Thursday, October 22, 2009

Shuck Away

Terence had had enough of her antics; her childish demands on his time and spirit. "Daphne, you really shouldn't prescribe to that medicine, you know it does all kinds of odd things to you". Daphne moaned sardonically; "Oh I suppose you're right Terry. I just can't help myself sometimes. Daphne had just married Dr. Ashford last September in a wonderful candlelight ceremony at the small chapel in Jersey. It was her dream storybook wedding, everything exactly as she had planned since a child came true. She married her longtime friend, now her husband , a top ranking doctor for a major Boston neurological clinic. With the announcement of their marriage Dr. and Mrs. Terrence Wentworth Ashford became the most celebrated couple and neurosurgeon in Boston MA.

Daphne certainly realized how everything had neatly fallen into place in her life, she felt lucky in love and life.
Life was a whirlwind of social registry events; always a new fund raising event to attend, elegant meals, theatre, quaint bistros, latest gossip with other doctors and their wives.

Lately, Daphne became overwhelmed with her new life in Boston, and really was overwhelmed with the many quick changes that were taking place. It was not long ago when Daphne had a much different life living off Campus with Lance Defoe her boyfriend of four years. Now times were radically different, with many expectations normally associated with a doctor's wife.

The many drudgingly long hours of her husband's absence at the hospital in downtown Boston was really no surprise; "Just a daily grind I will have to adjust to, I suppose, thought delusioned Daphne. Although the wedding and honeymoon were nearly as perfect as she could imagine, the two honeymooning for a week in Tuscany; Daphne was missing the freedom she used to know when you could kick back and do nothing all day if she wished. Now there were schedules, people to meet, appearances to display. She felt obligated to be the best, the perfect wife she could possibly be, for she did love Terrence and wanted to prove it to him. Often he was too busy to acknowledge any effort on her behalf to make his world better.

Terrence really was in his own world, thinking all the time, about this new procedure or that. Daphne said "I know why doctors only marry doctors, only they can truly understand each other, their world; the hospital 24-7". It was true, Lance did seem different since beginning his term at Boston, and he knew this would be difficult. His life had been always so busy, and having had left a relationship not long ago as well, a bit confusing. Luckily, Mary was an understanding person accepting tearfully Terrence's rejection of their five year relationship. Mary took it in stride as she had most unfortunate incidents in her life, realizing how difficult it was to say goodbye forever because he wanted it that way. Rejection may have not have been as easy for Mary as Terrence had hoped, even though he cushioned the blow with many "but I'll love you forevers and you know you really are beautiful inside". Terry had laughingly thought of matchmaking the two jilted lovers. "Wouldn't it be funny if Mary and Lance got together?" Daphne did not find the humour in Terrence's remarks "You do take serious things lightly, don't you?" smiling a mock sideways grin at her boyish husband.

As Daphne tried to fill in the countless droll hours of Terrence's work schedule she thought she was beginning to accept his empty place at the dining room table each evening. As usual, Daphne waited patiently for her husband's return from late nights in the OR. Daphne could not wait to embrace him and really get to know him. They were new at this game. After a hard day and night in scrubs, Terrence would come home and find his newlywed with an empty bottle of Merlot, sprawled asleep on the dinnerroom table, awaiting her prince's return."How sweet she looks" thought the bedraggled doctor.

New England in the fall was a scenic carpet of brillant colour; leaves of scarlet, crimson, ocre, burnt sienna maple, oak and birch. Endless country roads beckoned Daphne who loved taking art photographs with her digital cam of nature's majestic rolling hills and many fabulous vistas. Graduating from Honours Bachelor of Fine Arts Harvard University, Daphne and Terry graduated the same year becoming reaquainted with one another at the graduation dinner and dance.

Renewing their longtime friendship both Daphne and Terry had to dispense with longterm and malingering relationships. Although Daphne knew that her relationship with Lance was not going anywhere fast. Lance had once been the promising up-and-coming sculptor in New York. As he was already recognized as a great sculptor, and in fact he did at one time produce a great deal of fine art pieces. Unfortunately the style now preferred in the galleries was much more of an edgy energy saved for the much younger denizen of flavour-of-the-month artists.

