The garden of a monastery. Right smack dab in the middle of the city centre. Only the locals find this place. Or students who’ve been around for a while.
I was trying to guess her name. I thought maybe Semira, Bernice or Tanné, perhaps Therese or Thalia. It had to be something exotic.
Her skin was the colour you get when you mix too much milk through your coffee, her yellow slippers accentuated it perfectly. Yellow tends to push me away. Too cheerful. But sometimes it’s interesting to take in what repells us.
She was about 15 yards away now. Moving with the sun. As soon as the shade caught up with her, she picked a different, more luminous spot. She would trail her cubist blanket after her, slung over one shoulder. Her waist was tiny, but she had this lifted ass, that’s more common in black girls. Perhaps she was a quadroon or an octoroon. Her complexion was too light to be a mulatto.
Up on till now she hadn’t been doing much, except for what appeared to be sun-bathing. I couldn’t imagine she was doing it to get a tan, I guessed she was doing it for the rejuvenating effect a few rays of sun can have on a person. Or maybe for the almost transcendent experience of lying in the sun with your eyes closed, as if you’re floating in a sea of light. The closest thing to a sip of eternity, I suppose, that and The little death, as the French call it.
Her inactivity made it hard for me to approach her. She could be dozing for all I knew. If I were to go over to her now, she wouldn’t even see me coming. I’d give her a hell of a fright, for sure. My friend, my ever cheerful roommate, the only male cheerfulness I could stand around me, who was in the habit of curing my sudden depressions, was with me.
He was picking apples and getting mightily bored. He was pushing me to undertake some action, throwing my own adagium into my face: “An offensive that stalls, never regains momentum.” A more philosophical description of what pick up artists call ‘the two second rule’. You have two seconds to talk to a girl after spotting her. For maximum impact, and minimal awkwardness.
My friend had picked several trees bare by now, so it was indeed time for some action. I was beginning to fear that some monks would emerge from the monastery to chase me and friend out of their yard. Their Eden. This green resort right in the middle of the city centre the clerymen had so generously opened to the public. Probably to peek at the young, sweaty student flesh. I could imagine them drueling high up there from the the miniature windows of their cells.
“Either make a move now, or we go, alright? I need me one tall ladder if I’m to pick any more apples today. We can come back tomorow. I’ll bring some barrels and I’ll squish the apples into cider with my feet. And you can go on staring, just like a 16-year old rheumatic cat would when…”
I didn’t hear my friend finish his sentence. It was 15 minutes before they closed the yard, but there was my chance. A book. She had reached for her bag, no bigger than a large-sized lunchbox and pulled out a slender volume. Sound the charge, I’d say.
I was planning on a sheepish smile with playful eyes to accompany my “what ya reading?” attack, but halfway up to her, the question became redundant. I couldn’t make out the title yet, but I knew for sure, that she was reading ‘Ars Armatori’ by Ovid. A new translation was out on the market. I had bought it myself, not because I didn’t have several editions already, but because I loved the cover. It was subtly, yet brilliantly obscene. If you put the book open, on its belly so to speak, the front and back cover together clearly made a strawberry shaped pussy, so enticing you were ready to go down on it. The reviews had more to say about the cover than about the translation, which was a pitty, because it was exceptionally fresh and well-written. I was envious of it myself.
As I hunched down next to her, unthreateningly near the border of her blanket, without so much as touching the cloth, I asked, “Do you like it?”
She had an amused little smile and without looking up from the pages she threw back a question of her own.
“The cover or the text?”
“The text”, I answered with the smile I had been planning to fake, but came all by itself now.
“I read the original, but I think the translation is quite good actually. Though I still prefer to read it in Latin.”
Never be impressed. Never ever let yourself be impressed. And never try to impress either.
She put down her book, so it seemed like we had a juicy pussy right there between us. I was getting to like the situation, intensely.
“You’re not going to go away, are you?”
“If you want me to go, I’ll go.”
I got ready to get up. Always act like a hundred girls are calling you every day and you have no time to waste. Take it or leave it.
The obvious question, “So you’re studying Latin?”
Stupid. Always stupid. Only correct question is to ask her name. Just her name.
“So one needs to be studying Latin in order to understand Latin right? So just because you’re not in law school, I can assume you don’t know theft is a crime, right?”
