Helga and Titus are both dominant Alpha personalities. They continually clash as each tries to control the other. Eventually they are breaking apart.



By Robert Davidson

‘I’ve decided to break off with Titus,’ Helga said.

‘You mean, finish up, break off for good?’ asked Louisa.

‘Yes,’ Helga replied. ‘The rotten sod kept me standing outside the door for an hour last night.’ He stood just inside the door, but wouldn’t let me in.’

‘I wouldn’t stand for that,’ her friend said.

Louise Webster had been married herself, but had given Ben the gate after she had caught him with one of the young female tennis players less than a year ago. This was not long after Helga had married Titus Rockbank.

‘It’s no go, I told him it was the end. When he finally let me in, all Titus could do was laugh. ‘He didn’t think I’d do it.’

‘A woman must always be herself, not some man’s instrument,’ Louise said, stirring her coffee.

They were sitting in the coffee lounge of the Athletic Club at Olympic Park. It was early Saturday afternoon.

‘I’d been feeling so ill all this week, I didn’t think I could go on with the training schedule,’ Helga said. ‘So my guilt has ripened into the deepest regret. Regret for a marriage that should never have been.’

‘Well, where are you going to live?’

‘I’m moving to a flat in Carlton,’ Helga replied, ‘The agent fixed it up. I can move in over the weekend.

Later that afternoon out on the oval, Helga Rockbank and five other women were in training for the 5000 metres, a track event of the Olympics.

‘Stamina rather than speed, endurance is important for long-distance running,’ trainer Joe Fogarty was insisting yet again. ‘I cannot stress too often the need to balance energy.’

Joe was admiring Helga’s physique as she set off around the track. She’s as fleet-footed as any Atalanta, he thought. Such a tall, finely-built girl with a splendid, tanned body and long, lovely strong legs. Her shoulders were straight, her movements easy and confident. Her long hair spun gold in the afternoon sun.

And yet Helga was often odd and absent in herself. Her eyes were keen and observant as she maintained a steady pace around the track, but her inner mind took no notice of what she saw. Her face had taken on the texture of stone. Her thoughts were focused on men, or rather on one man. What is it that makes a man so self-centred, so ruthless? she asked herself.

‘What is it that brings people together?’ Helga was asking Louisa as they showered together following the practice run. ‘People so frightfully unsuitable as Titus and me?’

‘I suppose it is sex,’ the other girl replied, towelling herself in the change room.

‘Sex - to connect us with men, is that all it is?’ Helga shot her friend a slanting glance.

‘Well, when you haven’t got it, you feel you must have it,’ Louisa said cynically. ‘No doubt it’s that old female desire to be enfolded, dominated, penetrated and overwhelmed - and,’ she added with a laugh, ‘finally lost.

Helga was champion hurdle jumper of the Athletic Club as well as the champion runner. She was always first. Trainer Joe Fogarty often spoke of the Olympics. A slim, long-legged girl with gleaming thighs. Like Nike Apteros Helga was all rapid motion in her training regimen. The tense lithe torso, the tilted breasts. She strained forward as she ran. And then she beat Titus’s time in the 5000 metres, and she a woman! It was her ability to accelerate in the last stretch. Titus didn’t like it at all finding it hard to contain his anger.

That evening she sat before the low dressing-table in their bedroom. She ran a comb through her hair. But her eyes stared past her reflection to her husband. All Titus seemed to do was to throw his power around her, she thought. Always he had an overwhelming desire to touch her, to lay his hands on her body. But he was an impatient and controlling lover, she reflected. Always, she felt he wanted to bring her down as his quarry. She recalled how at night he would strip off and stand straight and stiff and stark before her, ever seeking her admiration. His splendid muscular torso bare, the skin golden. The muscles showed in his back as he turned and strode solidly across the room.

At night she would spread her shapely legs as he lay deep upon her. But in couplings driven by anger and resentment she felt a burning indignation. ‘I need you now’ he was urgent with her. But the loving was brief and unsatisfactory. ‘Don’t move so much.’ He would complain. ‘All you have to do, woman, is submit.’ By putting his will over her in possessing her, Titus felt an enlargement of himself.

But Helga was afraid of letting herself go. Always she kept something back, never giving herself fully. There was a hard opposing core in her. I do not belong to any man - I belong to myself, she told herself. And yet she had wanted so much to be let loose in love.