For Lance, commissions or sales were far and few between. Times were lean and mean. Rejection after rejection, Lance became despondent and turned to smoking weed all day and falling asleep, crashing on the couch of their apartment beer bottles and chip bags strewn around him in disarray. Soon Lance exhausted his attempts to secure adequate income for their livelihood. Daphne said "he just gave up".

Although Lance Defoe truly loved Daphne, he knew that he did not own her. Daphne was her own woman never owned, she had told him she would never marry. She did not like the idea of becoming what she termed "chattel cow" or another invisible bhurka wearing "Stepford Wife". Indeed, the plight of modern women had been a major topic in her art history essays at Harvard, and thinking about being married did not attrack her 21st century female sensibilities. Daphne thought "Why be married to men who only used them as stepping stones o something better?" Marriage meant poison in Daphne's eyes until she found the doctor of her dreams, Terrence. "Her mother would be so happy now!" she pondered when she dragged Terrence to her house for a get acquainted fiance meal and roast. Daphne's father, was a religious authoritarian type and always saying "So what are your intentions young man?" Of course when Terrence said he was graduating in the Spring as a Medical doctor, all stops were pulled for the quickening of the marriage proposal.

Lance thought of the possibility of Daphne one day leaving him. They had met in highschool. Lance was a jock with a sketchbook, a rare commodity in most highschools. He loved acting as well. He met Daphne in art class. They were all smiles and giggles and life was wonderfully innocent for them. Lance received training from the academy de beaux arts on a scholarship. He never fell out of love with Daphne and dated her exclusively. Lance knew though that his luck and time with Daphne was ending; "Possessed for a time, like a flower" Lance made the best of their time together.

As a teenager, Daphne bloomed with love for Lance. However, the very real and heady ideal worlds often collided with the two lovers, neither one having a clue as to what to do if the winds of change should come. And the winds came, times changed, old decades were out, and desire and longing for meat and potatoes existence changed to a potpouri of new faces and experiences. The two really had outgrown each other and were bored. Although Lance and Daphne were committed to each another, both could not afford to make any kind of lasting comittment to each other; for many reasons. This did not mean they stopped loving one another, as the two experienced a lifetime of memories that are not forgotten so easily, or willingly.

Daphne had been Lance's model and mentor, she supported him when he was unable to pay the rent or groceries. She did not mind mothering him, and enjoyed switching traditional roles, bringing home the paycheck as a clerk at the art gallery. As Daphne could portrait her professional self well in public, she cut an impression image, and was a head-turner. Lance would get jealous but realized there was nothing he could do, if she wanted to go, he could not or would not stop her. She was, in a way, too much woman for him. She was perfect in everyway. Lance always felt her inferior in every way, as his father had been cruel to him, often cuffing him on the head and calling him "Stupid idiot, you'll never amount to much". As self-fufilled as negative reinforcement gets, Lance was playing into the cards he was dealt with his father's cruel mentorless ways always in the back of his mind. Daphne tried to help him get over the negative attitudes instilled by his long deceased father but she could not shake him of his abhorrent negativity towards life in general. "I am not his doctor" thought Daphne many times when Lance got into one of his "moods".

Daphne on the other hand, could show her business-like self with was aggressive professionalism. She was an amazing business woman learned in part by her professional parents. Daphne's mom and dad doted idolatrously on their only child with lavish gifts. The parents only fault; the gifts were a replacement for their lack of physical presence which to Daphne seemed a callous replacement for love of the physical kind.

When Daphne came back to the apartment she could be the soft-touch Lance needed to make him smile once more. As much as Daphne loved Lance, her parents hated him, always wanting her to marry above her upper middle class upbringing. "Better for Daphne to rise far above her dictated station in life." Mrs. Taft stated dolefully "Hopefully" thought her matchmaker mother, "Daphne will see the light one day".

After four years of living with Lance, Daphne did not match patterns for silverware and crystal patterns with him. "It's over Lance", Daphne stormed out the door and into the waiting cab. Thier relationship ended abruptly. "It had to end this way" thought Daphne with tears in her eyes. "How else could it end? He'd never let go." At the same time she said goodbye to Lance she said hello to her new world, bright with better chances at the game of life. For her, her doctor husband represented security and upward mobility, something missing from Daphne's old relationship.

Daphne had her own one woman photographic show being held in two weeks at the Blue Dauphin Art Gallery opposite of Boston harbour. Soon it would be her time to shine professionally speaking. "What if Lance should show, he is on the list of gallery contributors" Daphne felt her cheeks turning as crimson red like maple leaves swirling in the fall air.

