Page 53 Saving for –

                                  Saving For Her Dream Home.                  10-11-10

                                                               Roy Garde.

       Betty P. Williams had prayed for only one major thing over many years – apart from the continuing health of her family, of course – but she did it frequently. Her prayer was to be relocated from her three-roomed apartment in a poorly maintained building on a decidedly dangerous street to a new city-owned apartment in a nice, new, high rise building that had elevators that worked.

     Her husband, Frank, had been a mechanic when she’d met him and was still a mechanic and would be a mechanic until the last day of the month in which he reached his 65th. birthday. Then he would become a retired mechanic.

     Betty harbored few illusions about anything good happening in her life but she wanted the best for their thirteen-year old daughter and thought that a nicer home in an area where she wouldn’t have to be escorted wherever she went was a good way to get started on that.

     The chances of their getting allocated a two bedroom apartment were quite good because although they only had one child they had been on the waiting list for 14 years and he was a veteran and, also, their present building had long been designated for demolition, which was another plus for them.

     Betty had saved up nearly $4,000.00 to buy new furniture and no one, including her husband, could even guess that she had so much hidden away because she had never worked outside her home, except at small, temporary, low paying jobs, so there was no way that she could have saved it from her wages.

     Her hope chest money had been accumulated in a very strange way.

  It had gotten started just after their child first went to kindergarten. Frank had come home from work early one day – one of the few perks that came with his job – and because their daughter wasn’t around to disturb them, he took her straight to bed. He’d always had a healthy libido and he especially liked making love in daylight as she’d found out on their honeymoon.

      From the beginning she’d allowed him some leeway, as regards making out, and more and more of it as their relationship developed and when she got engaged she followed her mother’s advice to, “Let him have some now and again, to keep him interested, but use the power that God gave women to make him beg for it every time. You should enjoy being able to wield such power because it won’t be long before you won’t be able to say ‘no’ ever.”

      On their honeymoon, having full access to her went to his head and he couldn’t get enough and at the end of the week she’d found it next to impossible to keep up with his demands although she forced herself to do so because her mother, and several other ‘experts,’ had advised her to, “Never say ‘no’ to him on your honeymoon no matter how often he wants to do it or however outrageous some of seems to you because it’s an established right of men to go wild and they expect us to go along and to want to do it as often as possible too and be grateful into the bargain. When you get home again you’ll be able to introduce some sensible rules that will suit you.”

    When they did get home he didn’t slow down at all and so she was forced to, secretly, go and see her doctor and when she’d examined her she was genuinely appalled at the state that all of her center was in and she applied balm and told her that she wasn’t to allow her husband to come near her for a week to give it a chance to heal. Knowing men, she gave her a note to give him that ladled out such a bunch of official-sounding gobbledygook that he didn’t dare to so much as kiss her on the mouth during the stipulated, “until further notice.”

    When she went back for her second examination the doctor told her that she was healed and could “resume having relations” but then she questioned her as to how many times her husband had wanted to do it on their honeymoon, and since coming home, and on being told, ‘It seems to be just about continuously except at meal times,’ she offered her some advice – “If he wants to do it a second time after what you think is too short an interval you can appease his ego by saying, ‘Oh, not again dear, you’re way too big for me and I’m really sore inside.’ And then, before he scoffs and tries to mount you anyway, you say, ‘Here, let me hold it for a minute dear,’ and then you reach out and take hold of the shaft of his penis and squeeze it like this” – here she demonstrated on a dildo – “and that will take some of his urgency away and then you reach over with your other hand, like this, and you find this ridge that’s here, just under his scrotum, – d’you feel it? Good. Well you kind of roll it, like this – you try. Got it? Good. Well now, when you do that you’ll make the sphincter that closes his main artery down there relax and about three seconds later you’ll be holding a handful of soft tissue. Because of that his drive to couple with you again will have wilted too and then you’ll both be able to get some sleep!”

    The technique worked well for her and she didn’t get sore again because, by using it, she could limit him to doing it only once every night before going to sleep although she had to allow him extra times on holidays and weekends because, being well rested, he was more persistent. She found that she could comfortably cope with their modified amount of lovemaking and she learned to like some of it when, over time, she found out how to use her imagination to aid her senses in seeking out pleasure in spite of his brute, male selfishness.

    He’d used condoms every time before, and for a few months after, their marriage, but then someone recommended to them both that she should get on the pill and when she’d done so he never looked back.

     A few months after that he came home a bit tipsy one night and, when he’d mounted her and she’d guided it in and he’d gained enough ground to stop groaning with pleasure with every eighth of an inch that he’d conquered, he stopped moving for a second to mumble something about, “Ah, it’s so good being able to do it bareback. It’s such a shame that women can’t know how good it feels.”

    When she’d had time to think about that remark and had worked out what he’d meant by ‘bareback’ she was appalled and it got her to wondering about who had invented the pill and when she’d looked it up and had found that it had been a man she nodded her head and said to herself, “Ha! I knew all along that it had to be a man. A good thing for us women, yes, but mainly for their own benefit!”

