03/06/2013 - 2:03pm
No one dares to go where I go
by MJ Benedeto

ARS 2 (by Dave Senecal)

I steal.  You would never believe it, to look at me.  I am a carbon copy stockbroker-belt-stay-at-home-wife.  I live in a house that does not have a number because in our neighborhood the houses have names instead of numbers.   I play golf with an enviable handicap and win tennis matches easily.  I lunch.  I also steal.

The perky shop assistant is all smiles when I hand her my platinum credit card.  “Will that be all?” she asks as she gently folds my twentieth silk scarf.   She encloses it in tissue paper and places it carefully in a shopping bag that shouts its expense and exclusivity despite its pandering to insincere subtlety.
She doesn’t realise I have pocketed my prize for the day and I’m confident of never being discovered.  I am not afraid of the police.  It isn’t them I fear.

I don’t cook and I don’t worry about cleaning since we have a live in maid.  Paula, our Polish maid, looks wide-eyed at my collection of shopping bags when I enter the kitchen.  She sighs, and then without a word, unpacks pre-packaged gourmet meals which she puts in the coffin sized freezer.

I check the time on the kitchen clock.  It’s only six o’clock and I wonder if my husband, Stephen, will make it home before midnight.  I just thank god for pre-packaged food, the microwave and my indifference to home-cooking.  I rarely wake when Stephen wanders home and into bed.

Stephen insists on working punishing hours because of the economy.  He claims he must entertain clients with later and later nights.  I should care but I don’t.  Maybe I would have cared two years ago, or even a year ago.  I don’t care any more.

The only thing that matters is growing my collection of stolen treasures.  With Paula distracted, I walk the length of our echoing house to one of our spare rooms.  I quietly slide open a drawer in the bureau and place the treasure next to other packages, and then, just as quietly, close the drawer.  No one has
discovered them because no one else dares to go where I go.

I met Stephen at work, at the same brokerage house.  We were ravenous high performers but I could hear the ticking of my biological clock.  At 38, just before the crash and burn bankruptcies in The City, we married with the intent of producing our 1.8 children.  Stephen and I are good with numbers.  It turns out we aren’t so good with life.

I began my stultifying exile when I became pregnant.  I went off to middle-class coffee mornings with my pregnancy “buddies”.  Before the end of the third month, I lost our baby.  Cue pitying glances and not-so-hidden smugness of pregnant mothers who hadn’t wasted their most fertile years chasing filthy lucre.

Within a year I was pregnant again.  We were so cautious and so quiet about our news.  At five months, the baby, baby Abigail, was doing cartwheels in her sonogram;  but by month six there were no kicks, no scrunched up somersaults or explosive baby hiccups waking me in the night.

They induced labour.  Stephen organised the burial.  We had no service.

So I steal quietly, cautiously hoping.  I wait in humility.  I fear the cosmos will punish me again for my presumption.  I hide my stolen treasures in Abigail’s nursery in plain sight.    No one else dares to go where I go.


MJ Benedetto has had a lifelong love affair with the written and spoken word.  She trained as an actress, has written poetry, screen plays and is now investigating different fiction narratives.  Her current day job is as a sports coach after spending nearly 20 years in the corporate world.  She is also a dual US/UK citizen.


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