Sunday, January 8, 2012

Love Revisited



I am thinking about our love affair. How you met me at the station and we went immediately to your place and made love.

Why did you insist on my keeping my socks on?

I remember the taxi ride from St Pancras and the smell of new rubber on the inside of the cab, which was one of those bizarrely inflated to accommodate gigantic wheelchairs. When I commented this you admonished me, telling me about how your mother found them very useful.

There was often this disquieting tension between us, which passion did not quite fill. Anyway, I sensed that. Did you? 

You took me to a little French place in Soho. You ordered crepes, recommending them gushingly, though I found them meretricious at best, with an unpleasing lack of crispness. I did not mention this. It began to rain heavily. I felt sick after the crepes but, as we made our wet way up Wardour Street, made a solid effort to ensure the umbrella mainly covered your head, protecting your precious hair, whie serendipitously allowing sufficient rain to wetten the fabric of your thin summer dress round your backside so that I could see the elastic line of your panties across your hips: only an unusually thick rubber could lend such a clear line.

I think of that as our principal erotic moment, much more than the bedroom scene earlier: I’d felt humiliated by the sock-wearing,  and I am grateful to the cold London rain for its blessing, a compensation from the Fates. Shyly, shamefully, I did not act on my instincts and give that elastic a good twang. After the conversation about your disabled mother I'd felt constrained: my lower moral intelligence too keenly exposed for me to act spontaneously.

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Now you are married: I know because I ran into your half-brother. I can't remember which one, there seemed to be so many. This one was quite charming: there does exist a fellowship among men, and his eyes read large with pity. He was wearing a good suit and in a hurry, but for moments, at the entrance to Marylebone Underground, we shared something with glances and platitudes.


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I'm standing in Camberwell waiting for the 36 with the polluted air.

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Illustration: Someone you once loved, monotype, 554 / 84 cm, 2009

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