Sunday, November 28, 2021

FIVE TUESDAYS IN WINTER's "Creature": Teen Age-Gap (Sexual) Affair Gone Awry

We came across Lily King's Five Tuesdays in Winter in Harper's Bazaar (November 2021). Five Tuesdays in Winter is a book of eleven stories, which raises the question: Why did Harper's Bazaar choose to profile "Creature"? And why was "Creature" the première story in the book? Could it be the allure of nymphets?

Here's the magazine's plot summary for "Creature" and a quote from the author:
[...] [Carol] a 14-year-old girl is hired as a live in helper for an elderly woman but becomes infatuated with [Hugh] the woman's married son [...] There's no question that my supreme interest is love-all kinds of love," King says, "and all the ways that it goes right and awry."

And that's exactly what happened in "Creature."  After Carol met Hugh, with his "watery green" eyes, she felt light, she was filled with excitement, and she had difficulty breathing:

“As I raced up the wide dark stairs, I felt light, my chest full of something new and exciting, a helium that lifted me from step to step and made breathing difficult but somehow unnecessary.”

Subsequently, Carol waited for Hugh, observed him closely, and "greedily" breathed is his scent: 

“I waited for him to come downstairs before we left the house.”

“His green bathing suit clung to his bum and I could see its exact shape, two bony teardrops. He gave it a little wiggle then, as if he knew someone was watching.”

“I could smell Hugh. I knew the scent by then. It was sharp and unclean, even after a swim, and I knew I wouldn’t like it anywhere else but coming up from his long taut body. I breathed it in greedily.”

Not only did 14-year-old Carol know that Hugh was married to Raven - a blond, but Carol wanted to hear how Hugh spoke to his wife: “I wanted to hear how he spoke to Raven.”

In Carol's notebook, under a copy of Jane Eyre, which is about an age-gap affair between ≈ 19-year-old Jane Eyre and ≈ 40-year-old Mr. Edward Rochester, were pictures drawn of Hugh, poems written about Hugh, and entries such as:
“At the pool he lies on his back on the concrete with his arms spread like Christ on the cross and I want to ravish him.”
Carol even put herself to sleep with thoughts of Hugh:
“I smelled him and remembered how I’d put myself to sleep the night before with a story about him taking me out into the woods where there was this old tennis court no one used anymore and him teaching me to play and afterward kissing me, a tender, delicate kiss [...]”

After Carol learned that she had Hugh's full attention, he informed her that he and his mother were of the opinion that Carol was a (teen) seductress. 

“I understood that I had his full attention now. I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it. I’d never had any boy’s attention before as far as I knew.”

“You are trouble. I, like my mother, think you are trying to seduce me.”

In the end, after reading Carol's notebook, Hugh made an age-gap relationship faux pas by not letting Carol set the pace of the relationship. Unable to resist the allure of a nymphet, Hugh cornered Carol in the bathroom, he kneaded her young right fountain, and he penetrated her (with a digit). Consequently, Carol fled, and like most victims of abuse, she didn't share what happened. 

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