Except that I did not know about these until much later, after we were married and he was hospitalized again. It was absurd. Partly, it was reciprocity (tit for tat, or clit for tat), but it was also power. But I couldn’t even find my goddamned glasses. Great big salty drops were running down my face and into the corners of my mouth. “Yes,” I say, lying through my teeth (which are full of herring). The marriage was my failure. Isn’t all that coziness stultifying? “And you don’t know a thing about writing.” I was really disgusted with myself for sounding so infantile. Bennett was discussing training with another candidate from the London Institute and I eventually struck up a conversation with the guy across from me, a Chilean psychoanalyst studying in London. Without one, I felt lost as a dog without a master; rootless, faceless, undefined. There is, for example, a middling-to-good novelist (whose name I won’t mention) who happens to be a friend of my parents. I mean maybe you can write it off that way-but I have a somewhat greater stake in deluding myself that something positive went on here.”, “You can work it all out with your next analyst,” Kolner said. Dante and Beatrice. “Bob-if s me-Isadora-I’m in Paris. Perhaps to others he was a failure, but to himself he was a romantic figure. “What do I have to do?” I asked desperately, feeling I’d do anything. When the gift-giving was over, everyone sat down to watch television-mostly reruns of ancient American programs. The thrush and the jay- Even if it was unspeakably ugly, we could learn from it, couldn’t we? He walked on ahead as if in a trance. Then I wanted to run to Bennett and plead forgiveness, throw myself at his feet, offer to bear him twelve children immediately (mainly to cement my bondage), promise to serve him like a good slave in exchange for any bargain as long as it included security. In the end, of course, I had to seduce him. We had known each other three months. “You could have had an affair without my knowing,” he said. He’s not good for you.”. But I didn’t believe him. Bennett may be hooked on jargon. I feel a tiny rivulet of sweat trickle down between my breasts. mama (looking up from her sewing): You should be ashamed. All I had managed to do was suppress one half (for a while) at the expense of the other. In Florence, Pia paraphrased Robert Browning: Open my cunt and you shall see Then I remember the dream in which I was back in college preparing to receive my degree from Millicent McIntosh. “Aren’t you American?”, “Those two things don’t cancel each other out… Actually, I left my perfectly nice husband for this.”. Oh he was right for all the wrong reasons. This has something to do with Zen. I put my head down on the table. When it got dark, I returned to the station and sat writing in my notebook while I waited for the train. What do lovers see in each other’s eyes anyway? “Snakes eyes-I win!” my sister would yelp. “If you really feel that way about me, I don’t know why you don’t quit right now,” Kolner spat out. More sacred, in fact, because the wonder of everyday life fascinates me even more than the wonder of great shrines and temples. Why didn’t the moon turn pale and tidal waves sweep over the surface of the earth? Was anything? One’s husband’s body was practically like one’s own. “I don’t think this is such a good idea,” I said weakly. I’m not a stinking exhibitionist like you, that’s all… Now get the hell out of here! Besides, when I was alone with Brian, all he did was attack me. At seventeen, when I went to Japan with my parents and sisters, I dragged along my Olivetti portable and spent every evening recapitulating the day’s observations into a loose-leaf notebook. I lay with my head on his chest smelling the warm odor of his skin. The very intensity of our need has made us denounce each other. The airport looked scrubbed and gleaming. Look-you want love, you want intensity, you want feeling, you want closeness-and what do you settle for? “Why do you always have to do this to me? Our marriage went from bad to worse. The numerous and often rapidly changing infatuations of artists were designed to keep the illusion alive. He ought to know the symptoms by now since he’s held my hand on lots of other flights. Besides, I didn’t want to risk being called all the things women writers (even good women writers) are called: “clever, witty, bright, touching, but lacks scope.” I wanted to write about the whole world. “That’s shit and you know it. No electric light bulb went on in my head with that recognition. I hated them. And he farted loudly to punctuate. “I can’t stand this anymore!” and with that I began to shake him. Would I turn back into earth and become a flower or a fruit? They were all sandbagged down with children and babysitters, with graduate courses and teaching jobs and analysts and patients. You must have been terribly angry with me.”