A Fine Profession (The Chambermaid's Tales Part One)

Free A Fine Profession (The Chambermaid's Tales Part One) by Sarah Michelle Lynch

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Authors: Sarah Michelle Lynch
might be being watched at any one time. Have you ever felt like that? Like there might be cameras behind the mirrors?
    So, Alex and I remained the best of friends, with him always baiting me about why I didn't just find some young buck to marry and produce sprogs with. I think we both knew the answers but neither of us pushed the subject. He used to question me about all kinds of things and I would never listen, never take him seriously or consider that I had a problem somewhere along the line. He would ask why I loathed to visit the doctor or the dentist, why I didn't try to find a regular hair salon to go to, why I preferred to make online purchases rather than go to the shops in person. He asked why I chose outfits that mostly covered me up, why I never splurged on payday like everyone else, or why I could never take a compliment from a customer or anyone else for that matter.
    Instead of finding my own way in Nottingham, I latched onto Alex's life. He was a bit of a loner, like me, but he was at one with it. I joined him for Sunday strolls around Holme Pierrepont, eating pretzels from a stand situated halfway around the circuit before doing a full turn to purchase another. We egged each other on to wear the most horrific tracksuits and cagoules. Sometimes we even swapped so that he was wearing my pink one and I his zebra-print version. Come rain or shine, it became one of our things. It was beautiful in spring or summer, with the rowing lake looking blue and inviting. It was a calm place where people just sat or rowed, caught a bit of peace and quiet or exercised their dogs. We just used to talk nonsense on the way round, telling each other anything and everything that might come into our minds.
    Whenever he booked tickets for a show, he'd say, “By the way, you're coming,” and I would attend, naturally, though I'd have worked my way through at least a dozen possible outfits prior to the event. It was never easy attending civilised affairs. The thought of strangers asking me, “So, what did you think of the opening sequence?” scared me half to death. There were comedy gigs, stadium concerts, cricket at Trent Bridge or football at The City Ground (Alex's connections always got us free tickets to sporting events) and all manner of shows I was forced to sit alongside him at.
    I always said, “ Well, I'll give it a bash,” but more often than not I was forced to concede my enjoyment.
    We had a favourite pizza p lace on the rougher side of West Bridgford, where we used to travel to on bad days, if one of us was feeling down in the dumps. Huge chunks of greasy cheese, coupled with chips and cola would do the trick, though I'd probably end up laid in bed the rest of the night. I wasn't built for mass consumption. There were curries in front of the fire, or horror marathons in front of the TV. Sometimes we didn't even need to talk.
    I quite vividly remember us going to see t he Russian State Opera's production of Eugene Onegin . I had decided most adamantly that I would hate it. I really had. But as ever, he'd got the tickets and I was bound by his generosity to go. He said it was black tie and gowns so I'd been forced to drag some black velvet relic out of my wardrobe. He looked outstanding in a tux and I was fit to burst with desire. I was a little bit in love with him. Actually, since our night of passion I had very nearly touched myself over him on several occasions. Hiding my desire for his mouth against mine was almost impossible. My eyes always veered toward his abnormally plump pink lips. I loved him and the not having him drove me insane. In the Nottingham Theatre Royal, behind the Corinthian columns that had welcomed us in, we sat up on a balcony and I watched with awe from a viewpoint that allowed me full vision of the stage, the audience and the extravagance of such a place. The theatre's carvings were exquisite. When the curtain closed, I sat with tears streaming from my eyes, quite certain nothing as

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