ADRIENNE'S HIV BLOG – Hivine's Weblog

HIVINE is written by HIV positive women but still with a sense of humour

Adrienne Seed – The Spider and the Fly – Chapter 1

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Snowflakes and Spiders


nce I’ve told you this story, things will never be the same, because that’s what stories can do. Stories can change the way we think and feel about things and everyone’s story is different, like fingerprints, like DNA, like snowflakes.

Like a spiralling snowflake, my mind circles back to a moment frozen in time, somewhere in the deep-freeze compartment of my memory.  I am once again with Brian, under his roof, under his spell, under his control, as I always was and now, because of what has happened to me, still am.

Underneath the ancient eves of his spooky old house, there is not a sound to be heard. This mausoleum of broken marriages is home only to the surreal works of art and suspended silences – and to me sometimes, when he wants me, when he summons me.

It is so deathly quiet, sitting crouched on the long, white sofa, I can hear the sound of my own breathing. Even though the marble floor is heated from beneath, my feet are as cold as ice and I can feel my sighs warming the skin on my bare arms.

It is the middle of the night, but I am wide awake, sitting here in this long, glass sunroom, shivering in my flimsy Harrods nightdress and feeling exposed, even though there are no lights on and it’s dark outside.  I clutch a silk cushion to me for warmth, thinking to myself that I must remember to plump it up afterwards. Brian gets very upset if his cushions aren’t plumped to perfection. Brian’s cushions are not allowed to slouch, have dents, or stray out of their neat, orderly line. And neither am I!

The sky is heavy with cloud and it’s snowing out there, even though the daffodils are already in bloom, clustering around the dark silhouettes of the tall trees that Brian planted as young saps many years ago; circling their now mighty trunks in rings of glorious profusion – a veritable host, just for us.

There must be a wind blowing out there because the snowflakes are swirling around in icy spirals and I feel as if I am sitting in one of those glass domes you can shake to make an artificial snowstorm. Not that Brian would allow anything as camp or as tacky as a snow dome in this show house; this museum of works of art and priceless treasures; and me, of course, his very own artist in residence.

I suddenly feel trapped, claustrophobic, closed in; covered over by his glass dome – like a china doll, a stuffed animal. I want to break out, shatter the panes of ice-encrusted glass; let the snowflakes swirl in and fill the room to settle gently on my hair forming a halo of frozen stars that will slowly melt, then drip from my eyelashes like icy tears. I want to run outside and dance in the snow. Twirl around and around within the hypnotic spirals of snowflakes with my arms outstretched like a whirling dervish, until my mind goes completely blank. Become an ice maiden with a frozen heart and jagged icicle curls, the folds of my nightdress carved in ice around my body like white marble, a glittering statue to stand alongside the others in his garden, the ones that watch over us by day and by night with their cold, dead eyes.

Brian is fast asleep, far away upstairs in the pitch-black bedroom with the heavy drapes shut tight and his eyes covered by a silk mask. He can’t sleep if there is even the slightest chink of light and I can’t sleep without one. Light versus dark, love versus hate, closed windows versus open. But apart from that, the two of us are happy enough in our chosen isolation. Sometimes, we are more than happy and then our fiery love can ignite sparks of pure joy that fill our snow dome and cascade around us, covering us both from head to toe with silver strands of ecstasy. But other times, Brian gets angry with me and shakes the glass dome hard, until I am totally obscured by the cold flakes of his disapproval – like tonight for example. For some reason, I caused a tumultuous snowstorm, an avalanche of anger, a blitz of his scathing disapproval, and I’m not really sure why.

Did the ex-wives ever feel trapped like this I wonder? I suppose they must have done. The three wives sat in this same sunroom, in this glass bubble. The three wives slept in our big bed in the pitch-black room and that’s why I can’t sleep. I feel like I’m being swallowed up, sinking into the hollow that the wives have made over the years. I can almost feel their presence. Like restless ghosts they lie next to me, tossing with discontent.

It’s not the first time I’ve sat here in this long, glass room in this big old house, waiting for the dark night to end and Brian’s dagger-like icicles of anger to dissipate and melt with the morning light. And yet here I am once again, encapsulated in his glass bubble, shivering and flapping my arms like a weak, white moth. 

All I need now is a pin.


  Loraine wrote @

There is some really good material here, what facinating stories. What a trip down memory lane; it took me right back to your childhood. Your eye for detail bringing everything to life even though you are dealing with your own death sentence. I would have loved to have met your granddad, what a powerful angel to haveon your side. I shall read a chapter a day.

  eileen cooper wrote @

books have to grip me from the first page! to encourage further reading.I have had many starts to many books resulting in many unfinished, but this one has certainly inspired me to read on.Congratulations to Adrienne for whetting my appetite

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