by H.St Vincent Beechey


‘I have had a good idea.’ I looked across to where Bonnie reclined on my bed-our bed. ‘We’ll go to Denmark.’

‘Denmark?’ Bonnie seemed puzzled. ‘It is quite a nice place, so I’m told. Copenhagen is a charming city. But Denmark? At this time of year? It would be better to save Scandinavia for late spring or early summer.’

‘I want to buy some books on sex. They are supposed to be very good at that sort of thing in Denmark, or do I mean Sweden.’

‘You want to travel a thousand kilometres to buy a book?’ Bonnie sounded incredulous.

‘Well, they don’t seem to have anything in the hotel bookshop. Probably Calvinists or Lutherans. I don’t suppose they approve of that sort of thing. But I thought maybe Denmark…’

I felt a bit embarrassed discussing such things with Bonnie, though that seems ridiculous. Hadn’t we spent more time in bed than out of it for the past three days?

Those three days had been thrilling but had revealed to me my profound ignorance in matters sexual. Things seemed fine, and Bonnie had made no complaints but I was conscious that I lacked a theoretical basis for my behaviour. I felt that there was a whole new field of inquiry spread out before me, new pathways to discover-and I was without a map.

‘You haven’t had many girlfriends have you, Charlie?’

I felt my defences go up: the drawbridge raised, steel doors clanging shut. ‘Does it show?’

Bonnie was immediately conciliatory. ‘I think it is charming, Charlie, You are so fresh, so unspoiled somehow. You are a real gentleman.’

But the damage had been done. Thinking of my lack of experience had me speculating on the extent of hers. I needed to withdraw in order to think, but where was I to go, my suite was no longer my own. ‘I’m going to have a bath,’ I said abruptly.

‘Would you like me to scrub your back?’ Bonnie was arch.

‘I’ll manage.’ I turned and bolted.

I was in the bathroom for a long time. As I lay in the hot tub, some of the tension eased and I was able to consider things rationally. Gradually I brought my emotions under control. Messy things, emotions, and I had spent most of my life avoiding involvement for that reason.

I enumerated the factors:

1 Bonnie was a woman in her thirties

2 It was to be expected that an attractive woman would have had previous lovers

(I felt guilty at the fact that I had never thought to inquire about her life)

3 I should be grateful that she was attracted to me, a late starter.

4 I should be happy to have such a good teacher. But I wish I had a book about it

I left the bathroom a lot more relaxed in mind and body only to find that Bonnie was no longer there. I thought nothing of it at first. To tell the truth, I was glad of the space; I was unused to sharing my room with another person. Dogs, now, dogs are different. I could share my space with a dog, they are so uncritical.

Idle thoughts like these were running through my head as I booted up my computer and lost myself in its beautifully structured world.

It must have been quite late when hunger reminded me that I hadn’t eaten for hours. That made me realise that Bonnie had not come back. I picked up the phone and asked the operator to page her.

‘Miss Doone has asked not to be disturbed, Sir.’ The switchboard voice was polite but impersonal.

‘May I leave a message?’

‘I’m sorry sir, Miss Doone is not accepting messages.’ The voice was implacable.

Aha! I thought, ruefully remembering my own behaviour of three days ago, Well, she has established a precedent for dealing with that. I went round to pound on her door.

‘Hush, Charlie, you’ll wake up the whole hotel’ and she let me into a room blessedly free of ski instructors (one fear proved groundless). ‘I thought, perhaps, that you didn’t want me around any more after having your wicked way with me.”

I blushed. ‘I wondered where you had gone.’

‘And you waited ten hours to find out?’

‘Well I sort of got caught up with the computer, and besides, I thought you might want a bit of time to yourself.’

‘Do you mean that you have been in your room all that time.’ A sudden thought struck her. ‘Charlie, have you had anything to eat?’

I shook my head. ‘I’m hungry.’

‘How about we ring room service and have a meal sent up here. You can be my guest this time.’

‘What a Good Idea!’ I said.


© Copyright H.St V.Beechey August 1996

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