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sunyam (part 2/3, 1150 words, occasional swear word)

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Old 05-24-2010, 11:59 AM
azul (Offline)
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Default sunyam (part 2/3, 1150 words, occasional swear word)


All comments/criticisms/feedback greatly appreciated!
See here for part 1: http://www.writersbeat.com/showthread.php?t=24800

--------------

*


She is pale, and she is pink. Pale and pink, with fine, translucent skin that struggles to contain the ample curves of her body. In passion she is spectacular. Tiny crimson capillaries that nestle, dormant, in cushions of cellulite, leap to proud prominence. Her sighs are full-bodied; her thighs a cartographer’s masterpiece, all in spidery red. He runs a finger along them; tentatively, then earnestly –

– She pecks his cheek gratefully; tells him he’s an angel – she’s craved this all day. He leaves the coffee on her mouse mat with an apology – the café had run out of danishes. She shrugs amicably; it is not his fault. He returns to his desk.

So unreal it’s real. So real it’s surreal.
Perhaps I am mad.


*


That night, he kisses Rithika in the dark, and surprisingly, clumsily, she reciprocates.

It’s their first fuck in weeks – and the first time he has made love to her attentively. It isn’t that he’s been disinterested before, rather that he has never grown comfortable with her body – nor she with his, he supposes. Familiar, yes – bodies that have been intimate for 21 years click together mechanically, like the pieces of a favourite jigsaw; but never comfortable. Touching her is a guilty experience; one routinely performed with his eyes closed.

But today, he looks; unable to help himself. He is acutely aware of her dark armour, contracting like a nutshell around her flesh, locking him out. Half-regretfully, he thinks of his pillowy pink colleague with her pulsating capillaries.


*


The morning after, he wakes early, but lies rigid. Rithika is breathing beside him, lightly – too lightly. He is certain she is awake. Time passes and a mild draught slaps his bare leg as she pulls off the covers to get up. Cloth grazes his arm; he wonders if she dressed again after last night. He waits until the door clicks shut behind her before relieving his eyes and stretching his stiff legs.

He works late, though everything could wait until tomorrow. When he returns home, a note in Rithika’s childish handwriting informs him that she is “out”. It is not like her to be so unspecific.

She has left him dinner. In a semi-spiteful gesture, he ignores it, and ventures out to the local pub. Woes are drowned in infinite Stolichnaya shots, and his bleeding heart comes tumbling out in an unimpressive rendition of O Sole Mio.

At 12.58 he is thrown out of the pub.
When he crawls upstairs, feeling barely alive, she is both home and asleep; the doona wrapped tightly around her like a cocoon. He does not intrude, merely tumbles back downstairs and makes his bed on the couch.


*


Alison Embry imbibes her coffee sporadically, licking flecks of white cappuccino froth from the corners of her mouth. “Men!” she screeches, missing hysteria by a semitone. “I didn’t sleep last night – not a wink; and the bastard snored. Eighteen years of marriage are blowing up in his face – eighteen! and – damn him – he manages to snore.”

“But you’re not like that,” she says pointedly.

He is looking at her with a strange expression. His mouth seems stuck between a laugh and a sneeze. She frowns. “Oh, I’ve embarrassed you!” she says. She is an idiot, she says; she should know better, because all the Indian men she knows are easily embarrassed; but she doesn’t know what of, because they are sweet and sensitive, and that is not embarrassing – it is wonderful. But not everybody understands. Her friend Jacinta, she says, once dated a lovely Bengali – until, convinced he batted for the wrong team, she dumped him. Some don’t understand, but she – Alison – knows better, because her therapist told her that people are prisoners not just of their education; not just of society; but also of their culture, their heritage. Her therapist is a godsend, she says. She smiles warmly. “Sensitive men like you need strong women,” she says; then wonders softly whether Indian women can ever be strong enough. She says she saw a documentary about India – beautiful place; exotic – and such beautiful women; but they were so timid, hiding their giggles behind bright saris, too shy to look at the cameras. She looks at him. “Is your wife very beautiful?” she asks, “and very shy?”

She smiles encouragingly. His mouth stays frozen.

