It was Tuesday – therapy day. Elle paused her 4×4 BMW at the end of the driveway and checked the rear view mirror to make sure the electric gates were closing behind her. While she waited for them to shut she studied her reflection in the visor, she lifted her supersized sunnies and briefly pouted her glossy lips. Using her feet she gently nudged a new handbag further under her seat and raised a hand to their security guard before edging out onto the avenue – canopied purple with Jacarandas. She had to remind herself to ‘just breathe steadily’.
This car was brand new too – her husband, David, had bought it for her after her accident three months ago. It had been a smash-and-grab, her handbag yanked from the passenger seat at a notorious intersection; but the trauma of the event had left her unwilling to drive the previous car, even though it was only the window that needed replacing. David had suggested she go for counselling after the event, with Dr Blumberg, the most sought after private psychologist in town. He and David knew each other from school days and played golf together still. Although she had briefly met him, they had only recently become well acquainted.
Situated in the Northern suburbs of Johannesburg, Dr Blumberg was a busy man. His card proclaimed that he was a specialist in Vehicle Incident Related Therapy: Hijackings, Kidnappings, Crashes and Theft. Elle had heard the scandalous rumours about him at her tennis parties – the girls loved their gossip – but she hadn’t mentioned them to David.
As Elle cruised the suburban streets she tried but failed to not dwell on the secrets that had become woven into the fabric of her daily life. She was a million miles away from the girl she used to be.
The least of her secrets was that her full name was Juanelle. She had stopped using it in her first secretarial position in Sandton. Two senior PA’s had looked at one another, raising their perfectly plucked brows, and remarked that her name was ‘sooo Afrikaans’. Her parents Juan and Marnelle had created her name from theirs – as was often the way with their generation. Elle began to model herself on these women she aspired to replace.
Her most bothersome secret was that niggle she felt every time she told people she had absolutely married her boss for love. Privately she couldn’t deny the desperate steps she had taken in order escape small town life of Oranjeville. Who could blame her for wanting a mock-Tuscan mansion, with tennis court, pool and full-time staff? She disliked the loneliness brought on by David’s demanding work schedule but at least he was generous.
Her thoughts returned to Dr Blumberg. On their first session he had spoken about her revisiting the scene of the crime, literally, but she’d been unable. She was panicky just thinking of it and yet had felt calmed by his reassuring smile and kind brown eyes. She had caught his scent as he had leant in to take her hand – bergamot and musk. Although relaxed, she was slightly breathless. She knew there was a deepening connection in their second and third sessions he understood her, it was such a relief. On the fourth he took more than her hand and she willingly gave it.
Today she’d take the plunge and drive that route; she turned on to the busy road where she’d had the incident. Ahead she could see a group of vendors swarming the cars at the six lane intersection, eager to sell fresh fruit or imported cheap gadgets. Most of them were only trying to eke out a living but it annoyed her. So dangerous how they mobbed the car and such convenient cover for opportunist tsotsis! Her anxiety was heightened by the anticipation of seeing Dr Blumberg. He was her deepest secret of all, she worried if it was revealed it would be a juicy scandalous titbit squeezed out like the succulent oranges after tennis. She could lose everything she’d worked for.
The blood red of the approaching stop sign caught her eye and holding her breath, she slowed down. Her heart thumped hard and there was a rushing noise in her head. Feeling dizzy, she closed her eyes and Dr Blumberg’s scent teased its way into her memory. ‘Just breathe steadily’. Drawing in deeply, eyes now half mast and unseeing, she pulled away from the stop. To her right the overloaded minibus taxi which had jumped the stop street hit her at 70km/hr with a devastating thud.
The brief ensuing silence was punctuated by the quiet sigh of Elle’s last exhalation – followed by the escalating roars of death and life chaos that swirled around her car.
Daily Prompt: Juicy