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The Unbearable Lightness of Being (part 2 chapter 12)

2006-08-22 19:24

  12

  Impelled by the birds of fortuity fluttering down on her shoulders, she took a week's leave and, without a word to her mother, boarded the train to Prague. During the journey, she made frequent trips to the toilet to look in the mirror and beg her soul not to abandon the deck of her body for a moment on this most crucial day of her life. Scrutinizing herself on one such trip, she had a sudden scare: she felt a scratch in her throat. Could she be coming down with something on this most crucial day of her life?

  But there was no turning back. So she phoned him from the station, and the moment he opened the door, her stomach started rumbling terribly. She was mortified. She felt as though she were carrying her mother in her stomach and her mother had guffawed to spoil her meeting with Tomas.

  For the first few seconds, she was afraid he would throw her out because of the crude noises she was making, but then he put his arms around her. She was grateful to him for ignoring her rumbles, and kissed him passionately, her eyes misting. Before the first minute was up, they were making love. She screamed while making love. She had a fever by then. She had come down with the flu. The nozzle of the hose supplying oxygen to the lungs was stuffed and red.

  When she traveled to Prague a second time, it was with a heavy suitcase. She had packed all her things, determined never again to return to the small town. He had invited her to come to his place the following evening. That night, she had slept in a cheap hotel. In the morning, she carried her heavy suitcase to the station, left it there, and roamed the streets of Prague the whole day with Anna Karenina under her arm. Not even after she rang the doorbell and he opened the door would she part with it. It was like a ticket into Tomas's world. She realized that she had nothing but that miserable ticket, and the thought brought her nearly to tears. To keep from crying, she talked too much and too loudly, and she laughed. And again he took her in his arms almost at once and they made love. She had entered a mist in which nothing could be seen and only her scream could be heard.

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