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The Unbearable Lightness of Being (part 5 chapter 11)

2006-08-22 20:49

  11

  The odd asymmetry of the woman who looked like a giraffe and a stork continued to excite his memory: the combination of the flirtatious and the gawky; the very real sexual desire offset by the ironic smile; the vulgar conventionality of the flat and the originality of its owner. What would she be like when they made love? Try as he might, he could not picture it. He thought of nothing else for several days.

  The next time he answered her summons, the wine and two glasses stood waiting on the table. And this time everything went like clockwork. Before long, they were standing face to face in the bedroom (where the sun was setting on the birches in the painting) and kissing. But when he gave her his standard Strip! command, she not only failed to comply but counter-commanded, No, you first!

  Unaccustomed to such a response, he was somewhat taken aback. She started to open his fly. After ordering Strip! several more times (with comic failure), he was forced to accept a compromise. According to the rules of the game she had set up during his last visit ( do as I do ), she took off his trousers, he took off her skirt, then she took off his shirt, he her blouse, until at last they stood there naked. He placed his hand on her moist genitals, then moved his fingers along to the anus, the spot he loved most in all women's bodies. Hers was unusually prominent, evoking the long digestive tract that ended there with a slight protrusion. Fingering her strong, healthy orb, that most splendid of rings called by doctors the sphincter, he suddenly felt her fingers on the corresponding part of his own anatomy. She was mimicking his moves with the precision of a mirror.

  Even though, as I have pointed out, he had known approximately two hundred women (plus the considerable lot that had accrued during his days as a window washer), he had yet to be faced with a woman who was taller than he was, squinted at him, and fingered his anus. To overcome his embarrassment, he forced her down on the bed.

  So precipitous was his move that he caught her off guard. As her towering frame fell on its back, he caught among the red blotches on her face the frightened expression of equilibrium lost. Now that he was standing over her, he grabbed her under the knees and lifted her slightly parted legs in the air, so that they suddenly looked like the raised arms of a soldier surrendering to a gun pointed at him.

  Clumsiness combined with ardor, ardor with clumsiness- they excited Tomas utterly. He made love to her for a very long time, constantly scanning her red-blotched face for that frightened expression of a woman whom someone has tripped and who is falling, the inimitable expression that moments earlier had conveyed excitement to his brain.

  Then he went to wash in the bathroom. She followed him in and gave him long-drawn-out explanations of where the soap was and where the sponge was and how to turn on the hot water. He was surprised that she went into such detail over such simple matters. At last he had to tell her that he understood everything perfectly, and motioned to her to leave him alone in the bathroom.

  Won't you let me stay and watch? she begged.

  At last he managed to get her out. As he washed and urinated into the washbasin (standard procedure among Czech doctors), he had the feeling she was running back and forth outside the bathroom, looking for a way to break in. When he turned off the water and the flat was suddenly silent, he felt he was being watched. He was nearly certain that there was a peephole somewhere in the bathroom door and that her beautiful eye was squinting through it.

  He went off in the best of moods, trying to fix her essence in his memory, to reduce that memory to a chemical formula capable of defining her uniqueness (her millionth part dissimilarity)。 The result was a formula consisting of three givens:

  1) clumsiness with ardor,

  2) the frightened face of one who has lost her equilibrium and is falling, and

  3) legs raised in the air like the arms of a soldier surrendering to a pointed gun.

  Going over them, he felt the joy of having acquired yet another piece of the world, of having taken his imaginary scalpel and snipped yet another strip off the infinite canvas of the universe.

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