*Eternal Youth

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
Married and bored, she lookes around to break the boredom.

Submitted: June 24, 2012

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Submitted: June 24, 2012

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ETERNAL YOUTH

It all started when Bettina was days away from celebrating her thirty-fifth birthday. From one day to the next she was no longer a young woman, but a woman of a certain age. Bettina had always been beautiful. With every year that passed she seemed to become more beautiful than other women of the same age. But destiny was not so cruel to Bettina as it had been to others. Bettina’s mother saw that her daughter dedicated a lot of time to her physical side and very little on her mind.
She wasn’t at all stupid, and Bettina’s parents had wanted their daughter to study. Bettina was astute. At nineteen years old she had had many boys interested in her, among them a very serious boy called Henry. While Bettina flirted with other boys Henry kept her at a distance. At last when she was in a moment of complete boredom with everyone around, Henry proposed marriage to her. Bettina’s parents looked upon Henry as a good person, it seemed that at last Bettina would calm down.
Henry was a good bargain, hard-working, studious, the exact opposite of the playboys who had until then had been their daughter’s constant dates.

Years later Bettina still didn’t understand how her marriage worked. But to everyone’s surprise the marriage between Bettina and Henry worked well. They had three children and all seemed to be going fine till Bettina’s thirty-fifth birthday. Henry had never demanded anything from her, only that she should be there, but Bettina missed the old days of going out and dressing-up.
The first time that she had the idea of going out with someone was when she went to her friend Alicia’s wedding. Bettina had to attend by herself as Henry had to work. Later she told her husband that he was to blame for what happened because he hadn’t gone with her.
Bettina was standing alone by one of the buffet tables. A voice made her turn her head. A young man of twenty-three was talking to her. Who was he? A waiter? No, he was a friend of Alicia and Julian’s. His name was Patrick. They sat down on a sofa. Bettina asked him how he earned his living.
“In construction.”
Bettina went on eating but without appetite, “It’s rather dangerous, isn’t it?”
The man laughed, “Yes, but I do what I can.” He gave her an intense look. “Are you married?”
“Yes, I am and have been for a long time,” Bettina didn’t want to talk about her home life with such a handsome young man, and changed the subject with a gesture.
Patrick stared at her, “Would you like more champagne?”
“Please, can we go into the garden? I feel hot in here?”
“Of course, we can,” and Patrick accompanied Bettina to the garden.
Bettina understood what was lacking in her life. A man who looked at her as if he wanted to eat her, and she loved this. How long had it been since she had felt desired? Poor Henry, the loyalty and affection he gave her counted for nothing. What she needed was the emotion of the first contact and words of seduction. Patrick said, “I’ve never seen such a pretty face as yours.”
On hearing Patrick pronounce these words, Bettina felt happy.

