DISCLAIMER: The Handmaid's Tale and its characters are the property of Margaret Atwood.
AN1: 'marenfic' asked for Buffyverse, which I'm afraid I just don't do; or Roswall, which I just don't do either; or BSG/Laura/Kara, which didn't pique my interest; or The Handmaid's Tale (book) any F/F pairing, which did *G* This unusual request allowed me to re-read Margaret Atwood's wonderful book and spurred the following fic which I hope you enjoy.
AN2: I've tried to write this in the same style as the book so hope it's ok?
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

To Imagine
By Debbie


Nobody talks much, though there is a rustling, and the women's heads move furtively from side to side: shopping, is where you might see someone you know, someone you've known in the time before, or at the Red Centre. Just to catch sight like that is an encouragement. If I could see Moira, just see her, know she still exists. Better yet if I could see Christie.

Christie the only girl I ever really loved, possibly the only one I ever loved. Everyone knew about my relationship with Luke but did anyone really know about Christie.

Even back then we were directed towards the so-called norm of girl meets boy has children. So, I met Christie, fell in love with Christie, left Christie, met Luke, trapped Luke, and eventually married Luke. Yes, in many ways I did love him, how could I not, he gave me a wonderful daughter. But Christie was Christie; she was mine, she was my first love, she was *my* love.

Damn, now I've remembered her I can't stop saying her name, that's what memory does for you. That's one thing the Gilead Government cannot take away from me; my memory. Yet, to remember is to lose and so I don't, remember that is, except when memories creep up like this.

Over to my right I can hear two handmaidens whispering, causing a small commotion. I dare to look up and see an obviously pregnant maiden enter. As the other women mutter both appreciation and obscenities I recall the last time I saw Christie.

Heavy with child I bumped into her around the corner from my workplace. She was with another girl. It had been six months since we'd gone our separate ways; I'd been unable to accept our love was strong enough to last in the ever changing society, she'd been unable to accept I was never going to be recognized as more than her friend. I left, met Luke, became pregnant. Christie disappeared, it looked like she'd found another love.

After nervous introductions and jealous stares between me and Susan, Susan left and we remained in uncomfortable silence. All I could do was stare into fathomless pools of sea blue, seeing passion, desire, lust, but more than anything, even after I'd walked out, love. It was a look I had never seen since. For that singular moment in time all of Christie's soul was directed at me and only me.

The things we remember are the things we miss. The things we remember are the things we imagine.

It's hard to imagine now, having a friend like that.

I'm lying on my back, fully clothed, surrounded by the large white canopy of Serena Joy's four-poster bed. My eyes are closed and I can smell lily of the valley surrounding us. It's so cold, so uncomfortable and all I can do is remember another time. A time I promised myself I would not remember, not now, not during the ceremony, I promised myself this would always remain separate.

Above me, towards the head of the bed, Serena Joy is arranged, outspread. Her legs are apart and I lie between them, my head resting on her stomach, her pubic bone under the base of my skull, her thighs on either side of me and all I can think about is another time.

Christie is laid back against the bath tub, her arms envelop me in her warmth, the smell of jasmine and vanilla surrounds us, and the gentle feel of bubbles caress my bare skin. The memories invade me. I can feel the pressure of Christie's small breasts pressing into my sensitized back as I slowly raise my hands to caress her face.

My arms are raised and Serena holds my hands, each of mine in each of hers, supposedly of one flesh, one being. What it really means is that it is she, Serena, who is in control of this process. The rings of her left hand cut into my fingers. It may or may not be revenge.

Christie responds by lifting the hand that has gently been caressing my breast to the underside of my jaw. She turns my head slowly before dropping a forceful kiss on my lips drawing the breath from me. My heart skips a beat when I barely hear her whisper just what she is going to do to me. It may or may not be revenge.

My red skirt is hitched up to my waist, though no higher and the commander fucks the lower part of my body. This is not good and yet I suppose it's my choice, not a wonderful choice but it is mine. Therefore I lie still, close my eyes and think of England. I wish he would hurry up.

Christie continues to kiss me, one hand caressing my breasts, the other hand stroking slowly up and down my thigh, occasionally slipping down towards my moist heat. I can't help but respond to her touch and slowly press my ass back towards her crotch while continuing to sensuously stroke her face. Our eyes lock onto each others as she slowly enters me with the tip of one finger. My gasp echoes around the room and I ask for more. One finger, two fingers, in, out, slow, fast, I wish she'd slow down.