The fresh sea air allowed one to drink in the invigorating sensations of a thousand pleasures in Boston, the fish markets, the Irish district, the upper chancellory. As Daphne, soft auburn hair waved in the gentle seabreezes sounds a jazz ensemble emaniating from nearby grotto cafes. As far as the shopping in the cannery row of exclusive enclave of unique shops, museums, antiques Daphne became lost in the sights and sounds of Boston. "It is so much more than I had imagined it" Daphne sighed with delight.

When Terry and Daphne could slip away they would go to a favourite B&B near Martha's Vineyard and enjoy the best life had to offer. There were she was with him alone, he was hers alone. Her new life with her handsome doctor seemed safe to Daphne, secure; predictable. Daphne traded one life for another. She felt she deserved the best and Lance would never provide the means to her end; to become the famous photographer her mentors told her with effort she would become; if only she believed in herself and new the way of the game. If only she believed the lie.

Finally, Daphne felt fufilled and knowing full well she just as easily could love any man who was kind to her, and could provide her with the means to which she was accustomed. "the world is my oyster, and if I do get enough money, I can give Lance a helping hand, maybe I could help him someway to show him what he did really mean to me." Daphne shucked back another oyster. "If only...". Daphne was soon off to the next spot, doing the town in style forgetting for a moment her urgent need to mother Lance.

Under sedation Daphne could do little but sleep and continue her dreamworld wonderland, "Prescribed treatment dear" as Terrence gently injected the small sedative into his wife's forearm. Terrence handled the needle with expert precision. Terrence was concerned with Daphne's mood lately, her ups and downs were becoming extremely remote in some instances. It had only been a month into their marriage when Terrence noticed that Daphne was presenting with extremes in moods and character. "Maybe I've gotten a throwback; but I'll never throw her back into the sea, this is my mistake; and I am going to fix it." thought the doctor to himself.

Frustrated, Terrence had determined it was necessary for his new wife to attend to a friend at the clinic Dr. Lionel Brown board certified psychiatrist. Dr. Ashmore, Dr. Daphne had only recently come under the treatment of Dr. Brown. "It's the way it is Terry darling. Even the most mundane of us needs a bit of human contact and sleep". Daphne sounded incoherent as she drifted into much needed and peaceful sleep. Terrence was anxious for Dr. Brown's second opinion.

After a couple of hours Daphne awoke from her drug-induced nap. Terry nodded with his fine featured aquilane nose which he had deep into the latest Scientific Journal. "Oh I am glad to see you up Daphne, did you sleep well? Daphne murmured "Yes, dear, just abit drowsy. Give me 10 minutes to wake up and I'll make some coffee or would you like tea?" Terrence calmly stated "Yes, dear we'll talk about something in a few minutes. After Daphne was conscious Terrence asked her "How would you like to get away this weekend? How about Vermont?" Daphe screamed with joy, "Oh I would absolutely love that Terry" and then Daphne looked away out the window at the leaves "You know babes, if I could Ter, I really, really would love to go, I just don't feel very well today. Can you wait til Thursday for my answer; I'll let you know by then for sure? If I feel better by Friday, I'll call the B&B and make reservations for the two of us". Remembering what his doctor friend had told him, Terrence encouraged his young wife "You're the best dear, I hope I can squeeze everything into the convertible". "Can we have the top down Ters?"daphne loved the cool autumn wind blowing through her hair. "We'll see, Daph, we'll see, let me finish this reading and we'll discuss more about the sightseeing whaling boat and the long country roads autumnal viewing, this will be great!". Daphne, "I can't wait!".

As Terrence poked his noise around the piled high of academic journals to be read, when he finished one he would plop another on top of the endtable as he sat legs up on the executive Scandinavian butternut leather chair. "Yes, dear, I'm really looking forward to a mini holiday too. Could you please book the blace that puts the mints on the pillowcase this time?" Terry always had a humourous comment to add, always trying to cheer up his beleagured and now recently diagnosed depressed wife. "You mean the one with the folded towel swans? Daphne enquired. "Yes, that's the one Daphne, that's it!" Both looked at each other lovingly from across the room. "The medicine must be working" thought the doctor.

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