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The Unbearable Lightness of Being (part 4 chapter 17)

2006-08-22 20:21

  17

  He undid the first button on her blouse and indicated she was to continue. She did not comply. She had sent her body out into the world, and refused to take any responsibility for it. She neither resisted nor assisted him, her soul thereby announcing that it did not condone what was happening but had decided to remain neutral.

  She was nearly immobile while he undressed her. When he kissed her, her lips failed to react. But suddenly she felt her groin becoming moist, and she was afraid.

  The excitement she felt was all the greater because she was excited against her will. In other words, her soul did condone the proceedings, albeit covertly. But she also knew that if the feeling of excitement was to continue, her soul's approval would have to keep mute. The moment it said its yes aloud, the moment it tried to take an active part in the love scene, the excitement would subside. For what made the soul so excited was that the body was acting against its will; the body was betraying it, and the soul was looking on.

  Then he pulled off her panties and she was completely naked. When her soul saw her naked body in the arms of a stranger, it was so incredulous that it might as well have been watching the planet Mars at close range. In the light of the incredible, the soul for the first time saw the body as something other than banal; for the first time it looked on the body with fascination: all the body's matchless, inimitable, unique qualities had suddenly come to the fore. This was not the most ordinary of bodies (as the soul had regarded it until then); this was the most extraordinary body. The soul could not tear its eyes away from the body's birthmark, the round brown blemish above its hairy triangle. It looked upon that mark as its seal, a holy seal it had imprinted on the body, and now a stranger's penis was moving blasphemously close to it.

  Peering into the engineer's face, she realized that she would never allow her body, on which her soul had left its mark, to take pleasure in the embrace of someone she neither knew nor wished to know. She was filled with an intoxicating hatred. She collected a gob of saliva to spit in the stranger's face. He was observing her with as much eagerness as she him, and noting her rage, he quickened the pace of his movements on her body. Tereza could feel orgasm advancing from afar, and shouted No, no, no! to resist it, but resisted, constrained, deprived of an outlet, the ecstasy lingered all the longer in her body, flowing through her veins like a shot of morphine. She thrashed in his arms, swung her fists in the air, and spat in his face.

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