Mr & Mrs – story time guys!
The living room was at the busiest I had seen in months and I did not know how to feel about it.
The butterflies in my belly, warred with the rapid thump, thump of my heart and like a kid in front of so many toys, I didn’t know which emotion to pay attention to.
I turn away from the people setting up and fix my eyes instead on the man whom I’d opened the door to only an hour ago.
The smile I’d been practicing since last night slides into my face.
“Where’s Mr Coker?, We’re ready”
And just like that, there is no contest, the fear has taken first place.
How many women experienced fear at the mention of their husbands name?. Love, tenderness, safety I’d heard of but not fear.
I raised a hand to my throat, to the ache there but his eyes are on me so I reach up to my wig, which is already perfect.
Nothing must go wrong today, Mr Coker had said last night, standing over me as I laid at this feet, placed there by a blow from his strong, capable hands.
It didn’t take a rocket scientist to hear the or else in that statement.
“Mrs Coker?” The photographer is tapping at my shoulder, I shrugged.
“He must have taken an urgent call” I catch glimpse of a maid and immediately tell her to fetch my husband, she nods and scurries off.
” I believe practice shots are in order” he says
The fear rages harder
“To get you ready, Your husband said you were nervous around cameras”
I laugh at this, a small sound of amusement. I did love to take pictures, but that time seemed far,far away.
Cameras, to my way of thinking revealed too much.
“That’s a lovely smile, let’s have more of that” he reaches out and I’m not fast enough to avoid him brushing something away from my shoulder. I send him my practiced smile again, he nods.
Nervous clients are not foreign to him. He stands behind the camera and I want to protest, that he hadn’t asked me, or Mr Coker.
But he’s already clicking. I try to relax, smile I tell myself, smile but I can tell he’s not pleased.
He comes forward again, closer this time.
“What are your interests, what makes you happy?” He runs through a list of things that he believes interests me but he doesn’t touch on the real thing.
I don’t mention that because then I would have to accept his sympathy on the miscarriage I’d suffered earlier, we’d announced to the world that underlying health issues had caused it but I knew the truth.
“Books” I say instead and my face lights up as I look into his face.
“I was caught up in a meeting”
Just like that,t he life is sucked out of the room,I look over and fear comes back to place it’s cold hand on my throat. The assessment in Phillip Coker’s eyes is enough for even the practiced smile to falter. His eyes flit from the photographer to me and I want to scream.
That it’s not what he thinks, but I don’t.
I don’t need a fortune teller to predict the event that will take place tonight.
My hand wanders up to my neck, careful not to smudge the concealer I had laid on to hide the bruise of the strangling he’d given me.
‘”let’s begin” he is now by my seat, a hand on my shoulder,squeezing but not too hard under the gaze of the photographer.
“I can’t wait to see how it comes out”
Click, click goes the camera but I don’t smile, this fear..