Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Chapter 12: looking back

A moment of collective silence for our friends across the pond in London....

June 11

“Have you ever wanted to sleep with another woman?”

Like I said before, S. relished catching me off-guard with provocative, impertinent questions. In that way, he reminded me of Inspector Clouseau in the “Pink Panther” movies and his man servant, Cato, who's always setting elaborate traps in those movies to test his boss’s skill at avoiding danger (he fails to great comic effect). We were sitting at the kitchen table when he asked me as I slogged away at the Selectric. My head was turning to a bad grade of mush after typing, compounded by round after round of joking back-and-forth, both exhilarating and exhausting my feeble brain:

— Let me ask you this: if you could only love one person in your life, only find True Love in one instance, and the moment for choosing that person lasted no more than a single day—or even less— do you think you could recognize that moment as your one opportunity for happiness? Would you realize “this is the one”?

— I’ll do you one better: suppose that One True Love was impeded in some major fashion, what then?

— Meaning?

— Why is it we assume love will come to us all neatly-wrapped up like a present? What if our Great Love, la grande passion as our Frog friends would say, was tied up in some manner?

— Tied up S&M-style tied up? Oooh, tell me more.

— No, tied up in a prior relationship: engaged— or even married.

— Likely only a loser would be totally free. Anyone worth having is already involved with another.

— Exactly, we have to compete for the object of our affections.

— What do you think romance is, a form of sexual Olympics?

— Why not? Simone de Beauvoir has turned sex into politics. Men and women are now fighting for power in the bedroom.

— They always were. It’s just that she identified the game. Beauvoir sketched out the parameters women have always felt and intuited, clarifying what once was only implied.

— Yes, and the superpowers have made the Olympics political, look at the East Germans.

— We have our Germans and the Soviets have their Germans.

— The Soviet Union is a fiction. They’re Russians, the same as East Germans and West Germans are still, underneath it all, Germans.

— Stop changing the subject!

— If you have any doubts, ask yourself why is it the East German Army still goose-steps?
I stopped typing so we could walk to the Orange Market to get some decaf coffee (real coffee and the usual amount of flirtatious banter would keep me up all night, there are limits). He’d probably been waiting for the right time to spring the question on me.

It unleashed a memory I hadn’t disturbed in almost eight years, and I didn’t answer just then. We were walking along Clark Street when he asked again (as I knew he would, S. never lets a provocative question go unanswered).

“Have you ever wanted to sleep with another woman?”

(to be continued)

My heartfelt thanks to the Demon Queen for previewing this excerpt. Talk about the embodiment of the earth mother!