The Promised Land, At Last...part 2

In a restaurant, luckily, there’s always movement. And noise. Always something to look at, so the silence won’t be too thick, too cumbersome, too hard to bear. He didn’t want it to go the moment when she would ask did you have a safe trip, so you had a good trip, or something like that, he felt that if it reached that point he might already have lost her. He would fall into the boring category. One of the reasons they had kept corresponding on Life Cycle was precisely the fact that there no boredom had even slipped into the heady mix of their virtual adventures. He had discovered a budding academic who had shared her life equally between men and women. She had gradually learnt to know in him someone who could be sometimes domineering and forceful, sometimes romantic and tender. Before coming he had cleared some of the masks he had had to assume on LC: no, he was no Leo, he was a Pisces, and like all Pisces he moved back and forth between the highest enthusiasm and the deepest despair. He firmly knew – it was more than a belief – that we live in one dimension but are surrounded by parallel dimensions that sometimes intersect with us, often without warning and for very brief periods of time. And he loved to write most of all, but he also loved sex and had long ago decided that great metaphysical questions his father was so fond of – why are we here? Is there a god? – were meaningless for him.
OK, he thought, try to find something that’s neither trite nor bombastic. You’re here to get into her panties and she expects you to do that but there is a whole ritual to go through first. She’s a woman. She’s an intellectual. Maybe even more than you are. Maybe you should talk about Lacan and the purloined letter or about second generation trauma in children of Holocaust survivors, but would that really thrill her? Maybe Marie Bonaparte and her clitoral obsession, after all that would bring you closer to the Promised Land…Maybe you should stick to what’s on the menu, no danger there, but of course that’s really trite. You’d feel like a father who got his daughter out for dinner. She’d put you in a neat box in the hopelessly boring category. You might not even get a *******. That would be sad, he thought. She claims to be very good and with Myriam it’s been centuries since you got a *******. Actually Myriam never blew you. You would think she’s unable to if she had not received that email from her black lover, the politician, complimenting her on her abilities with her mouth. That’s why you may have cheated on her with Carmen, the French horn player. Carmen had an incredibly sensuous mouth and she swallowed with glee, like a cat lapping milk. But why the hell was he thinking about Carmen now? He had all the opportunities in the world to go to Alabama with Carmen and her pet Lhasa Apso, Bama, and he had decided not to. He may have had some regrets, but this woman was neither Myriam nor Carmen, and he was here to know her better. So he had another few seconds only to find something to say. Talk about travel maybe. Travels may trigger some signal in her – with two kids and a limited budget she may not have that many opportunities to travel. Even though you don’t know what her wife is doing. Funny to think this woman has a wife. He thought about Scott, the representative, and his French-Canadian husband. He felt like a dinosaur from a time when you didn’t even mention the idea that someone was homosexual. But that was irrelevant. OK, let’s talk about Egypt, he thought. On the other hand, it may look like I’m bragging, saying I’ve been to all those places. What the hell should I talk about? For a second he wanted to say that what brought him here before anything else was her amazing ***. She was built like paradise itself. Her *** looked like the Promised Land. Between her legs it was Kingdom Come. But if he said so now he would look like he treated her like a piece of ***, make her feel whorish and he wouldn’t even get to first base.
So he smiled. He had learnt with Carmen never to say «hum..hum» with an American girl, because that small expression carried a very different meaning in American English than the simple expression of doubt that it had for French Canadians. So she might ask humhum what? and it would become even worse. OK, ten seconds left to break the silence. He had to do it: she was looking forward to meet not a wimp, but a decisive, dominant male. Talking about clothes was out. About the weather was out. He stuck to travel. He had chosen Indian Summer to come and meet her because Indian Summer was always nice and warm, and he wanted this to be nice and warm and fuzzy and gooey and just plain wonderful, whatever it led to, and even if it didn’t lead to anything, and just remained there forever, like a big bright memory in the middle of a sea of pleasant but boring emotional tedium.
You know…he said…always involve the other…she looked up from her beer…No mustache, he tought. Good. Nothing worse than a 40-year old with a mustache. Like the girl on the posters in the last Quebec election. But she had mentioned she was blonde, originally, Blondes have at worst a very light layer of down on the upper lip. ..you know, for a second, with the heat and your dress and the fact I’m far from home, I was under the impression we were in Egypt…He smiled. He could have beamed. He had done it. Now they could talk. He was sure that the very idea of travelling to Egypt, probably with him, had been enough to send a little shiver from the nape of her neck to the root of her ****. Always remember, said Myriam, that a woman is a hole first of all. He always corrected: two holes, not just one. But Myriam, who wasn’t good at oral sex, was only mildly enthusiastic about backdoor sex. In bed, Myriam was the most classical of women. Vanilla ice cream through and through. Or maybe she was like that with him. Maybe he should have left Myriam years ago, but he didn’t want to because of the kids, and he was glad he hadn’t done it when he saw how the kids, each in their own way, were faring. Maybe, he thought, people want too much out of a couple. There’s no perfection. But maybe this girl will be more sensuous and more tender. If only for a few days.
