By Guillermo Arbe
Copyright 2000 Guillermo Arbe
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I am on the plane home and drunk (after having indulged in a glass of champagne and two or three or four or more, of wine) and, since I am drunk, I thought it appropriate to write to you.
So, let me tell you about a dream I had. I remember it as something that happened to me long ago and oh, so far away.
In the dream I was walking through a garden, buried in my thoughts, becoming slowly solipsized under the spell of paradise (I know the "garden-paradise" theme is all too obvious, but bear with me, for, more than a theme, I felt it as a paradigm at the time).
Holy or not, the garden, a sanctuary of sorts, exuded a mixture of saintliness and sensuality that played on my senses (the lust and love of Eden, subtly suggested by the shadows and smells, shades and sounds, of the garden), transforming my serene thoughts into the unholiest of libido-dreams.
There I was, feeling saint and martyr, my hands deep in my holy pockets, when, suddenly, the frenzied bubble of my lonesome daydreaming was burst (an orgasmic shiver ran down my back) by a twig snapping under the feather-weight foot of a woman etched in black and white.
That's how I recall first seeing her.
She, no doubt noticing my confusion at this unexpected apparition intruding ever so sweetly and daintily on my solitudinal solace, addressed me in greeting, thereby rescuing me (a fool again) from my own embarrassment and lack of initiative. I blurted out some nonsense in response (much in the same fashion that my misguided pen, trying in its ineptitude to combine medieval chivalry and modern-day irony, ends up with neither, but scrawling an ode to anon it must be the wine that's talking!)
In any case, I found myself adopted. It took me a while before I realized as much, though, thrown off as I was by her Eastern European speech. We performed in terrible English, she due to it being her nth language, me in clumsy imitation of her, under the absurd notion that I had to talk like her for her to understand me. As befitted her Serbian upbringing, her speech was absolutely devoid of emotion. To my untrained ear, it actually sounded as if she were impersonating some movieland Count Dracula. Same accent, same pitch, same cadence (or lack thereof) and same sentiment (or lack thereof). My veritable Comtesse Draculina! With time she was to seduce me, disturbing my sleep, perforating my bloodline to extract my own natural acidic disposition and replace it with sweet, melancholic rapture.
(Don't take the vamp allegory badly my petite Comtesse, there is nothing more sensual and alluring than the surreal contrast of white-pale skin and night-black dress of a Vampiress.)
And you, reader, be not misled by her emotionless intonation. Feeling was there, beseeching me. How to describe it? Ah, but I have only words to use, and, as the poet would say:
If feeling is first,
whoever cares about the syntax of things
will never wholly kiss you,
wholly to be a fool while spring is in the air.
I was that fool again.
At night I went to sleep wanting so much for her to come to me. And so she did, only ever so fleetingly, teasing me with her ephemeral appearance. A dream herself, she interrupted my, rather explicit, dreams of her. Insinuating, she tempted me in all innocence (not all innocence my petite Temptress, I suspect you also would have wanted to stay). And, alas, in the time it takes a bat to flutter its wing, she was gone. Both my dreams had vanished!
The following day we talked and stayed together, walked and played and prayed together. The town courted us with its beauty and calm, mixing the sea and the sand and the sightings of spectres all dressed in French, dancing around us amidst the tender chords of piano sonatas (which played for us!). Alas, the day was much too short. At night she left.
And, as we said goodbye, she hugged me tightly and we endearingly fared our well, and I didn't want to say goodbye and I sensed the same in her.
Then, as I finally turned to walk away, I felt that I hadn't really felt her hug the way I would have wanted, messed up as I was in the midst of mist and mixed emotions. I turned back, "one last hug", I said. I wanted not to just hold her perfunctorily in my arms as I had, but to feel her, hold her body, consciously feel it press against mine. And so we hugged yet again, as her understanding car awaited patiently. Then she left. And I have always felt that I should have kissed her then. I know, as we said goodbye, that that's what I wanted to do.
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