Excerpt from 'The Mirror in the Well'
THE MIRROR IN THE WELL
By MICHELINE AHARONIAN MARCOM
DALKEY ARCHIVE PRESSCopyright © 2008 Micheline Aharonian Marcom
All right reserved.
The girl and her lover meet for the first time at a pub downtown. They had arranged this meeting over the telephone the week before and they share a liter of beer and soon the girl is high from the alcohol and she thinks that you are not beautiful and awkward and you speak slowly, as if speech were something to be careful with, like a man handling small glass figurines.
The motel is pink and a cheap one on L Street run by Pakistanis and you pay in cash and she will realize after you luck her for the fourth time (but not today) that you always pay in cash and you hold her against your naked form in front of a mottled grey mirror and you say how beautiful she is and the girl moves her gaze to the reflection, to the image of a woman with long dark hair and brown eyes painted black that night, a red bra and black cotton underpants and she is beautiful in the mirror and not recognizing herself: some thing out of a circle of ideas, a blurred picture of eros, and you behind her with your white skin blue eyes and fatty belly pushing into her ass.
(Then later-, months after the girl's husband has discovered the liaison and a year and a half after this initial meeting and she is sitting on the sofa in the living room of her home and looking out at the pine and cypress and beech and alone because the husband has moved out of their home, she will recall this image of herself in the mirror, of you behind her, of her sorrow like an amulet but not only for the ended marriage, something else which she can't fathom or unfathomably put consonant and vowels to (yet?), some silence unletterable alongside her sorrow, some things and notthings which she tries to grasp with the edges of breaths (to make, or to find-like a man makes a tunnel for his underground passage).)
You remove her black shirt her trousers. You fumble with her bra as you had briefly with the snap on her jeans. And she tells you how she doesn't want to fuck you and she doesn't tell you that she has decided she will fuck you the next time but not tonight, hoping in part (there is always shame for the girl) that this means there is more later, around some kind of time-corner, and trained, like a good penitent, to think that the pleasures must be delimited and she says to you that she doesn't want to fuck tonight and alright, you say, spread your legs and let me eat your cunt.
You open up her cunt with both of your hands, pull the outer brown-pink labia the smaller and wrinkled black-pink inner labia apart and she is uninitiated, the thirty-nine-year-old girl who has been fucking since eighteen and the mother of two boys, but has never had her cunt sucked properly so that her sex becomes an altar and the man prostrate there as she had imagined him many months before this affair (or the other affairs; or in her office when she was lonely and desirous, before she knew her lover, the other lovers) as he is wont to and seeking all of the women to get back inside of their fleshy slits. She is anxious and opens her legs, but not widely, as if you are a medical doctor and putting your face near to her and your instrument inside of her for medical purposes and she has always (a remembered always, because the very young girl-child was unashamed, her cunt opened to the boys and girls during play) hidden the cunt its smells and secretions; crosses her legs and tightens her thigh and buttock muscles. It takes a long time before the cunt begins to secrete its fluids and she wonders who you are: a pervert; a man who fucks whores; a violent man; a liar; perhaps you will use her body, you will arouse her only to put your cock inside and then you will lie to her again and then you will depart and she will be alone and she will be transformed and she will be in pain and ashamed of her desires, her stink.
You are patient and experienced-the hundreds of women and whores before your meeting with this girl in the pink motel late at night, it is eleven o'clock now and you eat suck lick her and she is thinking that she will never come, that what is she doing, what would her husband do if he knew of this transgression and although the husband never sucks her cunt and she has never orgasmed into a man's mouth before and that who are you, you are dangerous; that she is in a motel with a stranger, that if her husband could see her now while he is at home with their sleeping children that with her legs splayed on the motel bed, wider now than moments ago, and three miles from her home, fucking this stranger, he is eating her pussy better and longer than any man in her lifetime as if he knows how to arouse her and how does he?, as if he knows that she has waited for him and suddenly she knows, thinks it, that she is aroused beyond the point of return, like a girl who has moved off an old and weathered path and that she will come, that he is licking patiently, sucking, pulling on the lips and rubbing the clitoris, that he understands her body's cues, breathstops -starts and she stops breathing and begins again stops and he follows her breathing, he tells her later, and she is silent for the thirty-five minutes while he patiently learns her idiom, sticks his fingers into her vagina and she moves out in and then she wasn't thinking and then she is listening again and he is saying please hold me while he takes his cock into his hands and rubs it with both of his hands and that her leg on top of his leg, his eyes closed and he is grunting rubbing his penis then ejaculating and she asks if he is satisfied, happy that she did not have to suck his cock at his request. He is happy to hold her, he says.
