20 Aug
47094: 20 Virtues of Astonishment

She might lay sometimes with her eyes closed and listen out for a difficult word that he might try catch on the end of a crotchet hook. Her hands might take the sheets and grip them as if trying to squeeze out something in a relationship of words she’d heard before in Bach. Moments of utterly tripe talk would have remained just that had she not heard metaphysical proof in the sound. Some conversations cannot rise above the banal selling line of a hosiery wholesaler. She estimated the grief of everyone by how chaotic or not all over they were. She never understood why anyone would own a car in the city. Only a lunatic would. Yet her bike had been stolen twice. And habits of the road were regressing, and increasingly dangerous when they intersected with other means of transportation but she was debonaire on the roads. From the colour of her leggings to the fit of her shirts, she had a kind of opulence and seductive strength that towered around her inevitability, and all this went with her solid eating, excitement of dancing and Magus-like engagements. She saw herself as an intimate bridge, and had no goals in any of the usual ways of thinking. It’s why she was able to smile so freely and with an abundance of generosity.

In sexual ecstasy she experienced a peculiar prophetic horror before the mute eloquent mass of the other’s body. Each was like a stone that had rolled down a mountain, lay in her valley, torn loose from itself and been in turn loosened by her thinking hand and reverence. Every desire thirsts after another existence. Her own revelled in a dynamic whose potential was hidden within itself, as if begging admittance in order to gain entrance to something still inside. Her nights and mornings were always close to tears. 

The young men took advantage of a kind of hospitality they refused to see for what it was. She was conquering time by hypnotising space. She saw more in this than their pure organisms. Her refinement was of secret but genuine complexity. She reclaimed in her life the triumph of her physiognomy, its Dionysian orgy. She defined the specific gravity of herself in this way. She lacked hesitation. If she had knowledge of her own worth it was a kind of devout dignity. Her ability was to pass through the labyrinth of the open-work culture that surrounded her. She approached this as an abstract being, refusing to wear personal existence beyond the usual morning glories. This, if you like, was her heroism. 

Her intimacies were united in a way alien to anything fraternal. She wasn’t about equality, nor competition. Hers was just a complicity with conspirators against emptiness and non-existence, and with the existence of things not the things themselves. Here narrow spaces between bodies and instalments of cast-off clothes were like episodes of metaphysical delinquency, brave and lush and rarely missing the mark, running to a fortune that was always rarer between than in any other way.

‘You didn’t strike me as the kind of girl who would do that,’ said the young guy smoking his spliff as if a feudal claim was emerging. Such a line brought on the usual congestion. She would at such times want him to stop talking. She herself would be hungry.

‘My capacity to astonish is always my greatest virtue. My logic is always that of the unexpected. Your expectations, it has to be said, are really too low.’

He sensed her shifting gloom. He sat patiently but his legs trembled a little. He drank wilfully, as if trying to show off something that was hidden in him. He drank the wine as if tea. He urged himself on with a kind of fist in his eye. There was a manic insomnia in his grey eyes that moved back and forth, abused by bloodshot fronds more dark than pale. It wasn’t exactly as if somehow he was being made to pay the wrong price, but there seemed to be a plunge, a lag where he was somehow missing the mark, and stumbling with his arithmetic so to speak. What he might have ended up doing was dying a little inside, crying from the roof of his mouth pointing down to his exposed face, neck, ears, bloodied heart where everything seemed to be finishing backwards and quicker than imagined, and she no longer as huggable, bosom-pressed and dolly. It was banged up to such an horizon that he could hardly bear to even wince. He might have tried the usual smell of her shoulder, the lift of the breast, but there wasn’t the same intimacy there, as if someone had turned off the headlamps and all was a simple obstruction of sympathy. Fondling would have been a misunderstanding and bend everything back vigilante style, snuff like and frankly ridiculous.

‘I prefer it if there are difficulties where I must exert all my energies to keep the performance hot zip. You accept too much on faith alone…’ she added.


Read 47094 from the beginning here.

Read the complete novel  'The Ecstatic Silence' here.