The Magic Bra





The Magic Bra

 

This one is the worst closet yet. I shouldn’t be surprised that my mother died leaving a mess. I take a deep breath to calm down, but the smell of her perfume -- a scent like rotting meat -- is everywhere. I’m going to clear the space even if it kills me, so the house can be ready for the market by the end of the year. Old dresses fly out. Boxes filled with yellowish receipts go straight through the window, clunking into a large container.

Dust tickles my nose and a violent sneeze attack ensues. Through a ray of light, I notice the thickness of the dust. I need to get out of here. On the top shelf, I locate a rectangular box. It’s labeled:

MAGIC BRAS

Intrigued, I get off the step ladder and into the relatively clean air of my mother’s bedroom. The hospital bed still sits in the middle, a solid reminder of its last occupant’s defeat to the Dark Crab. I crouch, set the box on the floor, and pull the cover off. It resists at first, but slides open suddenly and I fall backwards on my ass. I almost hear my mother’s cruel cackle. Even in death she finds ways to humiliate me.

A lacy white bra, wrapped in thin layers of silk paper, reveals itself. I notice the quality of the stitching, the absence of a Made in China label (always a good sign), and I like it. I walk to the full-length mirror next to the bed.  

“It looks like it fits,” I say.

At nearly fifty, a good bra can really improve my rapidly crumbling fa├žade and I need all the help I can get.

I quickly pull off my old T-shirt to try on this magic bra. When I lift my head, the mirror does not reflect my weary face and doughy figure. Instead, a tall, delicate woman in her twenties, with voluptuous breasts and cascading blond hair, stares back. I jump and look behind me. I’m alone. My heart rate doubles.

 I unclasp the brassiere. There’s a brief flash of light, like stepping into the sun from a dark basement, but here I am, plain but good old Linda, stretch marks and all. I re-clasp it and the tall woman is back wearing my ripped blue jeans.

“Am I going nuts?”

Not one to ponder for long, I decide to go see my husband, Bob. Over the last 10 years, our sex life has dwindled to once or twice a year. He’s lost interest and I think he’s sleeping around. I get it; I’m not the pretty girl he married anymore. He still loves me, but he is into his 50’s and longs for adventure. What better adventure than a passionate love affair with a tight body? I don’t like it one bit, but I get it. To find out if I’m right, I’ll flirt with him as the blond in the mirror. If Elvis has left the building with all my marbles, and there is no blonde, it will be obvious.

I redress, jump into my sensible, fuel-efficient car, and drive to his office a few miles away. He’s a managing accountant at a large firm. At the light, a man in a red Porsche smiles and signals that I can go ahead. When I walk a block to Bob’s office, old geezers on benches whisper as they swivel their head to stare. A well-built, young guy in a sleeveless shirt caresses me with a look of appreciation. Never, not even on my honeymoon, has anyone looked at me that way. I feel drunk.

At the reception desk, I boldly state:

“I’m here to see Robert Millen concerning possible employment.”

The firm is not hiring, comes the clipped answer. I can see Bob through the window, and I try a coquettish wave. My husband of almost thirty years smiles and waves back with hesitation. He’s not seeing Linda, that much is clear. The receptionist, catching the exchange, sends me in. Bob opens the door.

“Hello, Miss…”.

Damnit! I didn’t think of a name.

“Miss Lockhart,” I blunder, thinking of the lawyer in The Good Wife. “Emily.”

When I first saw the tall blonde woman in the mirror, I thought: psychosis, brain tumor, hallucinations. I didn’t bother with a back story.

The only way out of this mess is boldness. I walk to the window that overlooks the desks of the supervised bean counters and grab the string. The horizontal curtain falls in a glorious metallic swish. I give him a coy smile.

“I saw you at the coffee shop Mr. Millen,” I try a sultry voice that sounds perfectly ridiculous and step into his personal space.

He doesn’t step back.

“I think we should get to know each other.”