Patrick chased her and it wasn’t long before they were lovers.
He had a house in the mountains far away from the city and they met there as often as they could. Bettina had made a vague effort to reject his advances at first, later she surrendered to him.
One day in Patrick’s house, he said, “I’ve lost my head over you.”
Bettina couldn’t believe her ears. “You’re making fun of me, aren’t you?”
“No, I’m not. I’m speaking seriously.”
When they were in the town their dates were in bars, cinemas, department stores, or in Patrick’s flat.
Bettina didn’t lie to Henry, she simply never gave him all the details about her comings and goings. Henry didn’t take long in finding her out and it was over a small thing. Speaking about a certain film that he wanted to see, Bettina said that she had seen it already. Henry wanted to know where and who with. Bettina said she had gone with Agnes to the cinema. Unfortunately she made a mistake in the person. It turned out that Henry had met Agnes in the street and said she hadn’t seen Bettina in some time. Bettina then confessed everything and how happy she was with Patrick. “It’s better that you know, Henry. I am very much in love with Patrick.”
Henry felt like slapping her face, but then thought it was probably just a passing fancy and that one day she would be once again just his. Henry made her promise never to lie to him ever again. As far as Bettina was concerned, Henry’s love for her was unbearable.
The affair with Patrick didn’t last long and one day Bettina said very decidedly, “Patrick, I have to leave you. I don’t love you in the same way as I did at the beginning.”
It was early morning and Patrick sat up in bed, “You want to leave me?”
“Yes, Patrick. I’ve tried to tell you several times, but till now didn’t manage to go through with it. I’m sorry if I’ve hurt you, but there’s no solution for us.”
“What do you mean by that?”
“What we had has gone cold. That’s all.” Bettina was getting dressed and ready to leave.
“Stay a little longer. What’s the hurry?”
Bettina kissed him for the last time. “You don’t know how much I’m going to miss you. Our affair has been very lovely and I want it to stay like that.” And Bettina closed the door behind her.
Patrick couldn’t believe his eyes and thought: was it possible that she had gone.
In the following years there were many more. Henry knew when Bettina was with or without a new friend by how happy she was, the time she spent at home, and her clothes. Whether or not her children realised what was going on, they never said anything. Henry knew he was the butt of many jokes in bad taste, but he closed in on himself with his sadness, with just one thought in his head – that one day it would all be over.
Bettina attended classes at the gym to keep herself trim. Before her fortieth birthday she had had a touch up on her nose. The high maintenance on her body became an obsession. Every diet that was published was on the shelves in their home, and in the bathroom there was a never-ending display of creams and lotions. At times Henry felt he was an intruder in his own bathroom, due to he beauty salon atmosphere it had.
Bettina’s romances were always of short duration and she was the one who broke them off. Once the initial fire began to burn low she lost interest and looked out for another. She always used the same phrase. “Now go and don’t come back. I don’t want to see anyone,” which was a shock to the recently acquired lover.
She sometimes went out with two or three at the same time, and she didn’t put up with any sign of jealousy or possessiveness on their part. She deliberately let herself be seen with a young blond man, so that the jealous one understood that Bettina was not his property, and that she and Henry still belonged to each other.
On one occasion a really possessive lover had asked her to leave Henry and go to live with him. Bettina had met Simeon in a moment when she wasn’t interested in getting to know anyone. The worst thing of all was that her indifference was what made Simeon all the more determined to conquer her. Bettina gave in and accepted his invitations to go out with him, but it was a big mistake.
“Simeon, can we leave this place, please, my head aches.”
Simeon looked at her, but without taking much notice of what she was saying, said, “We’ve only just sat down. It’s a nice place. I’ll get an aspirin for you and your headache will soon be gone.”
Bettina knew that there was nothing to do without causing a scene and this she wouldn’t do, so she had to put up with the situation until a more propitious moment arrived. At the end of the meal she shot off almost running saying that she felt ill.
Simeon didn’t give up so easily, and one day he met her as she was leaving home. “Hello, Bettina, how are you?”
“Hello, what are you doing here? I thought I’d never see you again.”
Simeon closed in on her. “I do nothing but search for you. Why do you make things so difficult for me? Are you trying to make yourself more interesting?”
“No, I’m not! What sort of stupidity is that?”
“Well, now you know I love you and I’m serious about you.”
For the first time since she had been going out with young men, Bettina felt afraid. Simeon would never accept ‘no’ for an answer. “Please, stop chasing me. We’ve already finished. Anyway, who are you to expect something from me?”
“We’re in love, aren’t we? Surely I can expect something more from you than your company once in a while.”
“No, no, you can’t expect anything more from me.”
“I don’t understand anything. What are you playing at?”
“I’m not playing. I have to leave. Bye.”
Now Simeon was angry, “You go out with me to have a good time and then when you get tired of me you go back to your husband. How easy! You used me, and then you threw me away because you felt like it.” He had told her in controlled anger.
Bettina shrugged her shoulders in indifference. Why was he complaining when he had had what he had wanted? But she had made a mistake with Simeon. He didn’t want to share her with anyone and certainly not with a worn out old husband. Bettina had a very big problem in freeing herself from Simeon and she had to get help from Henry. Simeon didn’t give in gracefully but eventually he left.

