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Sunday, April 17, 2011

desire lines are retraceable.




this part is inspired by a few things. this post, that is. one is red wine, which I am drinking now; this will become quite obvious. others: real conversations with real people. everyone who shares their honest thoughts with me is inspiration. 




1999. 



"Alethea and Her Cousin"



On a warm spring day eight years ago…almost…the sixteen-year-old virgin Alethea enters the bedroom of her cousin.

Alethea is a Catholic and a devout one at that. She attends mass twice weekly and remains vulnerable to the anachronistic orthodoxies of the institution.

"The church updates itself every four-hundred years or so to only be only a hundred years or so behind the present," Alethea's cousin tells her.

Alethea is also vulnerable to her cousin. He is a year older than her and obviously not Catholic.  Alethea is often startled at the accidental profundity of his thoughts and injures herself at night in maniacal attempts to persuade her hands away from her clitoris. Their bedrooms face each other from across the street. Currently his is dark. Currently Alethea's hands are burnt-up with the remedying effects of boiling water.

"What is this?" Alethea asks herself, holding her raw and shaking hands up to the mirror. 

Of all his parts, Alethea likes her cousin's eyes the most. They are the same blue as the Virgin's shroud. Alethea's eyes are brown like shit so she refuses to meet his gaze, fearful a prolonged connection will soil her immaculate soul. 

"Whose soul?" he cousin asks. "Why do you never look me in the eye, Alethea?"

"I don't know."

"It's me. You know me. It won't hurt you to look at me."

Alethea repeats Matthew 5:28 to herself as she lifts her gaze to meet his. The verse goes something like, "you might as well give up trying, because even just thinking about something bad is enough to damn you." The verse's resonance corresponds inversely to the ever-intensifying blueness of her cousin's eyes. The longer Alethea stares the bluer they get. 

"Oh!" Alethea says laughing. "This is easy!"

Her cousin sighs deeply and shakes his head. He puts his hand behind her head to feel her scalp. He pulls a few of her hairs. Out. "Come back to my house Alethea," he says.

She takes his hand, worn unevenly from the constant plucking of guitar strings, she takes it and finds it fits very evenly into hers, hers still burned from the night before. 

Alethea discovers that sex is like the cigarettes she smokes, the poetry she reads. She never knew she needed it until she had it, and now she cannot exist long without it.

Her cousin requests she takes off her shirt but she removes her panties. He puts his hand on top of her skin and she puts it under. He offers her a kiss; she multiples them, over and over, everywhere. She becomes positively helpless when he compliments her breasts and she hears the Holy Mother screaming in agonizing bliss when he discovers her clitoris. 

"I've never done this before," they say to each other, not knowing exactly what they mean.

* * *

Lena pauses in drafting her story, suddenly unhappy with how happy these teenagers are in this small and, in the whole grand narrative of things, relatively meaningless encounter. She arises from her desk and pours herself a glass of red wine. 

Lena is alone in her house, spare a cat, spare the aquarium of fish it taunts every dawn and dusk. 

"I am so devastatingly lonely," Lena says to herself. She calls her friend Jane only to repeat the sentence. "I'm so devastatingly lonely..." Lena catches a fish from the aquarium and tosses it to her eager tabby. The cat pins the fish between the rug and its paw, waiting for its struggle to subside. Before the fish dies, Lena shoos the cat away and returns the fish the aquarium. It is still alive.

"Come over," Lena says to Jane, who has been telling Lena all about something forgettable for the past several minutes.

"Lena, no."

"It will be quick. You can just lay there. You won't even have to move."

"No, Lena."

"Why not?"

"...I'm not like that."

Lena grips the telephone very tightly, and holds it very thoughtfully, before flinging it across the room. "Neither am I you bitch," she screams. The telephone hits a print of Madame Butterfly Lena has framed and shatters its protective glass. Lena rushes to pour another glass of wine. She pours the next glass of wine on her manuscript.

"Are you happier now, Alethea, you hedonistic bitch."

And Lena, frenzied with envy over a piece of her imagination, grabs the now-red notebook and crams it into her purse. She leaves her house and begins walking towards a tower. A bell tower.

"I'll exorcize you Alethea. You're going to change. You can't have all the fun now. I won't have to live vicariously through you, for your life will become dull and mine so very interesting. I'll have Jane. I'll have my cousin. I'll have my father, real Electra-style. And when I'm not with someone forbidden I'll throw myself on the various inanimate phallic objects that reside in my house. I'll have a fucking banana. Then have a drunken baby with the better end of a wine bottle. You'll be nothing, Alethea, just a child crossing the threshold of a single taboo, a single taboo to my dozens upon dozens."

"You'll be nothing," Lena lies to herself, applying lipstick, readjusting her stockings, putting on a face to face herself less fearfully. 

The gates to the church are locked, however, and Lena is forced to delay her exorcism for twelve horrible fucking hours.

2 footnotes:

Pat M said...

Good voice. Too occupied with big words though, use words to communicate first, otherwise you just end up communicating that you like to use big words.

button said...

thanks Pat M, very good advice. Sometimes (especially during the end of a semester) it is hard to for me switch between creative freedom and academic expectation. someday...