He is not amused, and he does not want to sneeze. He has encountered a dilemma. He had, until he stumbled upon it, been running his hands inquisitorially over her large frame, intrigued but not surprised by each new discovery. He had let her words wash gloriously over him – the musings of a woman completely oblivious to his secret expedition. But now: he was stuck.

He had been encircling her round navel with his little finger, when it struck him that he could not determine whether it spiralled inwards or poked outwards. He is intensely bothered. It is an overreaction, he knows, but queasiness seeps through him. The detail itself is trivial, but it hinders his fantastical exploration of what he knows he cannot know; reiterates a reality he hates to face. His palms bleed sweat. He looks at Alison. She smiles. He tries to return to probing her belly, working his long, flat fingers around the familiar curves above her hips instead, but the black bottomless void now circumscribed in her waist entices him to the point of repulsion.

He thinks of asking her.
It would be a simple question.

She will think I am mad.

Inny or Outty?

“I beg your pardon?”

Mouth, why do you undermine me?

“Nothing. Forget it”.

“No, go on”, she says.

Speak, o holy Idiot, or forever hold your peace.

“An uncle of mine does navel readings. Is yours an inny or an outty?”

She is mesmerised. “Is that a traditional Indian practice?”

“Nevermind”, he says. He will try to forget the navel…


*


When they fuck, there is a melodic clash of cultures. Eclectic fusion, jarring but beautiful, fills the air – a backdrop to their intertwined limbs – brown and pink. He is an insignificant entity, catapulted into the majesty of a world free of cultural barrier…

Five minutes later, he returns sub-guiltily to his surroundings. He is sitting in his study, doing nothing in particular. In the next room, Rithika is praying in a low chant. The smell of smoky camphor from her lamp prevails. It is eerie, he thinks.

The house feels possessed. Rithika’s ghost lurks behind every corner in passive dominance. Physically; audibly, she is barely there, but it is her silences – wordless expressions of utter misery – which have him skulking warily around the place. She has a tendency of appearing when he least expects it, scaring the shit out of him. He looks at their house – his cage – with loathing.

You are melodramatic. And you are mad, his reflection tells him, as he brushes his teeth that night.


*

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Old 05-24-2010, 06:56 PM
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I can't imagine it would be that hard to figure out if she were an inny or an outy...
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Old 05-25-2010, 09:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Hilee Coco View Post
I can't imagine it would be that hard to figure out if she were an inny or an outy...
The whole affair is in his head - I'm not sure how well this comes across. I wanted it to be vaguely ambigious at first, but to become clear at some point - exactly when I'm not certain; a lot of this was written in instinctive bursts rather than with any great planning. But in this scene they're just having coffee together; he's imagining other things, and he can't complete the picture because he can't make a call about her belly button.

This bit has always sat strangely with me...I wrote it in a midnight frenzy (when I tended to produce a lot of fairly quirky, surreal stuff like the dream he has later on). The handful of people I showed this to at the time liked it, so I kept it in there, but I've never been very sure about it myself.

Thanks again for reading and commenting!
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Old 05-30-2010, 09:58 PM
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you should, then, explicitly state that he hasn't "done" the deed yet, with Alison, as I thought they were having a full-fledged affair...

and... doona... wtf is a doona? I'm imagining some kind of robe, but... it could be a spicy Pakora made with... goat cheese, for all I know...!

Still, I like what I've read so far -- haven't found part three yet... but, on a casual reading... I like it...
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Old 06-05-2010, 10:39 PM
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Originally Posted by sammo777 View Post
and... doona... wtf is a doona? I'm imagining some kind of robe, but... it could be a spicy Pakora made with... goat cheese, for all I know...!
Hahaha it must be Aussie for "quilt", then . I thought it was a universal word.
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Old 06-06-2010, 05:59 PM
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ah, k... "doona"... a fresh word for my basic vocabulary!
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Old 06-08-2010, 08:22 AM
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I thought it was pretty clear that the affair was internal only. I'm not sure about the images of her capillaries though. I assume you're trying to get across how different this white woman is to his Indian wife, but it jarred with me a bit. Interesting piece though.
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Old 06-20-2010, 10:56 AM
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Thanks Casper. Yeah I don't know where that came from :S I wrote most of this late at night, when my brain does weird things :P
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