She couldn’t rightly discern why it was that she had such an inherent contempt toward anyone around her who didn’t, let’s say, have gray hair. She particularly loathed the women in this category over the men. As though they were but a mere reminder of all she had lost in her own life. Of all that she would never be able to get back. Her youth somehow squandered on marrying a cad who would end up leaving her right at the moment when she would no longer be deemed “viable” by another potential suitor. At the precise shift in her “biological clock” when biology favored ticking more toward the other side of the soil, if one catches the meaning.
Elodie supposed this was where her unquenchable rage stemmed from in her dealings with fellow females who were in a more youthful age bracket. Yet even though she was aware of her behavior while she was engaging in it, she could never seem to resist the sadistic joy she got out of torturing those “little bitches” in the forty and under category. Even though she knew Selah was not as conceited or sluttish as the other ilk she had come across during her tenure as an old woman–an old cunt, if we’re being totally honest–she could not stop herself from treating her with just as much disdain. Indeed, the “sweeter” Selah was to her, the more she wanted to snap her twig of a body in half. A body that Elodie envied her for. It was supple, unbesmirched by wrinkles and varicose veins. Tanned, desirable–fuckable. No matter how dulcet her tones, how kind her actions, it would never change the fact that Selah was incapable of understanding Elodie’s kampf, as it were. That she had been dealt the blow of never again getting the chance to make up for what she had lost in playing her cards wrong.
Selah, it seemed, was already playing them right by sheer virtue of making the attempt at being an expatriate. Something Elodie had once dreamed of trying in a country like Greece or Indonesia, but instead, never left France, too fearful that she would be caught adrift in a foreign land without knowing the language. Plus knowing somewhere deep down that all others outside of la France held a certain aversion to the French in general and Parisians in particular. She couldn’t stand up to that kind of pressure when it came to befriending new people, already so antisocial to begin with sans adding the dilemma of a cultural and language divide. So she stayed in town. Where she eventually met Xavier, who gradually chipped away at her resolve to remain single with his advances long enough to get her to marry him when she was twenty-six.
They had three children together, all of whom had gone on to get married and have children themselves, but each family found a reason to avoid contact with Elodie. So insufferable, evidently, had she become. So filled with piss and vinegar as was always the old woman cliche. Elodie never thought she would–or could–allow herself to get this way. That she would avoid the trope of being an embittered crone. That she would not add to the bad name of elderly ladies everywhere who ended up abandoned in nursing homes in dystopian milieus like America. What if the nursing home phenomenon one day came to roost in Europe? Where would she be then? Her children would undeniably stick her in there rather than allowing her to delight in her own filth and antipathy as she sat in her apartment plotting ways that she might subtly try to ruin Selah’s life.
Poor, innocent Selah, whose male visitors were growing more numerous and more attractive by the week–making Elodie cringe and boil with jealousy, once again, over all that she would never have now that she had lost the dreams and allure that were the luxury of youth. Wherever Xavier was now, she hoped that he was unable to get his dick up for his new, age-inappropriate wife. She despised him for rendering her this way, blamed him almost entirely for her venomous attitude. A venom she needed to unleash on the nearest target: Selah. Although she had kept the twit at bay in spite of her best attempts to be friendly with Elodie, she still maintained her close enough to identify that the only thing she cherished more in this world than her taut pussy (as this was every girl’s most cherished possession whether they knew it or not) was her record collection.
She was a musicophile, and as such, Elodie could often hear her damned hummingbird voice emanating from the balcony below her. Mercifully, Selah would be moving at the end of the month. It seemed she would be making the same mistake as all young women by sacrificing her youth to but one man. An Italian she had met while working at a cafe down the road from their building. Like most Italians, he wanted to return to his country and settle in a house near his mother’s to have a family. Elodie almost pitied Selah–if she wasn’t so thrilled to see her squander her beauty on a relationship doomed to fail. Because they were all doomed to fail. The second a woman showed herself to be too saggy, too “wizened,” a man couldn’t stand it, needed to replace her with a new model that was “pluckier.” Read: fuckier.
Just when Elodie thought she might run downstairs to warn Selah about the terrible error she was making, she saw from her perch on her own balcony that she was coming home with a different boy, a Frenchman by the looks of it. She let him kiss her for about a minute before finally inviting him up. What the hell was all this about? Elodie wondered, realizing that maybe Selah was going to turn out to be smart enough to remain a free agent. How could this be? Why should she be the one to have her freedom and springtide while Elodie was stuck up here like Quasimodo? Relegated to an imaginary pasture that society had put her out to. Well, she wasn’t going to stand for Selah’s insolence. Her contented unawareness of how grossly she was flaunting all she had in front of Elodie at what felt like every hour of every day.
In the coming weeks, as Selah started to move her things out of the apartment without any sign of the Italian she was originally supposed to be departing with, Elodie was careful to time her comings and goings with the perfect moment. The one that would destroy Selah. It happened late one Saturday, before dusk (a time that consistently lends dramatic flair to any showdown, whether both parties involved are aware of its imminence or not). She was walking slowly with a crate full of her precious records, rarities, B-sides, 12-inches, 33 ⅓s, 45s–the gamut. Elodie could imagine that this fool spent every spare centime she ever made on musical acquisitions. Such a youthful folly and preoccupation. Again, a luxury Selah had that she didn’t. To be frivolous and oblivious and all the other -ous suffixes that old ladies did not get to partake of.
Well Elodie was going to siphon back some of her own jejuneness by smacking a bit of it out of Selah as she just “happened to” ram into her as she passed by with her delicate crate of records, all at once skidding onto the cement, some of the vinyls themselves pouring out of the sleeves and getting cracked while others simply had the front and top of their cases decimated by the sliding contact of the pavement. Selah watched it all transpire in slow motion, in complete disbelief that what she was watching amounted to her life’s passion being tarnished–destroyed–in the blink of an eye. Not unlike the unexpected transition from “nubile” to “day old bread.”
When it was over, and they had all endured their fatal-in-some-way crash landing, Selah looked as though she might burst into tears, start sobbing uncontrollably. Elodie, seeing her pain, felt a twinge of delight unlike any she had ever recently known. Playing the senile “who am I, what am I, where am I?” card to perfection, Elodie simply made a dismissive motion to Selah and said, “Would you mind moving out of the way so I can pass, dear?” Selah, too stunned to get angry or place blame on an “unoffending” grande dame, backed away in submission to her elder.