Serena Joy grips my hand and the commander fucks, with a regular two-four marching stroke, on and off like a tap dripping. He is preoccupied, waiting for himself to come, drumming his fingers on the table as he waits.

Christie stops caressing my breasts to take a hold of the hand I have resting on her cheek. Hands clasped together she draws our conjoined hands over my heart and all the while her other hand strokes me nearer and nearer to completion, her fingers hitting all the right spots until we can both feel the tremors reaching fever pitch.

After what feels like hours, torture would be more bearable, the commander comes. Serena Joy gives a stifled moan as she expels the breath she has been holding and he rests a moment, not touching, propped away from our combined bodies. He pulls back, zips himself closed, then nods and leaves. Serena Joy lets go of my hands and immediately throws me out of her chamber.

Christie's fingers quicken their pace and her body surges upwards into mine. I clasp her hand tighter to my chest and take her lips in a deep kiss. Offering my tongue we duel in earnest until below, her fingers deep inside me, I explode. Silence descends as our breath and hearts slowly fall back into a normal rhythm. Christie's body envelops me in its beauty and I feel safe. Time slips by as we relax in each other's presence until eventually we retire to our bedroom.

What's going on under Serena's canopy has nothing to do with passion or love or romance. It has nothing to do with sexual desire; arousal and orgasm are no longer thought necessary. This is not pleasure, this is serious business. This is our duty.

What went on in Christie's tub had everything to do with passion and love and romance. It was all about desire and arousal; it was all about orgasm, individually, separately, but most consuming of all, together. Our time together was all about pleasure: hers, mine, ours. It wasn't duty, it was our wish, it was precious.

The things we remember are the things we miss. The things we remember are the things we imagine.

It's hard to imagine now, having a love like that.

Later, I walk with Ofglen along the summer street. We walk slowly, in companionship, more comfortable with one another now; we're used to each other. After shopping we wander past The Wall, there's no bodies hanging at this time, and continue on towards the store-fronts. Ofglen and I stand outside Soul Scrolls, looking through the shatterproof windows, watching the prayers spewing out of the printing machines. Now I shift my gaze. What I see is not the machines, but Ofglen, reflected in the glass of the window, looking straight at me.

I feel another body sidle up and dare to look, still into the glass, towards the interloper. The eyes that are not afraid to stare back at me are instantly recognizable; Christie. A gasp escapes from me and Ofglen touches my hand gently. She whispers quietly, "Are you alright?"

My mouth refuses to speak and my eyes continue to stare ahead. I'm afraid to look towards Ofglen lest I lose this perfect vision in front of me for ever, again. Christie stares back, obvious recognition in her gaze, some sort of communication occurs between her and her partner, until she rests her hand on mine to tug almost imperceptibly. A raised eyebrow indicates she wants me to come with.

I turn to Ofglen and whisper, "Is it safe here?"

In the window I see her nod, she says, "I figure it's the safest place. We look like we're praying is all."

With that, and to this day I can't work out how we all knew the exact thing to do, Ofglen steps behind me and into step with Christie's partner, leaving Christie and I to join up and follow at a discrete distance.

After three years without her, the first words my lost lover utters, "Keep your head down as we walk and lean just a little towards me. That way I can hear you better." For some reason the deceit inherent in that one phrase spears my heart more than anything that's happened to me in the past few years.

I lean in and ask her how she is when all I want to do is tell her how much I've missed her, how wrong I was in the past, how much I want to just up and run off with her, how much I love her. I don't. We walk side by side and share the inane chatter of acquaintances rather than lovers.

Christie always was the braver one of us and, as we start to head back towards Soul Scrolls, she suddenly stops, turns towards me head on and gazes at me for what can be no more than ten seconds. In that time I see all I want to see. Once again I am astounded by the story her gorgeous sea blue eyes tell; she loves me and always will.

I smile quickly and for once I allow my heart to sing, I whisper, "I love you."

The fire in Christie's eyes is amazing but once again she is the brave one. She knows this can never be, not now, not ever. She smiles back, touches my face, once, quickly, too quickly, then whispers back, "And I love you." Then she turns on her heel, is immediately joined by her real partner, and they walk away.

Ofglen rejoins my side and we start to retrace our steps, back to oppression, back to the life I have chosen. Yet now I have something else to remember; for one extra moment in time I saw all of Christie's soul directed at me and only me; for one extra moment in time I shared the life I left behind. I can't decide if it's a blessing or a curse.

The things we remember are the things we miss. The things we remember are the things we imagine.

It's hard to imagine now, having a life like that.

It's hard to imagine having a life.

The End

Return to Miscellaneous Fiction

Return to Main Page