34 – The First Infidelity
Gloria wasn’t that young. It was 1974 and Hannah was just one year old and her brothers? Neither of them had reached their teens. And Gloria, who had married at sixteen to a man 24 years older than her, then became pregnant almost immediately, and again and again, was keeping herself, obsessively in shape. She didn’t want Stan to find her attractive necessarily, she didn’t want any man to want her. But lying in bed, listening to her husband breath, what she wanted was something else: she wanted to see men looking at her with desire. She didn’t want to sleep with them, or love them, or nything: she just wanted men to want.
There was no way to explain this need and there was no way to deny it wasn’t easily within reach. At 26 years she was a sparkling, beautiful thing: a fully formed woman, voluptuous without being obvious, desirable without having the slightest idea how to actually flirt. Gloria would stand in front of the mirror every morning and she would stare deep into her reflection, she wanted to see what there was to see. What it meant, what it felt like to be her but also for someone to want her.
Among her friends, all trophy wives of sorts, they discussed in hushed and coded terms what was happening behind their husbands backs, they sat by her pool, for hours, talking about sex and who to sex and still Gloria didn’t feel a part of it. Of all her friends, she was the most faithful because sex with Stan didn’t thrill her and because that wasn’t what she wanted.
Life would’ve been very different, like one of those small things that change everything, but on a rainy August day in 1974 things would change her. Wandering round the mansion, Gloria found herself in the servants quarter and wandering around these “deep downstairs” place she left to her assistant to keep tabs on, Gloria tried to open a door, it was locked, she used her skeleton key to a small bedroom where one of her maids, Denise Shaw, was having vigorous sex with some guy. The man was on top on her and she watched for a moment before gasping out loud. The man rolled off Denise, alarmed, facing Gloria, his penis still hard and Gloria gasped again. And it happened that fast, within barely 15 seconds, Gloria went from asexual to sexual.
She ran from the bedroom, went in search of the elevator, back to sanctuary, back to her normal wanting the world to want her for no reason except she wanted it. No for anything but her family. But she couldn’t close it out, couldn’t not see it again. “I want to fuck him” she said to herself. “I want to fuck that guy whoever he is.” Gloria’s assistant and the maid wanted to see her. She didn’t really want to see anyone but except, she wanted to see the expression on the maid’s face flush with the knowledge she had been caught fucking man, and so she let them in.
There wasn’t really an apology necessary except, rules were rules and the maids who lived there weren’t allowed to have men over and not even their husband and not even when they hadn’t seen him in two months because he was a long-distance driver and they’d kept on missing each other. Fire her? Not fire her? Gloria’s mind was racing a million miles a minute, she wanted to see this guy. Fully clothed if necessary. It was like an idea that goes pink in your brain and you just can’t shake it off, that’s what it felt like to her. She sat looking out the window to the swimming pool. It shimmered in the sunshine, all transparent and gliding and blue, how deep was it? It could have been any depth, Gloria wondered if she dived in now perhaps it would be two feet deep and she’d hit her head and drown, the red first thick as it oozed out and then diluted all through the pool, in all directions, a filmy glowing sight. Like her friend Anthony, she hadn’t thought of him in years, not yet nine years old when he misjudged a swimming pool and broke his head on the bottom. Gloria had been the same age, and you couldn’t say shocked, just dazed as she had stared at the red glowing gooeyness of it and he didn’t move. Even the screams from behind her hadn’t moved her, even the tears, the movements, her own mothers arms, as she shivered in the California sunshine. Maybe it would be like that but she knew it wasn’t. The deep end was 15 foot, she could dive down deep till everything about her was soaking wet and she could float weightless against his hard on. “Is your husband here?” Gloria asked.
“He is waiting in the car, Mrs. Fellowes. Just in case…” Denise Shaw replied, her voice trailing off into the air conditioned perfumed air.. Still unsure whether it was too big a deal, how big a deal. Was she fired? Was this it. They needed the money… What a stupid fool why not just the the day off? Who would have thought? What were the chances.
That was the exact thought that pronged into Gloria’s thought, she felt both very young, very girlish, and very old, very not innocent. She wanted her maid’s husband. “Bring him here,” Gloria ordered them and dismissed them with a wave of her hand. Somehow, she knew this was leading her somewhere she really shouldn’t be going. “I didn’t know how to stop myself or want to tell myself”, she told her daughter over fifty years later and her daughter listened because it had the ring of a truth. This was, as far Hannah was concerned, a variation on what had happened between Mick Jagger and her, but it was turned on its side and then missionary style. “I wanted to tear up my moral dignity, I wanted to shred myself. I wanted something I knew I shouldn’t have. I never felt a force like it before and while I have since, it wasn’t the same because it no longer too me by surprise.”
Gloria just sat there, staring at the pool imagining herself free of everything but her liquidness, everything but the moment. “Bring him here,” she said.
Her assistant Blake tried to speak, Blake and Gloria were close enough, his homosexuality made any question of inappropriateness unthinkable, and often, most times, Gloria was happy to leave the management of her life to him. But she silenced Blake with a glance, this wasn’t his time. Denise left and they just looked out of the window. She seated , her back to the door, he standing by her side, like a capo in the mafia. The knock on the door, Blake’s glide, the married couple, one step louder than the other, one after another on the marble floor and Gloria could imagine his long strong legs, muscle like a sledgehammer. She still didn’t say a word, didn’t move an inch. Mysterious, sphinx like, a Goddess, And so they waited and when she finally spoke she still didn’t turn around.
Finally she spoke. “You drive.”
“Are you driving now?”
“I’m between jobs.” Then she turned towards him and Shaw could feel all the air leave his lungs, she seemed to smell of desire, her face was the prescription of it, calm but arrogant, above it all. Denise was a pretty woman, barely older than a girl, at least that’s the way Shaw suddenly saw. A child and a woman, a baby and a God, If truth were known, Gloria was 27 and Denise was nearly 29, but Gloria seemed the adult one, the powerful one and suddenly, an idea crystallized in Shaw’s brain. “She has seen my cock, she has seen me fuck… she has seen me…” And he wanted to fuck her.
“I need a driver, I want someone who knows places I wouldn’t know.”
“Why?” Blake asked. “You can use your chauffeur if you want, you don’t need him.”
Gloria didn’t respond at all, didn’t even glance in Blake’s direction, she just finally settled onto Shaw and he was everything she ever wanted. Her eyes fastened on his and Shaw could feel himself begin to blush. “You can stay with your wife here for the next two to three weeks. We will gone all day every day except for the weekends when my husband is home. Blake… you can oversee the children while I’m gone.”
Black thought of questioning more and then he thought of not questioning more. “Yes, certainly, Anything else?”
“Not today. Denise, take the rest of the day off, spend it with your husband.” Gloria said to the maid.
simultaneously self-effacing and egomaniacs
essentially a disco remix of “Rocket Man” featuring one of the the UK’s biggest stars…
“I literally really need you to jump up and down”
Friday night might kill us but Thursday evening is a blast
it just isn’t the triumph she needed after six years
an impressive sonic ride.
a high-spirited Post Pandemic anthem
a memorable band who were never better than here
almost Pink Floyd-esque