     On the particular day that her husband had come home early for some ‘lovely loving in the daylight’ Betty had had a busy morning and she had lots of work to do around the house so she didn’t want to accommodate him right then but, knowing that he would keep pleading until she did, she reluctantly let him coax her into acquiescing but as a prerequisite, in an attempt to salvage something from having to put up with the coming ordeal, she made him promise to practice lots of love play to get her into the proper mode before ‘doing’ it.

     She valiantly put her heart into it for his sake but try as she might she couldn’t get her imagination to replace him with Brad Pitt or a young Jack Nicholson and so when she realized that no amount of foreplay was going to help her she gave up the struggle and laid back for him and gave him the signal which made him close with her so quickly that she had to hurry to guide him to avoid getting her tenderness bruised from having made him wait so long.

     Once again she thought – as he was going at it and having a great time and, as always, giving out a lot of moaning and groaning from the pleasure that he was getting – how unfair life is for sensitive women as compared to how straight-forward it is for single-minded, brutish men who, after a few minutes of probing for pleasure, always strive to transfer their seed in the shortest possible time and are completely indifferent to what could be in the offing for them if they’d only allow their upper brains to play a bigger part. That fact was especially paradoxical in their case because Frank had, at her insistence and at her doctor’s strong recommendation, gotten a vasectomy soon after their daughter was born because of the truly racking difficulties that the delivery had caused her.

     “Never again,” she’d said and the doctors and nurses who heard her say it knew that she really meant it even though they heard just about every new mother say the same thing. Her laboring to deliver had approached thirty-six hours and she’d had to suffer through it without the help of drugs because of her allergies.

       She didn’t let Frank come anywhere near her for more than a month after the birth, even though he’d dutifully had the operation done a week or so after becoming a father, and when she had to relent, to save her marriage, she ‘helped’ him to put a sample in a plastic container and made him take it to his doctor to have him check, again, that his semen contained none, not one, viable spermatozoa.

     She’d hoped that the combination of his having had the operation done and the fact that her much vaunted, by him, ‘love canal’ had been pressed into service as a ‘birth canal’ – during which time the cannonball sized head of her baby had surely stretched it beyond recall – would negate or at least lessen his ardor but – not at all. He wanted her every night still and just as many extra times as before because even though the intensity of his pleasure was lessened being forced to take longer to get it done made up for it.

      That particular afternoon, when he’d finished his task with a final roar of triumph, he collapsed on top of her and, as usual, waxed lyrically for minutes on end but that time he used one too many superlatives – because of it she knew for certain that he was clumsily setting her up for when they went to bed that night, ‘greasing the skids,’ you might say – and the last one was, “Your loving is miles better than any other woman in the whole county, no, the whole country,” – and on hearing it she snapped.

     She bucked and threw him off her and then she sat on the edge of the bed and she heard herself say, “Jesus Christ, Frank! I’ve had it with this. Enough already. I’m tired of just lying there for you and getting nothing out of it and then having to listen to your BS. Do you hear me? What’s in it for me, Frank? Are you ever going to do something that benefits me?” She started sobbing piteously and through it she managed to repeat the question, “Tell me, Frank, what’s in it for me?”

       Frank was aghast. He’d been as content as he ever could be in this life one second and in the next one he’d been knocked to the ground like a sack of potatoes thrown off a truck. He’d never heard her complain before and didn’t know what to say. What’s in it for her? What could she mean? A present maybe?

     He got his wallet out of his pants and tentatively offered it to her saying something about getting herself whatever she fancied.

     That infuriated her even more, of course, even though she was used to his insensitivity, and she flung his hand away from her and ran into the bathroom.

     She sat on the toilet cover, crying, and after a while she realized that she must have somehow hung onto his wallet when she’d pushed his hand away because it was in her own hand.

 When she’d calmed down a little she opened it and she saw that inside were one $20 bill and three $1 bills. If he can be that brutal then so can I, she told herself, and she took out the money and then went back into the bedroom to confront him again.

     She thought that she’d taken it all out, to strengthen her point, but she’d grabbed only the three $1 bills.

     “If you think that you can treat me like a whore I’m going to act like one”, she said and she held up the bills and went on, “From now on every time that you want to do it you’d better put this in here beforehand.” She dropped the money into a vase that was on the bedside table and then she threw his wallet onto the bed and then picked up her clothes and took them into the bathroom to get dressed.

     Frank always knew exactly how much money was in his wallet and when he saw that the $20 bill was still there he started to feel better and even to pick up a little hope because, he figured, having to give one’s wife $23 for sex makes her a whore for sure but $3 could only be some kind of token, or joke, or a lightheaded gesture and he decided to take it in that spirit.

    How else could he have taken it, short of walking out?

    He also decided, wisely, to keep a low profile for a few days, and to be very helpful to her around the house and be extra sweet to their daughter, and hope that the nightmare would go away and that they would both agree to forget what had happened.

