Alison7 mins 220 7 mins 220
When I first met Alison, I was a teenager, and she was in her late twenties. My brother brought her home to surprise us with the news of their engagement. The atmosphere was rather uncomfortable, but Alison didn’t seem to care. She talked, smiled and laughed at the most appropriate times and within a few minutes she won over our family.
Alison was the most stunning woman I’d ever seen. I wanted to be like her, and I wanted her earn her admiration. The first time we met, she was wearing a ruffle skirt, and a white blouse with her hair pulled back into a perfect bun, not one strand of hair out of its place. She always wore beautiful dresses, which I was later told she made herself. She was an aspiring fashion designer.
Even on the day of my brother’s funeral, she looked perfect. A simple elegant black dress, with black heels and hair straightened, Alison hardly looked like the grieving widow, but her eulogy to her late husband moved everyone.
After that I didn’t see Alison for nearly four years. She married a businessman only two weeks after my brother’s death. I knew how unhappy she was with my brother. Alison was a free spirit while my brother was controlling. He wanted to put her in a cage.
The next time I met Alison was in Venice. I was an art student there, away from my parents, in my own little world. As I was roaming the market one morning, there was Alison, posing in front of a camera. She was wearing a red and pink blazer with a mini skirt, and red stockings. I called out to her and she waved at me to come over. After two minutes she bid the photographer adieu and hugged me tightly.
Alison took me out for lunch in her red convertible. It was an expensive restaurant, and I noticed people staring at Alison as she walked in. She too, wanted to give them a show, so she took off her blazer, showing off her collarbones and arms in her pink halter neck top. Her hips swayed as a bit more than usual. As we settled down, she told me that her second husband divorced her, and left her with a huge settlement. After that, she took several trips. On one particular trip to India, where she spent two months in a yoga retreat in the Himalayas, she decided to take on a new career. So she started an Instagram account and became a fashion influencer with more than one million followers.
“It’s a shame Steve died,” Alison spoke about her second husband, “I had finally started liking him.”
Over the next few months, I saw Alison every day. She insisted I call her Ali. I become her best friend, and the reason was, she liked to talk and I liked to listen to her.
“Why do you go to church every Sunday?” I asked her. Her affiliation with the church baffled me.
“My mother used to take me to the Maas every Sunday so it’s a habit. It’s also fun to rile up those bible-worshiping sinners. You should come with me this weekend.”
I went. Alison glided in the church as though she owned the place. I was busy noticing the other members, who looked at her with contempt. I heard someone whisper “slut” as they saw Alison. I think she liked this attention. It was perhaps intentional that she was wearing such a short dress in church. She later told me that a priest molested her when she was twelve, and therefore, she made it a mission to corrupt every church goer and turn them against the church.
Soon after the sermon, Alison walked to the alter and started giving her own sermon, which wasn’t religious at all. Yet everyone gathered around and listened raptly.
I was in love with her. Yes, it was painful and annoying to see her flirting with different men, especially when she would leave me to go home with them. While most women preferred to pick up men in bars, Alison got great pleasure picking up guys in church.
Alison disappeared for a few days. I called all her friends and boyfriends, but no one knew where she was. She didn’t take my calls nor did she reply to my messages. Two days later, she came live on Instagram where she announced her engagement to Andrew Jenkins. They were in Greece, sipping champagne.
I was both hurt and mad. I checked some comments. Few were congratulating the couple, but most of them were trolling her for getting engaged to Andrew who was twelve years younger, and for the fact that this was her third marriage. She was labelled an ‘anti-feminist’ and a ‘gold digger’. She called me several times after that, but I didn’t pick up.
Two weeks later, Alison came to my apartment. She was furious. I knew how mad she could get when she was ignored, but looking at her beautiful face, my own anger melted away. I apologised. My eyes fell upon her neck which was bruised.
“Ah, nothing! Andrew and I had a fight.”
We sat side by side and she told me the whole story. They tussled over some of her Instagram pictures. He asked her to take them down. She refused and they had a fight, which got physical. He ended up choking her, and she fainted for a few moments. Seeing her like that, he felt so guilty that he promised never to hurt her again. When Alison gained consciousness, she pretended to break off their engagement and when he begged her not to, she took him into her arms.
“I don’t understand. Why would you want to be with him? He hit you!”
“You are so naive sweetheart.” She laughed. “You know what women really want? Control. Sometimes to gain control, you have to pretend to be helpless. I now know Andrew will always be in my control.”
I can’t say I understood her logic, but as long as she was happy, I was happy. She asked me to be her maid of honour, but I refused. I couldn’t see her getting married to another man. I think she understood. She tucked a loose strand of hair behind my ear, and kissed me on the lips.
I went back to London as soon as I graduated. Neither of us spoke to each other, but I kept following her on social media. She posted pictures of her wedding and her honeymoon. The same people who were calling her a whore, continued to comment on her pictures. Some of them went back to loving her. She expanded her business and started designing clothes again.
I met Alison again a few days ago in a little coffee shop. I was on a date with my girlfriend. Alison saw us and straightaway came to hug me. I thought I was over her, but I couldn’t stop smiling. She introduced herself to my girlfriend. She knew all about Alison, and my feelings regarding her, and perhaps that’s why she left.
“How have you been?” She asked.
“I’m good. I work as a buyer for a local art gallery here.”
She told me everything about her life. Andrew ended up dying in a car accident. She took a trip to Jerusalem to clear her head.
“I’m sorry about Andrew. I know you loved him.”
“Yes, I did.” She said.
We didn’t speak much after that, we just held hands. After finishing our coffee, we went back to Alison’s hotel where we made love. I cried afterwards. Every emotion I had accumulated all these years: jealously, love and anger pent up within me were purged. It was either Alison’s way of giving me closure or driving me even more crazy.
“I’m much better with men you know.” She said as I got up to leave.
“I bet. You got three to marry you. I’m sure you can get another one.”
“Well, I have to. There’s just one thing I dread, and that is being alone. Only the thought of it drives me crazy.” She said.
I gently kissed Alison and left. That was the last time I ever saw her. Perhaps someday I’ll meet her again. Or perhaps not, but I could never forget her. Her perfection, her quirks, her strength, her independence, and even her vulnerability will be forever etched in my memory. Alison would revel in the fact that some part of me will always be in love with her.