She puts her clothes on and sits on the edge of the motel bed, she is feeling guilty now, perhaps by the ease of her adultery, the pleasure of it, she doesn't look into your eyes (has she looked at you at all tonight? or has she simply moved along the path of your vibrations, her scent yours) and tells you that she must go, home to her children and husband who does not eat or suck her cunt and who fucks her infrequently and she masturbates daily and reads the porno books purchased from a sex shop on J Street. Later she thinks how she wouldn't have been so hungry all of these years and eaten more than her share at every meal (the large appetites) if she had been properly and frequently fucked: every day, but this thought comes six weeks later when you fuck her for six hours on a white platform bed in a city hotel where the light comes in through the half-opened blinds in the afternoon and she is sick with a head-cold and tired and can see the highrises in the distance of downtown and will orgasm nine times and sprays you with her vaginal secretions. But now, in this first scene at the motel, you unbutton her just-buttoned shirt and undo her bra again and surprise her that you would like to notfuck her arouse her again with your mouth and tongue; you don't speak while you do it. Your penis is stiff and you don't touch yourself or ask her to suck you as she is still expecting you to, or try to cajole her into allowing you to fuck her, but bury your face in her cunt again and late into the night and she lies there self-consciously thinking that who is this foreign blue-eyed man and that she can't come again-the limits the edges she is accustomed to-and soon she has a second orgasm into your mouth, outsideness inside of the dingy and poorly lighted room-but not as out as she will become with this man who will become her lover, who teaches her the unteaching of the limits, that love is expansive that yearning and its disruptions are as old as the days; that he can bring her to the inside of outness and that she can arrive outward with him on each of the days that they fuck.
At breakfast the next morning. It is the day before her fourteen year wedding anniversary. You and the girl sit together at a local café and you eat your food with your open mouth and your hands the knuckles and fingers are fat and swollen looking, as if you have labored. You are still speaking slowly, stones turn leisurely between each of your words. You tell her that you could love her and she sees the egg whites and yellows in your open chewing mouth. She is repulsed and attracted at the same time, to the moments of the night before, this strange man, slow-speaking and widely eyed and opaque to her with the openness of days and spaces between each word and phrase.
You will teach her about whips and small pains in bed. Each time you put your mouth to her cunt she is happy, as if this is what she was born to know and experience and is so lucky, now, in the modern world, to find the man who still worships properly, sucks her cunt with enthusiasm so that the circuit is completed, his mouth her mouth her cunt her open mouth and his and both he and she are filled with the gods.
She drives south to see you for your second meeting. She gets lost as she approaches your city and she doesn't think of fucking you because she always thinks of fucking and so is not conscious, in this moment, of her perpetual adult desire, its mark upon her body, and invisible and unremovable. You have Japanese food for lunch, and she looks out the window of the restaurant and tells you of her loss of faith in speech, by how little it communicates, by the lies and half-spokens and the masks of her American brethren and the speech so degraded now, was it ever different?, banal, and she is bored by the middle class, its diversions, by her own lying phrases and postures. Did the gods ever live inside the letters sounds? You seem to understand. Look at her with a look of comprehension. She is struck by this knowing look and knows, feels, that you fall in love with her during this conversation: that she seduces you with her flight of words. Later, on the floor of your workroom, she pulls off from her body as she orgasms and returns, astonished and naked now, understands what she has not understood in her marriage, her husband as blind as she to the forces moving through them and she unable to find its electric breach until now. You have done this to her; you? You give her a second orgasm right before she must leave: you lie naked on the workroom floor with her for hours and the world passes by you and then you are touching her clitoris with your fingers, the speech evaporates and putting your fingers inside of her cunt and she is crying after orgasm, she sobs, and you are not sure what causes the girl this grief and it is not grief, she does not say, for having found you, some profound mystery she has intuited for all of her life and you have taken her across the threshold and she is free. Or simply that you fucked her twice and not the once she had been lucky to get once every two weeks or month up until this today-the one if she'd been a good and obedient girl and wife and office-worker and citizen.
You will be her guide: willing and desirous of fucking as much as she-will eat her pussy five times in a day and she will flow into your mouth, her damp underwear and your body odor on her skin remind her of you for hours. She doesn't shower the next day to remember your fucking scent in her pussy (sticks her fingers inside) and on her neck and the blue-red marks you leave on her neck also, like fat and bruised souvenirs. When she pulls her pants down to piss the next morning, she smells her cunt filled with your day-old semen and she is happier, serves her family breakfast, dresses the children and makes lunches and drives to their school across town and the next day begins inside of its routines.