     Betty knew that she had gone too far and had endangered her marriage so it was with a good deal of relief that she found that he wanted to reconcile with her and after refusing him that night, “on principle,” – but doing him the kindness of going through her, “Here. Let me hold it for you,” routine – she was extra kind to him on the following night and she saw to it that she always did some flattering faking for him from then on, no matter what, and neither of them ever alluded to the incident again.

      However, just to be on the safe side because the thought of having to try to go to sleep without having some loving frightened him, he kept dropping $3 into the vase before joining her in their bed every night, and on special occasions. It was a whim of hers, he thought, and an insignificant one at that and not to be made into a big deal and anyway she probably put it back into the household budget or spent it on fripperies the next day.

     But still.

     Eventually the great day arrived when they were told that their new duplex apartment was available and that they could move into it at the beginning of the next month.

      None of his friends and fellow workers got to see the inside of the new apartment because when, in Frank’s favorite bar, it got to be ten o’clock on the night of the moving-in day they all finished their beers and then inventoried the bottles of booze and wine that they’d brought along, and had left in the trunks of their cars, with the intention of taking them up to the apartment for a proper house-warming party but when Betty realized that they – “This lot!” – fully intended to, “Go up and spill wine and God knows what else,” on her new carpets and sit on her new chairs and breathe on the wall paper she put her foot down and said so, forcefully and loudly, which made the party project die there and then.

     They were, however, all allowed to look at the brochure and the floor plan and they saw that the living/dining room with the kitchen and a pantry and a bathroom were on the ‘ground’ floor and there were two bedrooms upstairs along with another bathroom and there was also a kind of family den for watching TV, and the like, in an open area at the top of the stairs.

      Two weeks before they could move in they’d gone shopping for new furniture and they knew that they had $12,000 odd in savings and had decided to spend $10,000 of it on furniture and kitchen appliances and fixtures and utensils and so on. They’d never held with using credit cards and so they were going to pay cash, as always, but when they saw the prices of everything they knew that they were in trouble.

     They bought the essentials – a dining room set and a living room set and a refrigerator and several kitchen appliances and three carpets and some runners and, of course, all the furniture for their daughter’s bedroom – and then they found that they had used up all of the ear-marked money.

     They still needed to furnish their own bedroom and reluctantly realized that they’d have to use the two thousand that they’d hoped to keep in reserve. After picking out side-tables and two wardrobes and a dressing table, for her, they found that they’d have to settle for a regular sized bed rather than the queen sized one with the elaborate head-board that she’d set her heart on and that they’d have to put down mats instead of getting wall-to-wall carpeting and to put off purchasing several other needed items until ‘later’.

      Betty saw how deflated the harsh, stark truth had made her husband – she could nearly see his brain trying to deal with the fact that after working full time and saving hard for all those years he still couldn’t furnish a home for his family adequately – so she asked the salesman to give them a moment and she took Frank aside and told him about the $3,876.00 that she’d saved and said that they could use it.

     “$3,876! Where did you get that kind of money?” Frank asked, astonished and unbelieving.

     She told him, somewhat shyly, that it had come out of her vase at the side of her bed and as his brain was trying to absorb what she’d said his knees got to be rubbery and he quickly moved to the nearest bed that was on display to sit down.

     It all went around and around in his head for a while and then he laughed in delight and then stood up and called the salesman back and said, “Sorry to mess you around like this, man, but please be good enough to write us up for the rest of the things on the list that I gave you at the beginning and cancel the mats because it’s going to be wall-to-wall carpeting for us.

    “Also, we’ve changed our minds again about the size of bed that we want.

    “We don’t want the regular nor the queen – we’ll take a king sized one.”

     Betty quickly remonstrated with her husband, “But, Frank, I don’t think we can get a king sized bed into our bedroom, the stairway isn’t wide enough for it.”

     “Then we’ll find some other way to get it in,” he replied. “We’ll knock down a wall if we have to, but don’t you see, Betty? You’ve found the key to our future prosperity. If we up the ante to $10 we’ll be able to put Miriam through any college that she chooses when she gets to be eighteen and, later on, we’ll have the where-with-all to buy us a cottage on the beach in Florida to retire to!

     “Ho, ho! Yes sir! Yes, indeed! King sized it is. King sized it must be.”

     His enthusiasm was infectious and even the salesman – who, of course, knew nothing about what was going on between them – found that he was wearing a grin from ear to ear and Betty – who, of course, knew all too well what was in store for her – felt elated at knowing that her new home was going to be furnished exactly like she’d envisioned it for years and years but at the same time she felt so much foreboding that she, in turn, had to sit on the edge of a bed because her knees had weakened.

    She struggled with knowing that she’d have to come to terms with the fact that she’d never again be able to refuse him at any time of night or day because he’d almost certainly counter with, “Don’t you care about your daughter’s higher education?” and then, later, “Don’t you want us to be able to buy a place in sunny, warm-the-year-round, Florida?” and she even had doubts if her, “Here, let me hold it for a minute, dear,” ploy could ever again be used unaccompanied by a large amount of guilt.