“Get that ice or else no dice,” Tanya sings in a sweet soprano voice. She looks up at the portrait of her guardian angel, Marilyn Monroe. Photograph by Bruno Bernard. (Archival pigment print, 30 x 40 inch, $3,700, bought online.)
“You were born too soon,” Tanya flashes her large rock (two karats set in platinum, $10,000, Argosy Manufacturing Jewellers) at the portrait yet again. “If you were a twenty-first century woman like me, you would’ve bought your own stone.”
“And you would’ve chosen your own husband, when you were good and ready.” Tanya uses the hem of her linen sundress (Eileen Fisher colour-block, $315, Nordstrom) to wipe a fleck of dust from the champagne flute (Waterford crystal, $99 each, Bloomingdales) at Neil’s place at the table.
Tonight is a special dinner celebrating the forth anniversary of when they met. Neil promised her a special present. Even as she straightens a steak knife (Wüsthof classic $75, Williams-Sonoma) at his place, she contemplates the text he sent from the parking lot: “Just say yes.”
She smiles up at Marilyn. “He’s the one, isn’t he?”
Marilyn’s image shimmers for a minute and Tanya nods. Yes, brainac Neil is the one. After the first time Tanya brought him home, Marilyn’s portrait glowed approval for days. Dr. Yates mightn’t earn as much as Tanya but he’s loyal, super fit, and a tenured professor.
After all this time, he is going to propose. She’s been hinting for the past few months that this is what she wants. So far she’s pulled the train in their relationship but now it’s his turn to take control.
Tanya fluffs her dyed blonde hair and perches on the side of a dining chair (Billy Haines, circa 1950’s, $2,500, Best Choice Antiques). When Neil blows in he pauses for a moment, as always, and looks from her to Marilyn and back again, as if he can’t tell which is which. Tanya loves this game.
In one hand he carries a bottle of champagne. Her smile broadens (Dom Perignon, 1955, $1,100, Vintage Cellars). In the other he brandishes an envelope.
“Happy anniversary,” Tanya says in a throaty, practised whisper.
“Happy anniversary.” Neil kisses her on the neck so he won’t smear her lipstick (Serge Luten, Mise a Mott, $75, the Beauty Spot). When they step apart, he slides the envelope into her hand.
She tears it open to find a card with a picture of Marilyn on the front. The legend looks unusually buxom as if someone has photoshopped her image. A thin slip of paper slides into Tanya’s hands. On the wall Marilyn’s portrait clouds over.
"This certificate entitles Tanya Monroe to a surgical breast augmentation to the value of $10,000."
© Maggie Bolitho
Photo from Wikimedia Commons: Barris Marilyn Monroe by George Barris