Bob swallows hard, eating it up. I get closer, grab his crotch. His eyes get as round as poker chips; he finally backs away. I wait for him to say: “You know, Miss Lockhart, it was nice of you to come, but I have a wonderful wife. She’s a great woman and despite your incredible beauty, I must decline.”

“Not here.” he says instead, his voice as hoarse as gravel on a chalkboard. “Meet me at the bar of the President’s Hotel, 7 o’clock.”

Bastard! It’s not unexpected but it still stings. Lemon juice on a paper cut. I accept his invitation with a smile, and leave, rocking my hips. I know he’s staring – Bob’s always loved round behinds.

I walk in the lobby of the President’s hotel at 7:15. The bar is on the left – dark and inviting. A large mirror reflects the orange light of the sunset outside, a mirage in the distance.

I’m showing up as Linda. Bob, freshly shaved and wearing his best tie is sitting in a dark corner. Typical married man waiting for another woman. He almost ducks under the table when he sees me. I’m staring at him so he puts on his calm mask -- the same one he uses on our children. How he hopes to fool me seems ludicrous.

I could have fun with him, pretend to be mad -- he did call me at 5 to say he was working late -- but I can’t. He’s a lying scoundrel, but he wasn’t always like that. He was sweet and funny and tender once. I sit in front of him.

“Hi.” He coughs. “I meant to call you. I’m meeting a client -- it’s very last minute.” He gestures a lot; even if I didn’t know he was lying, my bullshit detector would be screaming.

I raise a hand. “Don’t bother. I know about Miss Lockheart.”

He turns a deep shade of red. My right hand itches to slap him; my left to hold him. It’s all very confusing.

“I am her,” I say, realizing I sound like a lunatic.

I tell him all about the box in my mom’s closet. I can tell he’s humoring me. He thinks I’ve hired Emily, that this is all an elaborate hoax. His eyes wander, looking for hidden cameras.

“I have a proposition,” I say. “I’ll wear the bra when we fuck. You’ll make love to a very beautiful, young woman. But I want you to become available again, I want our marriage the way it was. Remember?”

He smiles a bit. He does remember. We are good for each other, not like those birds that mate for life, but still. We can have fun. For a while, however, our polarities have been pushing apart, comets circling the same solar system but rarely travelling together.

I ask him to rent a room. Soon, we’re standing next to a large bed, with golden cushions that beg to be tossed on the floor. I excuse myself to freshen up in the bathroom. I come out as Emily. He runs in behind me, yelling my name.

At first, he’s outraged.

“Linda! That’s enough! Where are you hiding?

Then, apologetic.

“I’m not touching that girl! I lost my head this afternoon. I’m sorry!”

Poor guy, he’s almost in tears.

I force him to look straight at me, and I unhook the bra. There’s a small flash of white light. Linda.

Fasten it.

Another flash.

Emily.

His complexion turn ghost like. He gasps. I think he’s having a heart attack. He slides closer, a glacier on a southern slope. I dare not budge. He extends flickering fingers, pokes my face. I snatch his hand and put in on my breast, a familiar gesture between Bob and Linda.

He puts his lips on mine like he used to when we first met. Neo kissing Trinity. I lose myself. The night is as magic as the bra. We make love three times. Not bad for a couple of old farts. I keep the bra on the whole time.

The next morning, he goes to work.

I take the elevator up to the glass topped roof where a training room overlooks the city. I spot a good looking young man lifting weights. His muscles are solid steel. He smiles at me. I smile back.

I love being Emily.

A thought snakes its way into my mind: I have the room until 11.

 
 
 
Veronique Aglat

 
 Veronique Aglat is an emerging Canadian author. She likes to write about the changes that occur in women’s mind and body. She wrote a poem that was published the literary magazine Anti-Heroin Chic ( http://heroinchic.weebly.com/blog/poetry-by-veronique-m-aglat). She has three stories coming out in literary magazines this Spring, among which Just Another Closet published here. She lives in Montreal with her husband and their children.

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