. “This soft?” He turned it down so that it was barely audible. my father (humming Chattanooga Choo Choo): “Read a magazine and then you’re in Baltimore…”. Now you’ve got the idea.”. No Nora-slamming-the-door routine to undercut the effect. But how did they stick the leaves on the ceiling? with first-class dust. Why was it all so complicated? I am skipping back and forth to the bathroom. “Don’t you see you’re hurting him! Everything’s at one remove, a case history, a study. I was thinking what a total fraud I was, but he was pleased. Sometimes it was spoken to deceive the children, but we, with our excellent childhood radar, always sensed the content even if we missed the words. It seems to hesitate in between as if paralyzed between two repelling magnets. Stop it!” I tried to scream, but, as always in dreams, my words became garbled. What he missed was that special coupling instinct which causes two people to come together, fill in the chinks in each other’s souls, and feel stronger for it. And then he made me watch while he pulled out the disintegrating Kotex glob by glob. He won’t commit himself to a statement unless he’s sure it’s definitive. The final dream I remember is strangest of all. What could I do? I might enjoy his company, even admire him at moments, but he no longer had the power to make me wake up trembling in the middle of the night. We slept with guys who sold wallets outside the Uffizi, with two black musicians who lived in a pensione across the Piazza, with Alitalia ticket clerks, with mail clerks from American Express. My life spilling out into the street, and nothing but a slim volume of verse between me and the void. “I guess I always just assumed that the male ego was so fragile you had to coddle it-”, “Well mine isn’t so fragile. Bennett Wing appeared as in a dream. Then why did it make me feel so hunted? He spent the rest of the trip panicked. Often this trait-a certain naiveté about people-went with genius. Two people holding each other up like flying buttresses. “Don’t fuck me-go home and fuck yourself. Adrian kept racing the motor but made no move to pull out, and I just sat there in silence being torn apart by my twin demons. throughout my adolescence. How could I plead worship of the Winter Solstice and the Rites of Spring? We were all exhausted and wanted to go to sleep, so instead of actually throwing them out, Pierre’s Uncle Gavin quietly left the room, climbed up on the roof, and began monkeying with the TV antenna until the picture turned into a mass of zigzags. I pretended to Adrian that I wasn’t tempted, but in fact I was. What do they know about Jewish services?”. Even then I was a pedantic pornographer. The man under the bed. And I wanted to watch them all die slow and horrible deaths. I could go to work when I graduated, the welfare lady said. fräulein! This fivesome bounces along for a while, the widow and the fat woman keeping silent, the mother and grandmother talking to the child and each other about the food. And with that he turned suddenly and upset his beer all over me. Me sucks on his pipe as if he were sucking on me. Mel Fielding had made a life-long career of keeping his Jewishness secret, and he agreed to share his wealth with the family only on the condition that they fix all their noses too and change their names from Feldstein to Fielding. “We’ve had lots of fun. The operator insists that I owe it anyway. At the top of the Heiligenberg was a smallish tower built of red sandstone, with mossy, worn-down steps winding to a lookout on top. I smiled. Not hot yet, but sunny and blue-skied and full of official-looking people hurrying to work with their briefcases (in which they probably had nothing more official than newspapers and their lunch). Bennett and I spent a long night of mutual recrimination, wondered whether to attempt a trial separation or a double suicide, declared our love for each other, our hatred for each other, our ambivalence for each other. After that he was an insect on a pin, a newspaper clipping laminated in plastic. (Each Buddha has six arms, each arm has an extra eye… how many pricks did these millions of Adrians have? We had more in our lives than just men; we had our work, travel, friends. I cracked the virgin spine. You want to teach me about freedom, about pleasure, you want to write books with me, convert me… Why do men always want to convert me? 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