She grasped the board that had saved their conversation from drowning thanks to the Nile river. When have you been there? She asked. Oh, he answered, this was before the regime of Hosny Moubarak collapsed. I was quite lucky, I had a room in a large hotel in central Cairo from which I saw the feluccas on the Nile and I was invited to the Cairo Opera House, or Ballet House, I don’t remember. Any way it was so strange, it was an Arts place but it was under the supervision of the Department of Defense. Imagine the Rockettes being administered by the Pentagon… In the streets of Cairo there was an armed policeman every fifty feet. Even to get into the Egyptian Museum on Tahrir Square you had to show your passport and go through scanners and metal detectors. You felt like you were…back in the USSR!
She laughed. A good, hearty, honest laugh. Everything he saw confirmed what he had thought on the web: she was a honest, hard-working, intelligent woman, who was hoping to have an academic position some day and was deeply attached to the two children that had been inserted inside her by a lab syringe rather than by a warm ****. What a waste, he thought. Especially since she likes men.
All children should be bred by an ******…he said
Excuse me?
Oh, nothing, he said. She looked a little outraged.
Saying this because of me, are you? You know I got pregnant in vitro, do you? Makes you unhappy? It’s none of your business, anyway.
She clammed up. Literally. Shut up like a clam.
She’s wondering if she’ll leave or if she’ll stay, he thought. Time to put things right. She’s blocked some time off to be with you, she’s unsure what to do if she goes.
Sorry, nothing to do with you, he said. How much can you lie to a woman? Not much. But you can try. They have curious antennae that smell lies miles away. But they may let it pass.
She looked at him. She had light eyes, that turned kind of steely when she was mad. And she was mad, obviously. Even though he may have touched a raw nerve, but that’s the last thing to mention right now.
Oh yes? So what did it have to do with?
It was just a poem of mine, that came to my mind, he said. A poem on childhood. It meant that children have to be born in the convulsive beauty of love. Regardlessof the technique by which they are actually bred…
She gazed. Steely eyes. Not the kind of look to induce a hard-on in any male of any species.
So, he added, I’m sorry, it really had to do with something in my head…
The poem, she said, still looking at him.
The poem?
Yes, the poem. Is this the only line you know, or do you know more? If you’ve written it, you should know more. Otherwise you’re lying. And I don’t play those kinds of games. Enough liars in my life.
Oh my god. He didn’t really know any of his poems by rote, just like that, off the cuff. He read them from books, from manuscripts, but he had never had the kind of memory that would have enabled him to become an actor, for instance. The poem…
I only know one stanza, he replied, lamely. Defeat loomed large on the restaurant horizon.
Do you have the book upstairs?
Yes, he said. I brought it because I wanted to give it to you. But this poem is not in it. Too recent.
It was getting worse and worse. He felt like the kid who’s been found searching through Mom’s purse and is claiming that he was actually rescuing the purse from the cat, or thought there was a mouse inside. Why did women manipulate men like this? She knew he was lying. He knew he was lying. And yet she obviously wanted to rub his nose in it, make him feel she could be in power too, that whatever he might do to her body later, she could do tenfold, and she wouldn’t even need to be naked to do so.
So, she said, now perfectly in control, let’s hear this stanza, Mister…
Eyes of children
Famished eyes
In skeleton faces
Eyes of children
Bloodshot
Exhausted by wars
Drenched in blood
Eyes of children
On Roman Vishniac’s photographs
Holocaust kids
How unnatural that children should die
All children bred from an ******
He paused. That’s all I know like that. Actually that was all he had ever written, since he had just improvised the poem. But he was a good improviser. He had taken part in so many of those. Direct poetry, they called it. You went up to the mike and you told poems. Never the most elaborate, sometimes quite stunning, though.
She relented a little. Eyes a little less grey. Body a little less tense. More of the girl, less of the mountain lioness.
Time to put in the banderillas, he thought. Suddenly it dawned on him that, thanks to that brief instant of doubt, he had the upper hand again. She wouldn’t leave. He now had to show that he could dominate, without being cruel, without being sadistic. Just himself. He had the chorus from Carmen in his mind, all of a sudden. The one about the Toreador.
Toreador, on guard! Toreador, Toreador!
And think, yes, think as you fight,
That a dark eye is watching you,
And that love awaits you,
Toreador, love, love awaits you!...
He laughed.
What’s funny? She asked
He bent towards her, over the table.
I’d like to spank you, he said. Right now. Right here. Pull your panties down and spank you…
Her cheeks turned rosy. She might have replied but the girl from the restaurant just dropped two glasses of water in front of them, and asked if they were ready or needed a few more minutes.
They chose a few more minutes.
Sekhmet96 Sekhmet96
61-65, M
Sep 7, 2012