Not an Odalisque

What I Did in My Bank Holiday, Part Three: Eight Minutes.

with 2 comments

People tell me that I’m a boundary pusher. On a good day it means that I’m a rule breaker, unafraid of authority and ready to take a stand. On a bad day it means that I get myself into trouble for no discernible benefit.

Sometimes I push people. When they push back it gives me a comforting sense of security: I know where I am with them. A little, gentle pressure is all it requires.

Does HH do gentle pressure?

HH and I had a lovely day; by late afternoon I had suffered a beating, enjoyed a look around a castle, a few moments inside an iron maiden, time in a lovely bookshop and two meals composed almost entirely of flour, butter, sugar and jam.

It started at the castle. There was a sign. One of those signs, the tempting ones that tell you not to do something quite fun and mildly dangerous. In this case, forbade leaning over the parapet. I just couldn’t help myself. I stretched forward and looked down at the ground far below. Perhaps I would have got away with that, as HH surely recognised the lure of a forbidding sign and the lack of danger. It was when I turned and hoisted myself up to perch on the thin wall with the sky at my back that HH reacted. He yanked me off the wall and onto my feet. He moved close so that I was trapped between the wall and him, using both hands to hold me still. “What,” he asked, “do you think you’re doing?” I mumbled something. “What do you have to say?” Spoken to in such a stern tone, I couldn’t even meet his eye. “Sorry,” I muttered. A couple had wandered out onto the battlements and were trying to squeeze into the space beside us for a view of the gardens. “Sorry, what?” I squirmed. I was acutely aware of the people next to me, who could hear every word I said. “Sorry,” I replied, “sir.”

The urge came over me again at the bookshop. I was enjoying myself browsing, when HH appeared at my shoulder and said we should leave in a few minutes. I explained that I was enjoying myself, and, to my great surprise, he didn’t budge. He didn’t say, “Oh, well a few more minutes, then.” He merely took my book about sexual violence and went off to pay for it. I was slightly nonplussed. Where was the negotiation? Where was the indulgence inspired by a wheedling tone and the words “just one more page?” I considered the fact that it being a large bookshop, I could easily slip off between the shelves and not be seen for a good half hour, longer still if I kept my eyes open for HH and darted behind a bookcase whenever I might be sighted. I was pondering this plan when he appeared suddenly at my side. I gave a very guilty start.

By the time we got back to HH’s house I was tired, I’d been sociable all day, and I had a new book. A recipe, I’m sure you’ll agree, for solitude. HH wanted to know what I wanted to do for dinner. I said I didn’t know, did we have to rush into a decision? Apparently we did, for it was very nearly dinner time. I was so ambivalent that HH made the call. He told me that he’d booked a table and that we would be leaving in fifteen minutes.

I’m sure you’ll agree that fifteen minutes isn’t very long when you have a new book in your hand. It was very comfy on the sofa. So it may have been some time after HH told me that we had to go in a couple of minutes that I stood up and said “I’ll just go upstairs and check that I don’t look a fright.”He looked at me, and I looked at him, and, standing with one hand on the door handle and the other on my hip, I said, “I’ll be two minutes.”

I really wasn’t away for very long. Not long enough to seriously ameliorate any frightfulness in my look, anyway. I breezed downstairs, slightly more matt and perfumed, and was stopped in my tracks by HH’s expression. “That wasn’t two minutes,” he observed, “it was eight. Come here.”

‘Surprised’ doesn’t quite cover it.

“We’re going to be late, because you refused to be ready on time. You need to learn that ‘no’ means ‘no’.”

“We’ll be even later if we don’t leave now.” I observed, rather pathetically.

“I think it’s worth taking a few minutes now to ensure that we’re on time in future.” He said, and with that, he tumbled me over his lap. As his hand came down for the first time I could hardly believe that I was there. By the time it came down for the second or third time, I was no longer thinking of my situation, but only of the pain.

I wriggled. I screamed. I gritted my teeth and tried not to scream, but screamed anyway. I threw my hand behind my back to try to shield my buttocks from the blows coming down on them, but only succeeded in throwing myself off balance. When I did manage to get my hand into a protective position, all that I achieved was it’s being pinned to my back by the wrist, so that I had even less freedom than before. That’s when I began to plead in earnest. I was sorry, so sorry, for taking so long. I wouldn’t do it again. I’d be good. Please, please, stop. I’m sorry.
HH let me up and put his arms around me. I sank into him. I was a sweaty, dishevelled mess, but I didn’t care. After a while he said, gently, that we ought to go. I stood quietly in the hallway while he collected his things, sat down very carefully on my painful bottom in the car and restaurant, and was very well behaved for—well, how long do you think I managed to be good?

A couple of hours later I rolled my eyes and said, “eight minutes!” I wish I hadn’t done that.

A couple of hours after that I observed that I’d had to hang around while he looked for his wallet and keys. I really wish I hadn’t done that.

As some point in the misty hours of the early morning I suggested that he’d been looking for transgressions to punish. He threatened punishment in return for my cheek. I pointed out that his reaction supported my point. I find it difficult to regret that, as I was so clearly in the right.

Have I learned my lesson? I suspect not. There’s a chance that I will. Signs on parapets can’t punish me, you see, but tops can, and it turns out they do.

What I have done is achieve a safe distance. From nearly a hundred miles away I’m confident enough to be slightly provoking by email. Well, I say slightly provoking, but I haven’t actually provoked a response so far. It’s only after I’ve pressed send that it strikes me that I’m not going to remain at a safe distance forever.


Written by Not an Odalisque

September 13, 2010 at 6:51 pm

2 Responses

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  1. Have you learned your lesson? No, of course not!

    But then again, if we learned our lessons two things would be inevitable:

    1.Tops would have absolutely no way to amuse themselves.

    2.The world would be such a dull, dull place.

    Hooray for not learning our lesson!!

    BTW, I really like your stories. I really really do.



    September 15, 2010 at 10:37 pm

  2. I enjoyed this one of the three the most, the tension and the deliberate way you put yourself in the line of fire. Really well written!

    ‘Sometimes I push people. When they push back it gives me a comforting sense of security: I know where I am with them. A little, gentle pressure is all it requires’

    I don’t know if I always use a little gentle pressure. sometimes I am too forceful!


    Quiet Riot Girl

    September 26, 2010 at 12:27 pm

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