There were uneasy ripples on the Narcissus pool. Titus saw himself as the masterful one and resented having to have Helga’s consent to master her. That deadly opposition of her will to his. It was enough to reduce him to impotence. Always she wants to be the one on top, he thought. There’s malice in every woman when she can’t get what she wants. Anger burned in his eyes. He was wondering what he could do to break her

‘You want your own way all the time,’ she would complain.

She felt his gaze upon her. Eyes which seemed to disfigure her. ‘At the bottom of your heart you just blindly and persistently oppose me, oppose me for the sake of it,’ he said. ‘And you enjoy it. You’re not really there for me.’

‘You don’t like it because I beat your time in the 5000,’ she replied.

He felt his spine stiffen. ‘Get the dust out of your eyes,’ he snapped. ‘It was a fluke. A once only.’

‘Well, I only have to do it once in the Games.’

Goaded by her words he swore under his breath.

She tried to laugh him out of it. But he flew into a red rage.

Helga knew that Titus had needed her to prop up his sagging ego. He has failed himself as a long-distance runner, she thought and was taking it out on her.

‘I feel as if I could do something desperate,’ she said following their third quarrel that night..

‘Very well - do it, and have done,’ was his only reply.

But then Helga went wrong a few days later trying to outdo her husband. Helga taught Phys ed at a local secondary school, and after a tiring sports day, she attended a weight-lifting class for women at the Community Centre. And it was here that she overdid her own training. After a time on the parallel bars she turned to the weights, lifting a too heavy weight far too quickly.

Such a stabbing pain. She had pulled a hamstring, tearing the fibre badly. Now she was on crutches, her left knee tightly strapped in an elasticized bandage. At first she thought that with prompt physiotherapy she would still be able to make the Olympic team. But then the doctor told her there had been a jolt to her spine, a stiffening of the shoulder. She was in constant pain. She would need at least six months rest. Her world collapsed. She had so wanted to go to Beijing. Titus was not altogether displeased, witnessing her inner death with a smile.

‘This might bring you down to earth a bit, girl,’ he said. ‘I’m going out to the pub.’

Her eyes avoided his. She lowered her red-rimmed lids.

And now she was alone her pent-up feelings poured forth in a sudden explosion of emotion. She felt like she was breaking in two. You’ve made me die inside, she thought. To make a mock of me at a time like this. You’re so totally wrapped up in yourself, Titus. You don’t know that anybody exists, except yourself. Why this man has no use for me, she told herself. He’s not there for me at all. She felt herself solidifying into stone. What this man is capable of! Our passion is now dead ashes. Titus is such a hard rock to crack. All I’ve ever done is make him feel a big, strong boy, she thought ruefully. He’s loved me, loving him. And now, looking at the whole long torture of our marriage that has not lasted the full span of one year, she felt herself left with little more than a spanked-child feeling.

That night when Titus returned he tried hard to dissuade Helga from leaving. But he was like a spent runner whose last spurt has burned up the last of his strength.

‘I don’t see an easy way, you’re hurting me bad, Titus. It’s all take and just no give with you.’ She again told him she thought it was time to break up. I have to stand alone, she thought. ‘You’ve bruised me, humiliated me by your bullying. You’ve struck me across the face more than once. That’s enough grounds for divorce.’

‘Come off it.’ His voice cut like a whip. ‘You can’t prove that.’

‘You never wanted me as an independent soul. You only wanted a mirror.’ But Titus maintained a wall she could not break. There was no way she could get through to him.

The following afternoon Louise Webster called around to Helga’s unit to help her friend load two suitcases and a sleeping-bag into an awaiting taxi. Helga was still on crutches. At the taxi headed towards Helga’s new flat in Carlton, Louise said, ‘Anyway I’ve got a cousin coming over from New Zealand tomorrow. Perhaps I can arrange a date for you on Saturday night, now that you’re free.’ Tom’s a real spunky, muscular guy. A great discus thrower!’

‘If you don’t mind, Louise, I want to be on my own for the next couple of months,’ Helga replied. ‘I’ve had quite enough of muscle men. Maybe I’ll find myself seeking an older gentler man one day,’ she smiled as she spoke - someone more tolerant, less demanding, who’s able to give affection as well as passion.’

Helga now felt herself rising like a phoenix out of a white fire. She took out the key of her new flat, opened the door, turned to Louise and laughed as they made their way inside, and then said ruefully,

‘I bleed but I recover.’


© 2007 ROBERT DAVIDSON, All rights reserved



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Added on January 8, 2009
Last Updated on March 15, 2019
Tags: Marriage, dominance, control, selfishness