She had me there, of course. “No, but, it’s not very common for people outside of the Classical Department to be reading a dead language.”
“I imagine it’s not. It’s not very common for someone to act like a deranged locust around here either, but your friend is doing a thorough job. What does he plan to do with all those apples?”
I simply shrugged, but inside I was pleased. She’d been observing us.
“Anyway, he must like you very much.”
“Your friend. What’s in it for him? You get to walk away with the girl and he goes home. Or is he coming along with us?”
“So I get to walk away with the girl, do I?”
Grin to maximum capacity.
I hadn’t expected her to be so up front.
“Wasn’t that the plan?”
Keep grinning. Don’t answer that. Must be a trick.
“Let’s go through all the right rituals, shall we? I’m rather a traditional girl.”
I had difficulty guessing her age. She could be between 17 and 22, maybe even 25. She wore a flower in her hair and she was rather muscular. Something in her face reminded me of a reptile or a skeleton even. She was very thin in the face.
“Take me to your number one seductive spot for first dates.”
‘The chocolate bar?”
“What will we have there?”
“Chocolate fondue for two.”
“Sounds about right.”
This wasn’t text book conversation. These pick up artists books are always in need of a new edition.
She stood up and grabbed her blanket, folded it very carefully into a tiny square and somehow managed to tuck it into her bag together with the book. Somewhat to my dismay I now saw she was about as tall as I was. In fact, we were exactly the same height, only I was in the habit of stooping, which made me seem smaller than her. I caught myself straightening my back, like I had swallowed a ramrod.
In the corner of my eye I saw my friend gesturing, a quick move of his hands I interpreted as a big sigh followed by the word “Finally.”
Just before we left the yard, she said:
“It’s very rude of you not to ask my name, but I forgive you. I can’t help liking rude boys. Are you very rude?”
“Then tell me your name”, I said trying, trying very hard to sound the least bit rude.
“Thisbe. My parents called my Thisbe. They both love Ovid. Especially his Metamorphoses.’
During the fondue we did go through all the rituals, so we had to let each other in on our past romantic/sexual experiences. I let her do most of the talking. Some women like to hear every detail about every girl you ever banged. They like to hear about your insatiable hunger for pussy, because they like the excitement, the threat you pose to their inevitably monogamous dreams. Others will simply walk out on you. I hadn’t figured out just which kind she was. Maybe she was playing miss open-minded. A woman you first meet is almost always the opposite of what you expect. Much to my suprise, it turned out she had almost zero experience. I didn’t even know for sure, whether she was a virgin or not.
We ordered an extra brownie, which got us a puzzled look from the waiter. After she had wolfed that one down too, I suggested we’d go to a cocktail bar. I had my own ‘route of seduction’ in this town.
“No”, she said, “let’s go to my place.”
“To do what?”
Don’t fucking ask. Follow her! Let’s get out of here.
“To wrestle”, she said.
“Wrestle?”, I asked, still not shutting up, I’m pig-headed, yes, I am.
“Yes, I like wrestling. It’s healthier than drinking your cocktails. Doesn’t cost anything and it’s way more fun.”
She had a spacious studio, that got very cold at night, because all the windows pointed straight north and she was “too economically balanced” to turn on the heating, she said.
“Whenever I get really cold I just run a few laps around my kitchen table.”
Poor downstair neighbours.
I asked her if she had any alcohol. I almost never drink, but on first and second dates I still need to forget some painful high school rejection scenes. No matter how many girls I sleep with, the first move never comes easy with me. After that first one I’m fine, but that first move always makes me a little bit shy and feverish.
There was no alcohol.
“Hmm, I shouldn’t have said that, I should have given you a glass of milk and told you it was mixed with rum. You’d have gotten drunk anyway.”
Yes, why didn’t she? Would have done the trick.
“So, where do you want to wrestle?”
There wasn’t much space.
“Well, here, on the floor”, she said.
A two square meter arena at best.
She went to stand in front of me.
“Come on, try to pin me down.”
I stared at her. Didn’t budge.
“I’m sorry I can’t attack a girl. You attack.”
“O no, come on, don’t give me that macho crap. Attack me.”
“No, sorry, I’m not programmed that way. I can’t attack a girl. It’s not that I think you can’t handle it. I just have a mechanism. I can’t attack a girl, I freeze.”
