Not two minutes after slipping out of my lover’s peerlessly hospitable vagina, my traitorous NON-SEX thoughts plunged me into a recurring, ultra-violent daydream.
So with her magnificently rounded body tucked against my body and her damp arms tangled in my damp arms on a balmy Saturday afternoon with fuck-all to do and the time to do it with, I played out this ultra violence (I had no choice), shivered, then tried my damnedest to remember where my penis had just been.
In order best to do this and not fall prey to the pitiless, mutually unexclusive ecstasies of copulating and killing, I needed a little more than the usual post-coital peace and quiet—needed it like a clown needs the horror—those delicious moments when two satisfied and naked beings don’t become one, but less than one, zero, thoughtless.
Thoughtlessness is the point.
My pregnant lover, however, had other points. While running a ripe finger up and down my equally ripe ribcage, she whispered:
“What are you thinking?”
That baleful, impossible to answer question!
Yet, in intrepid quest of THE gapingly open and brutally truthful relationship, I had tried to answer it.
Tried and failed. Miserably. Continuously.
Continuous miserable failure tarred and feathered with acute mental anguish, confidence-smashing embarrassment, and hope-crushing humiliation.
Because you can step into the same failure twice.
Having stepped enough, I promised myself I wouldn’t aspire to fail better, but differently, fundamentally so.
That is: I would never, ever, under any earthly or unearthly circumstances, answer honestly—or even try to answer honestly—that backstabbing question again.
Instead, I’d dodge it, defuse and deflect it with the utmost sincerity and conviction, comme il faut.
That’s right: Survivalesque, sanity- and relationship-saving fibbery, the kind certified by the Greeks.
But I, unfortunately, must have experienced a serious cerebral malfunction—a potentially lethal (to my most present permanent relationship, mind you, no one’s exaggerating round here) lapse of good common horsesense—because there they were, the frank words spewing from my face.
“We’re in the metro, alone and savoring the rare two and only two of us when a man comes down the stairs and ruins it. A big man. A big and hostile man who, without one word of warning, attacks us. Screams. Horrible, blood-curdling screams. I’m not afraid, I’m angry. I’m enraged like a wild immaculate animal, like I always hoped I would be. The attacker’s shocked. You’re shocked. He tries to run but I catch him, beat him to death with my bare hands. You remember what Sailor Ripley did to Bob Ray Lemon in the beginning of Wild at Heart? Against those marble steps? Well, this is mushier, brainier, and I feel no remorse when the police arrive. I feel only a… a certain pleasure.”
My lover snuggled closer, spoke the following words in the softest, most intimate tones imaginable.
“I’ve lost my sense of purpose. I don’t know who I am or who you are or what this growing thing in my belly means. I wonder if this is the end of independence, adventure, possibility, me. I used to do things, want things. I used to see the world, confront it. I’m scared. I don’t want to become one of those mothers, those women, those wives. I will never marry you.”
“Actually,” I said, retreating as fast as I possibly could back to solid, trustworthy ground, “I was thinking about our trip to Switzerland.”
My lover’s eyes widened. “Me too!”
“To tell you the full, God’s honest truth,” I said (we had never set foot in Switzerland), “I was thinking about our baby and snowcapped mountains and universal peace.”
“I was too! I was!”
“But no,” she said. “It’s not—not at all—not if you stop and think about it because we should always be thinking about peace, mountains, and babies.”
“You’re right! You’re absolutely right! But—”
“—are you aware what must follow?”
My lover’s face was not only attentive, revolutionary, and doomed—in other words: Wajdaian—but achingly beautiful.
“For the good of the tribe?” I asked.
“Austerity?” she guessed.
“Bingo!” I said. “Full—Ferocious—Stop! We NEVER ask about thinking again!”
She wholeheartedly agreed, and the atmosphere, I noticed, had become jubilant and frenzied—a certain twenty-first century cultishness in the air—very warm, fuzzy, and comfortable in a self-righteousy zealoty kind of way, so I frowned, got my face nice and ominous, whipped it back to prehistory, gunned it for the primordial ooze.
“But that’s not enough.”
“Not even close.”
I bared teeth and snarled before becoming cheerfully pedantic. “They can’t just exist, my dear… They must achieve a transparent real-talk regularity any addlebrained five-year-old could grasp.”
“Why, our sacred human values, of course. Which means from this moment forth, till death or drudgery do us part, we are to live as if we are from Switzerland.”
“In Switzerland!” my lover enthusiastically corrected.
“WRONG!!!” I shouted at the top of my lungs. “We must BE-COME Switzerland: peace-loving, snowcapped, baby-friendly!”
My lover had nothing to add or subtract from that cockamamie declaration, but after a few silent and heavenly moments in each other’s arms—too little too late—she whispered: “I’m sorry.”
“For what?” I whispered back, just as tenderly despite my gut being carpet-bombed by the ever-present threat of thought.
“For asking about what you were thinking. It’ll never happen again, I promise. What a silly goose I was. Do you forgive me?”
“Nonsense,” I said, relieved. “I was lying anyway.”
“Of course I was. Forget it. Never happened.”
“I knew it! I knew you were lying!”
“And?” I asked, my voice unexpectedly—contradictorily—on the Hoboken side of needy.
“Were you, you know, lying too?”
“Of course I was,” she said. “I’m always lying. Everything I say around here is a bald-faced lie.”
“Thank God for that.”
“Yes, God,” she said. “How do you feel? We can ask each other how we feel, can’t we?”
“Are we savages?”
“Like a believer,” I said.
My lover raised her eyebrows.
“Doubtless and serene,” I said, having been knick knack paddywhacked by the aforementioned atmosphere. “Unfuckingtouchable.”
“You’re wonderful,” she said.
“So can I ask you something then? Because, and I’m not the least bit ashamed to admit this, I was more than a little taken aback—I was, yes I was, damn near agoggled—by what you said on page three.”
“Anything. Except, you know…”
“Will you or won’t you?”
“Will I or won’t I what?”
“Be my wife.”
My lover smiled a smile midway between little slut and Mephistopheles. I was excited too, had been swirling my fingers around her benevolent nether regions for some time now. She said:
“I love you, don’t I?”
My eyes misted over.
“What’s wrong?” she asked, suddenly—genuinely—concerned. “What is it, mon chou?”
“There’s nothing more than that, is there?”
“Love, love, love,” I crooned, feeling closer than ever to the pure, neutral, mountainous ideal, but my fiancée appeared pensive again. She paused for (I counted with dread) thirty-seven seconds. Then:
“Well,” she said, “there izzzz Switzerland.”
Thus, and against all odds, she managed to read my deepest, darkest mind, so surprised I slipped my hungry happy dick back into the only language I truly believed in.