself. At least, that’s what she thought.
'Whats got into you, love, and whats all this about Eileen.'
'She's your friend, not mine,' said Helen, crying.
Richard placed an arm around her shoulder, and gently squeezed her, now aware that something wasn't right. Charlie was sitting on his stool again, looking at the pair of them. Helen had buried her head into her husbands shoulder.
'Whats so funny, and what on earth is up with you,' he asked, pulling away from her and placing his hands on his hips, . Helen continued to chuckle.
'Come on Helen, tell me. We have
always been honest with each other.'
'Even with our thoughts,' she asked, through spasms of giggles.
'Yes even with our thoughts.'
'I'm trying really hard, Helen, he said, loud enough to startle the dog, and to carry downstairs.
'What, she mumbled.
'Really hard' he concluded, turning the lights out, leaving the room and closing the door.
Richard apologized to his friends for the second time this year.