For quite some time Bettina never left the house and seemed to have changed her ways. Henry thought he had recuperated his wife just for himself, but he was mistaken. Bettina closed her eyes when Henry entered the bedroom and undressed. A few weeks before she had seen Henry naked by chance. The sight of his stomach and grey in his body-hair made her shudder. Any possibility of her being just for him alone disappeared in that moment. Bettina was horrified at seeing her husband so old. The next day she went to the gym and thinking of Henry and his deterioration made her work harder – to everyone’s surprise.
She dreamt about hard muscles, curly hair, and surefootedness. While she was waiting for her new love, Bettina put more energy into her appearance than ever.

One afternoon the new love arrived. Nigel was sitting at a table waiting for a friend. He saw a young woman on her own and sat down beside her, Bettina saw him and liked him. On seeing Bettina closer up he realised she was not so young but was very well-preserved. “May I treat you to something?”
“Thank you. A coffee, please.” She had accepted his invitation without thinking. “What do you think of this place?” she said in an effort to be friendly.
“It’s fine,” responded Nigel, not even looking around him.
“It was nothing special before but now that it has been decorated it’s becoming fashionable.”
Nigel stared at the door.
Bettina asked him, “Are you expecting someone?”
“Yes, I am. A girlfriend. But it looks like she isn’t going to come, at least we have met. I’m not keen on sitting and waiting for someone who isn’t going to show up.”
“I agree,” and Bettina finished her coffee.
“Like another one?”
“No, thanks, I have to go.”
Nigel observed her closely. “Shall we meet another day? Tomorrow, for example?”
“OK. Where?”
“What about the airport?”
Bettina smiled. This one really did know how to do things. There would be less likelihood of meeting up with someone she knew. “The airport at this time then?”
Nigel agreed with this and they said their goodbyes.

Nigel took Bettina from the airport to his flat. “Know what? I lived here with a Chinese girl till she found someone else with more money. Then I got involved with a French girl. We went to Morocco. Have you been to Morocco?”
“No, I’ve never been to Africa.”
Nigel continued his monologue. “Well my girl friend met a Moroccan man and went off with him. I’ve had an endless number of jobs and my father is fed up with maintaining me and my financial difficulties.”
Nigel never asked Bettina anything, he only spoke about himself. If Bettina wanted words of love she could expect none from Nigel. For the first time Bettina had a sensation of sadness. With the other lovers she had been happy, but with this one she was suffering anxiety.

Henry understood that something was happening but he limited himself to just being there, as always. He didn’t want to see Bettina upset, but if the situation with this young man returned her to her senses then he was capable of putting up with anything.
Bettina went to see Nigel again, he was like a curse. The third time they met he was on the phone when she arrived and he hung up on seeing her. “Hello, that was a friend.”
Bettina thought to herself that she wasn’t so stupid. Neither was she interested in who was on the other end of the phone.

In spite of being annoyed with him, Bettina saw him again. Nigel didn’t look so happy when she arrived.
“What’s up with you?”
“I don’t know whether you know that I have a sister who needs to have an operation, and I was wondering that maybe you could lend me the money.”
Nigel had suddenly lost all attraction for her. She got dressed quickly without paying too much attention to details, at the same time speaking to Nigel. “According to you your father has a lot of money. Then isn’t it logical you go to him? As it’s for your sister and I suppose she is his daughter, as you’re his son.”
“Why don’t you just say that you’re not going to lend me the money?”
“Because I don’t like to be taken for and idiot.”
“Well, you are an idiot, past your sell-by date, and behaving like an old fogy. Get out of here.”
Bettina left in silence. She got home, had a bath, and went to bed. Henry wasn’t at home at that moment, when he arrived home he knew something had happened to her but as usual said nothing.

One day Bettina got out of bed. Henry saw that Bettina was getting a bit of a gut, but kept quiet. He thought it better not to mention it or she would be angry. Bettina told him all about Nigel, even that he had called her ‘old’. She said to Henry that it was true. She was old. But Henry said that she would always be the young girl he had married.

Bettina never really understood what true love was, even when she had almost lost it.


© Copyright 2020 Georgina V Solly. All rights reserved.

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