A Romance
March 29 2001 at 2:17 PM

Let me tell you about my room. I say my room, and yet itís nothing of the sort. It actually belongs to a little old lady. The furniture too. Little in it at all I can say really belongs to me. A few books perhaps, a coat, a watch, scattered references from Singer de Brabant of Averrosí denial of individual immortality and other leaves of paper of not much importance. Or very little. Then none at all. And yet all vestiges of something or other, I forget what, of matters once doubtless important, I forget when.

But one day, when darkness once again was over the face of the deep, I took a discreet peek in at my dormant member and, cognition of its sight and nothing at all, reflected for several moments with satisfaction upon its decay.

In its heyday I remembered it well. And it was soothing to see that some things never change, even in obsolescence. Complete and utter atrophy, that had always been my wish for it. Just then I tried to rouse some life into the old fellow by jangling him about a bit. When all seemed lost, I had an inveterate tendency to dig in at my conjoins and yawl away. Come the razing of the world, there I would be still struggling in dust and ashes with furious face and maniacal eye to scatter my screaming semen over the earth. Where it all came from I donít know. What reserves! O, I know, I shouldnít be too hard on the old fellow, it had never failed me in the heat of the moment. Will I speak of love? Of her? Yes, it is time.

We had walked along the beach together, hand in hand. It was early spring, still cold. She had dark hair, a woman of the East. I donít know where we had met, some gutter no doubt. She spoke of the oneness of all things and of her sister who had died. I was only half listening. We mounted the dunes and went on in silence. Off to my side I heard her crying quietly, I hadnít even noticed. Perhaps she had been crying even before we mounted the dunes, I canít really say. Later we sat down, side by side, and looked out over the sea. Sea and sky, grey-on-grey, and nothing in between but a dull insistence of shining. And together we had little to say, staring out at the sea together, wippling far out with the wind, that I gradually fell to watching a strand of her hair lift and wave, revealing her ear, so that she turned to me and asked what it was I was looking at, and I said, Your hair, and she said, Oh, and we continued to look at each other a moment, having little to say, drawing nearer to each other, with little to say, when I was saying, You and me, you know, we, we, and she was saying, Yes, yes, because I could only stutter, we, we donít know, do we, when we kissed.

But this one I never did it with, I coundnít bring myself to it. Too brutal, in my mind. Besides, I hadnít read the books. In later life, if by such I may designate that fiasco, I simply preferred to give money, if I had it. If I didnít, something else, whatever of value I had on me at the time, chewing-gum, pens, papers, fruit, anything to atone for it as best I could.

And yet ultimately whether I did or didnít, probably didnít matter very much, not in the alleys. The rats were the only ones possibly disturbed, and even they very little, or not at all, scuttling over the tins, through the newspapers, as avidly as they ever had, while the two of us slapped away at it in their midst under the blue moon. And, as I say, it didnít matter, there are no names under the spirit of evil.

Only afterwards might I feel a worm of inwit, and only then because bending down to pull up my trousers from around my ankles. But I doubt whether that had anything to do with the main, for I blushed in doing this at the best of times, to wit, when alone. I finally consoled myself that the sentiment must have been prelapsarian, there being no other explanation for shame of an area one cannot see seen. But Iím beginning to get out of my depth here.


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