Hands Clasped in Mine

All the world's a stage,
All the world’s a stage, (Photo credit: sara biljana)

When she twirled into a room, she wanted everyone to watch. She was the attention-craving, fancy, lit-up metaphor of twitching nervous energy disguised beneath dainty legs, an ever-smiling face and lips that were always crimson. I did not envy her but I did love her.

The first night we were together, I put my arms around her and asked her why she craved attention like a little child. Her simple answer was to quote Shakespeare,

All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players”.

I knew then that drama was what she wanted and her craving for it was so great, so uncontrollably overwhelming, that she would tear down anyone who stood in her way.

She loved the theater. Every time we hit the underbelly of nightlife, she wanted to go to the greasy, sleazy theaters enacting out Mafia-movies or undignified, crass comedies. I went with her to humor her but I was too cultured to understand the significance of such exasperating entertainment in her life.

But as I judged her, I realised that underneath the woman who sang her way through social circles  slept all morning and spent all afternoon looking for that perfect cocktail dress, those perfect nails, the perfect heels for the night, was a woman who found simplistic pleasures in the most dramatically enhanced comedic interpretations of life.

She had no love or patience for reading. I smoked a long pipe and spent hours sitting besides a lamp on the wooden floor of my sparingly furnished apartment but she fretted. I told her to learn the valuable lesson in the virtue they called patience but she had no time for my philosophically bent monologues.

She would gently set aside my book, take off my reading glasses and throw away my pipe and set herself upon my knee. She would perch there and look at me with playfully sparkling eyes and throw back her hair and laugh. The irresistible delicacy of that moment would light me with a hot fire and I would start my journey up her flimsy nightdress, my hands exploring all parts of her body. Her welcoming moans only flattered my beliefs in my powers of exciting women, especially since the woman in my arms was the most challenging of them all.

Our nighttime prowess would start late at night and keep us occupied till breakfast time the next morning. We were both fiery in our own ways and in the bedroom, she did not suffer the piteous urge to please as much as I did. It came to her naturally; it was like second nature because with one fluid motion she would hold me captivated like a tigress and it would be up to me then to offer her something no other man could. And for some reason, I knew that I was offering her something no other man could. I understood her, both inside and outside the bedroom. Her aloofness was a cloak and it fell apart when we were alone. But when we slept together, I forgot to be superior, I forgot how she utterly degraded herself in front of the whole wide world without anyone realising it. I forgot that I was the one saving her and not vice versa. She was the only woman I wanted, my carefully guarded asexual demeanor lay shattered at her feet. She never realised it; not in the all-consuming kisses we shared, nor in the bestiality of our love-making.

Indeed she did not see that her creamy-white skin, her high cheekbones, her alluring neck, her crimson pout, her tastefully coiffed hair called out to me when we were grasped with sinful, beautiful lust. For her, her need to be magnificent ended once she stepped out of the external world.

The unbearable heat of our bedroom explorations never fizzed out but once we stepped out, we both became the opposite of what we were. I began to see her once more as a child playing a hopeless game of hide-and-seek with the world; they never would find the things she hid but they knew where those things were; whereas she believed they were ignorant. But she was the one who was actually grappled in ignorance. I could not see how she could not see that.

The culmination of sixteen years of painfully, unimaginably exciting extractions came when she announced her desire to move to France. France has forever filled many, many men and women with des sentiments d’amour but I never imagined she would take her need to please to such a level of downtrodden decision-making.

I pleaded with her, I begged her to stay and then in the last desperate act of a desperate man I offered her my heart in a manner I knew was wrong. A manner I knew wasn’t meant for us. She stomped on it on her way out the door but the tremors of that banged door shut my humanity out with a sorry light.

(…to be continued)

[You can also choose to read my complete story here, on Bookrix]

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