She returns to that moment in your workroom in the following months in her memory, just as she returns to the image of the girl in the grey and mottled mirror. The woman that she is then, the long dark hair and unshared pussy naked on the tiled floor on the top of woolen blankets and your labors all around her, wooden boxes and bedside tables and wood shavings on the floor, the beautiful scent of woods as if the ancient trees themselves were present and their years in this dust and you before her: white skin and a white paunch belly; the blue eyes which see differently, one from the other, and so the world is a flat place for your eyes-and your hands which cut and shape and bevel the wood? deep inside her cunt they pull and push her up and back to a lifting-off place. And the language of it is lost to it. She begins to read the old books, the possessions by the gods, The Thousand Nights and One Night is by her bedside, to understand, or the devils, how it is that you remade her in your workroom that afternoon in August, carved and cut an ancient woman, your mother, sister and the nymphs on the lintels of old European buildings-the language can hardly say it any longer: but with your cock inside her cunt and you are pushing it in and her orgasm opened a river inside of her and she would like it beyond language you are grunting into her ear, filling her mouth with your tongue, cunt with cock, spittle and urine and a piston inside of its fleshy destiny and she would like to die with you in this moment and to kill you, squeeze the breath from you you ask her to put her hands around your neck as she rides on your cock and you ask without asking, place her hands around your neck and press her white blue-veined fingers into your trachea, cut off the breath then your orgasm and your breathing again and you have not died and she rides you longer until she slaps your face comes on your cock, pisses and cries into your shoulder. And when she is feeling sad and melancholic as she often does at her job and on the week-ends with her family, she remembers that eternal moment, returns to you then endlessly in her dreams and then also in her car as she makes the drive south to your workplace and the floor upon which you will luck her week after week month after month during your affair.
It is strange to her that no one sees the change in her. What the afternoons in your workroom do to the soul to the skin and eyes and dark hair. She doesn't love you, she thinks, but you have made her into your acolyte. She no longer fears dying, she fears, instead, not being able to lie on the dark tiles of your workroom floor, your mouth pressed to her cunt, her mouth open and the universe inside and outside her mouth the room.
But perhaps as you make her you do make her fall in. The girl falls in to love, as if love were, what exactly?, the underground stone palace where the lover has hidden the beloved? the deepest well where the serpent lives? And you expect it, demand it: Stop fucking your husband, you tell her, I can't bear it (fall in to love with me). She stares at you; she is silent and dark looking in the eyes. I love you, you say, and thrust this inside her like your cock: love me back love me back love me only in this possession. Or else? she thinks, she says nothing while he shoves his cock into her again; she is happy free and at ease with him inside her cunt. Or else no black tiles or opened mouth breath; no drive south on the long highway across the brown grass fields in summer, the green shoots in early spring, the bay water bright when she arrives home or grey cloudy and fogged on summer and winter afternoons.
Once a week the girl makes the drive to your city and her boss thinks that she is in one place and her husband thinks that she is in another, and the children in school, and the two of them: husband boss who don't love her enough or fuck her, are either deceived or disinterested, and she drives the hour south to see you. You don't kiss her when you open the door to your workroom. Your breath smells badly, of garlic coffee and decay. As soon as your mouth is glued to her cunt (thirty minutes later, after the requisite exchange of sentences of hellos and how are yous) she knows that all is right with the world, that you are right, that pleasure is the reason to live; that she loves you desperately; that you love her infinitely; that you are her satyr and she your muse; that you will be together always (which could be an afternoon); eternity. Then you are dressing, saying good-bye, on the drive back toward the bay and her city, she both worries about your scent upon her skin and hopes that it will abide. Then she stops fucking her husband as you demanded it. They don't luck again in their conjugal bed. What you ask of her she does, how can she do any different? When you are making her, when you are a god and she also is a god, the nymph visiting from the other world is pushing out of her mouth and breast. The nymph's fluids are her own; the nymph's red and pink lips kiss your mouth sweetly. The girl with the dark hair and eyes and you with your blue blind irises. A snake at the base of the spine unfolds in the dark afternoon in the wood dust and motes. (Continues...)
Excerpted from THE MIRROR IN THE WELL by MICHELINE AHARONIAN MARCOM Copyright © 2008 by Micheline Aharonian Marcom. Excerpted by permission.
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