“A mechanism? What are you? A robot?”
I roll my eyes.
“Fine, then don’t.”
She sat on the bed. And said, “sooooo…”
I sat on a kitchen chair. Two meters apart.
I could see she was getting cold. She put on a sweater. Then an other. Her hands were up in her sleeves. Before I could ask if she was cold, so I could move over to hold her or something, lame I know, she suggested a ‘no blinking contest’.
We staired into each others eyes for about three minutes and then finally I mustered all the courage I had, lunged forward and kissed her. I was still aiming for her cheek, just to be on the safe side. But she corrected me and catched my lips with hers. After that she took over the action and drew me to her, rather violently. She drew me down on the bed and I believe she hit her head on the bed-side.
She was so impatient and turning and twisting all the time, that we were moving around the bed like some sort of helicopter. Not very sexy. Rather confusing and disorienting. Was she struggling to get into my pants or was she fighting me off? It wasn’t very clear. When we finally got rid of most of our clothes, I tried to get her stable. We were wresting after all. At least it got us warm.
She calmed down a bit when I unhooked her bra and started kissing her breasts. I pulled the covers over us, and I let my hand drift slowly down to her underpants. I rubbed slightly across the surface. Slowly adding more pressure. But when I wanted to slip my hand in, she took it, and moved my hand to her breast. I tried again a few minutes later, but she grabbed my hand again and put it back on her breast. We weren’t getting any further.
I didn’t get frustrated. But I did get bored. So, I took her in my arms, and just held her for a while. Which she seemed to enjoy, as she put her head on my chest. After a few minutes, I asked: “It’s too soon?”
“You wouldn’t like it.”
“What do you mean?”
“You wouldn’t like it.”
“Yes, ok, I got that, but why won’t I?”
“I got something down there.”
“So, you have…a penis?”
I wasn’t a stranger to the she-male porn genre. And she really looked good, very feminine, somewhat musscular, yes. I could try.
She didn’t answer.
“Look, if it’s that. I don’t care.”
Of course I cared. But I was hoping she looked good enough to make me forget this unexpected addition.
She rolled away and turned.
I turned and held her again.
“Really, I don’t care so much.”
I shouldn’t have added the ‘so much’, of course.
“I don’t have a penis, ok?”
“Then what is it?”
“Leave it, ok? If you want to go, you can. I’m a freak. I understand.”
“I find it very, very, very hard to believe anything you could possibly have down there, could make me see you as a freak.”
“Really, I am used to just about anything.”
Ow God, that sounded awful.
“Look, nevermind. Please believe me that I won’t care, no matter what it is.”
It was nothing. Nothing at all.
She had large slightly protruding inner labia.
She was considering plastic surgery.
I sucked on them.
She didn’t consider plastic surgery any more.
“You know, your yellow sandals?”
“That’s a turn-off. The length of your labia isn’t. It’s even something of a turn-on.”
“I really can’t imagine that somebody wouldn’t be disgusted.”
“Stop it. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with it. Most girls have it.”
Well, not most maybe, but a substantial number.
We talked about it a bit. How she imagined it would look like if she had them ‘trimmed’.
We talked and we didn’t get to penetration.
She kept that part for her ex-boyfriend who never knew for what silly reason she broke up with him.
I saw them together four or five weeks later. He didn’t thank me. She said ‘hi’ and waved and then started walking twice as fast.
I could hear her labia flopping between her legs.
No, I couldn’t.
“How was it with that girl with the yellow sandals?”, my friend asked.
“Yellow indicates major squeamishness”, I said.
“So what happened?”
“I sabotaged a plastic surgeon.”
I told him.
“Ow”, he said. “She watches a lot of porn?”
“You don’t need to watch a lot of it to get insecure.”
“True. But, say, you had something with this girl. And now she’s back with her ex-boyfriend. How do you deal with that.”
“That’s part of the game. And I left her better than I found her, it seems. That’s the rule, that’s the only ethics involved: leave her better than you found her. So that’s good.”
“Isn’t it a waste of time?
“You might as well say breathing is a waste of time. She’s a girl, I’m a guy, we met, she got something out of it, I hope, I got something out of it, it’s just nature that tackled some social obstacles.”
“But you didn’t come?”
When I told the story to a couch surfing brunette from Lithuania three days later, I did come.