Monday, December 31, 2007

Mamzelle Sits on a Fence

"It's alright."

"No, it's not."

"Yes it is. Really. We've already discussed this. I have no problem with it."

"But I am tired of discussing it. I want to do, to feel. I do not want to talk anymore." Mamzelle paced the small living room, running her fingers through her short, blue hair. "Not okay, not okay, not okay. No, it is not okay. I am tired of this, tired of myself, tired of my vacillations...."

She continued speaking, but so softly Mr C couldn't make out what she was saying. He realized that she was praying, although whether it was in English, French, Latin, Hebrew, Tibetan or some combination thereof, he had no idea. The prayers of Mamzelle went to whatever god appealed to her at the moment. Her version of monotheism was very close to her version of monogamy: pray to whichever one was most suited to solving the problem du jour. Tomorrow, another god might present itself for adoration. Mr C sighed. At least, her pantheon was very small, very limited. Others might speculate as to the scope of her oeuvre, but he knew it for what it was. She'd never had a reason to dissemble with him.

Mamzelle had assured him that this behavior pattern would stop, had stopped. For all her pretenses of carelessness with herself, claims of being cavalier and casual, free-thinking and openminded, he'd known her long enough, witnessed enough, to realize it was all a facade, glitter to cover. He knew she slept alone, had a strong streak of asceticism, was in fact extremely proper. What was it her friend said? That she was a Victorian school marm masquerading as a Danish hooker? Everyone else saw the hooker, he saw the school marm. Because he looked at her actions, her context, not just her words.

She'd lived celibate for many years, ‘cleaning her synapses instead of her pipes', rationalizing and making light of an unpleasant period in her life, and was prepared to do so again. Once the twinges of addiction passed, cold turkey, total abstinence was an easier concept, an easier feeling than intermittent stimulation. The occasional tryst that left one always on the alert for the next session, the next ‘hit', either coming down or building up was not for her. Celibacy was calm. He could see why it appealed to her, but hoped to persuade her otherwise.

Mr C got up from the sofa, put his hands on her shoulders. "Stop, Mamzelle. It's alright. We do not need a resolution this minute, not even tonight. I've told you and I'll tell you again: I am here, I am not going anywhere. Whatever constructs you have in your brain, they are constructs. Not real. I am real."

"Mr C, I...I..." She shrugged his hands off, crossed her arms and looked down at her feet, at the cracked tiles. She hated those tiles. Plain beige tiles, the only pattern the cracks caused by dropped pots and pans. The broken pieces pried out, edges tested along a forearm, slow pink rain leaving a pattern of its own on the tiles, the carpet, pink rain in a room of neutrals.

"You what? Come." He turned her around, put his arms around her, kissed the top of her head. "Cute. Very cute, the blue. Are you going to keep it?"

She shook her head. "The color, a week perhaps. Then, orange or green I think. Or most shocking of all, my natural color. If anyone knows what that is, its been so long since even I've seen it. The cut will last as long as it lasts." She sniffed his chest, his neck.


"Hmm?" She looked up at him, relaxed now since the conversation had turned to trivia. Trivia did not threaten, did not open doors or boxes.

"Oh god, Mamzelle," and he kissed her. "God, Mamzelle."

"Hmm..." She was lost in the sensation, swimming in a sea of passion. Her arms around him, she stroked the back of his neck, pressed herself against him. "Hmm?"

"God Mamzelle..." He broke off the kiss, but continued to hold her tight to him. "How could he? How could they? What is wrong with them?"

"What? Wrong? Who, Mr C? What are you talking about?" She tugged at his hair, kissed the hollow of his throat, his earlobes, the corner of his mouth. "What is bothering you, carus?" I want to fuck his mouth floated through her. I want to kiss him all over and feel him kiss me. Everywhere. I want to know what he tastes like. I want. I haven't wanted in so long...

"Them. Him. How could he kiss you with that lying mouth? How could he lie to you, deceive you, do who knows what with that mouth and then kiss you? You kiss with every fiber of your being, with such nakedness. How could he take that from you and give you lies in return? Scum. And you knew and you let him do it anyway. Why? Why did you stand for it?"

"I don't know. I hoped I was wrong. It was easier to believe the lies than deal with the truth and its inevitables, being alone or courting someone new. This way, I knew what I'd be doing and where at any point in time. It gave an orderliness to my life, a comfort." She freed herself from Mr C's embrace and walked to the window, ran her fingers along the window ledge he had used as a night table so many times. Glasses, wallet, keys, cellphone. Their ghosts were there, taunting her. "I don't know why I prolonged it. I knew, I felt it. It wasn't right, hadn't been right ever since I found out... How can any woman respond to someone she knows is lying to her? Response is based on trust. Where is trust when there are lies?

"Mr C, you know I am the queen of liars, I will lie from hither to yon, but I never lie about what I feel. How could I? How self-defeating would that be."

"I know. You can't lie about you, about your feelings. You may try, but you can't. When words and actions disagree, trust the actions." He took her chin in his hand, turned her face to his. "Kiss me again, Mamzelle. Please."

He pulled away, breathless. "Can't you see, love? Your whole life, you've chosen children, brats, who emotionally abused you, took advantage of you, lied to you, horrible lies, half-lies, obfuscations or they abandoned you, another lie. Give them up. Put away your childish ways, stop playing with children. You can't keep repeating the same thing expecting different results. It doesn't work that way. You deserve better. Change."

"I am trying, Mr C." She buried her face in his shirt. "I miss him. I am ashamed to admit it. I miss all sorts of things about him. I don't want to, it serves no purpose, yet I do."

"I'll burn it out of you. I will raze it. Lay a new foundation. I'll build memories with you that will last a lifetime, more than a lifetime. Told you, telling you again, I am here, I am now, I am not going anywhere." He smiled at her, pushed her hair behind her ears. She used to have such long, lovely hair. Shed a lover, shed hair. It would grow back. Water a plant, feed it, it grows. "Reward my patience, Mamzelle. All I want for you.... Just kiss me."

Cupping her head in his hands, torsos pressed together, he wondered. Did she always kiss like this, with this intensity? It was almost too much, the way his nerves responded to her. Kissing her was more satisfying than most of the sex he'd had, fuller, sweeter. Had she kissed her past playthings like this, had that effect on them? He shuddered at the thought of her wasting that energy on casual passers-through.

Because they were. Her boytoys and arm candy had no relevance to her life, not any longer. They'd provided her with an escort and an orgasm. All she had asked for, all she had gotten. But he knew she ran much deeper than that, she covered her feelings with bravado and pride. Her loneliness ate at him. There was no reason for it. He would have taken it away gladly, at any time. So many times over the years, he'd been tempted to stop her, put himself in front her, make her look. She wasn't ready, before now. He wasn't ready.

He'd make her fill the old chasms. Or bridge them. Find a new field and lay a solid foundation. They'd started. He dug deep. One shovelful at a time. Slow work but nothing great is accomplished without work. A shovelful of dirt, cement, bricks. Sad memories, hope, trust. And then, new memories would be created. He'd get her to trust him in this, as she did in so much else. He had all the time in the world.

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