– So that’s that for my night… how did yours go?
– Oh, great. You know, this guy, Don Ferro… he’s so hilarious… you know he doesn’t speak any English, or French, or anything…
– Right. And he’s worked in the foreign service all his life. Makes no sense, really.
– Right. So after the Consulate, making calls and all that, he says I’ll buy you dinner, I know this great basement joint…
– And it was a great place and all, and of course I had a good dinner for a change, but the funny thing was, when we get there, he goes what do you want? They have great chicken here, and duck… would you like to try the duck? I had it the other day, and it was great, they have this sauce made of cherries and nuts, it’s fantastic… do you want to try that? Or the chicken? Or something else?
– Well, this waitress shows up to take the order, she’s all smiles and all, is talking to us in Bulgarian, and we have no clue… so Ferro goes ‘pollo… pollo para los dos, y una botella del vino blanco del otro dia’, asking for chicken and the white wine in Spanish, not just Spanish, the same Spanish we would use at a restaurant in Caballito or something…
– Hah! Not even an attempt to make her understand?
– Nothing! Just a big smile, she’s smiling too and nodding… next thing we know, she’s brought a couple of beers and some kirsch schnapps, no wine at all…
– Hah hah!
– Yeah, and Don Ferro is happy with that, I am too…
– He likes his booze, doesn’t he?
– Yeah, so we start talking about stuff, the football, you know, Ferro…
– Right. That’s why you call him that, right? I can’t believe you found another supporter of your two-bit football team here, it’s almost unbelievable…
– No two-bit club, friend. Ferrocarril Oeste was, and is, a great team.
– Oh please. So did you get the chicken, at least?
– No! We got goulash mit spaetzle, and it was pretty good, pretty darn good….
– You guys are the funniest thing. I’m sure you ate your food, drank the drink and never cared what the order was in the first place.
– That’s right… who cares… manna from heaven…
She had come back to the hotel a couple hours after him. Rulo had brought back half a bottle of the schnapps and some goulash leftovers, but she wasn’t hungry. Slowly working on the schnapps and sitting by the window, he had followed her movements across the room, the way she looked at him or didn’t look at him, the way she sounded, what stories of that night she chose to share with him, in a word, anything and everything that would give him clues about her current state of mind.
He was pretty sure of his position. Nothing had changed there. He adored this woman. He was a bit worried about what effect the Upper Class Twit was having on Lily, though. But determined to not let it show for a second, determined to not be ashamed of himself later on, to not be a jealous asshole. He despised the kind. By now, she must have a good idea of who he was, he thought, of what he could and couldn’t offer her. Let her make up her mind, then. But doubt and despair gripped him every time he thought of the way she had smiled when this other fellow had showed up earlier that day.
He wouldn’t ask. He wouldn’t want to know if she was still on the same page, if they would continue to be together and eat bread and cherries every day and dream of a beach together and forever, or if suddenly she’d find the prospect of a flight back to London, first class no less, too tempting. They had been together what, a few months… and she had never completely opened up to him, she took the whole adventure together as just that, an adventure, something crazy to do because whatever. Just because.
It could very well be that this twit would offer her the perfect opportunity or excuse to bolt. To make a sudden decision, and just leave. But as he saw the level of the schnapps in the bottle go down, he promised himself, one more time, to let her be. Let her make her decision, stay or go, without resorting to cliché promises or to clinging and begging.
So that’s how the still hot evening, late night actually, was going, when he casually asked her,
– If you’re not too tired, would you mind it if I tied your hands behind your back and played with you for a bit?
Her blue eyes pierced him for a few moments as she pondered the question.
– Hmmm… really? What’s gotten into you?
– Well, stuff that cannot be dealt with very well on the words level, you know. Stuff that I won’t talk about, but is aching to come out somehow, you know…
– Never knew you get your kicks that way…
– Not really, no. My kicks? I spelled out how I get my kicks with you many times by now.
– My eyes… my ass…
– Yeah, all that. And what’s inside of you and cannot be touched and all that, yeah. The True Love, y’know…
– Oh c’mon…
– Look, let me put it this way. There’s stuff that has to come out somehow. It can come out in a really stupid argument. I figured it could come out in a little role play, dealing with possession, commitment, catharsis and a lot of complicated words. I love you. I’m mad. I’d sooner see you go and try to be happy in a different reality than keep you tethered to me if it’s not what you really want. I’d rather work my issues with you right now through a bit of bedroom drama, if you will, symbolically and metaphorically making you mine… pufff… I don’t know what I’m saying anymore… if you’re not up to it, that’s fine… I know it’s weird and all…
– Say I say yes. Does that turn you on? What’s the word? Domination?
– Turn me on? L, everything I do with you turns me on. I have felt more alive discussing what brand of toilet paper we’ll buy next at these horrid Soviet stores than I have felt at nice resorts, with nice girlfriends, over lobster and wine, just because it’s you. You. So fucking special to me. Is there an element of sexual satisfaction in inflicting some degree of pain or humiliation on someone? Dunno, I’m not sure it’s that. Pain and humiliation are not things that come to mind when I think of how I want to deal with you right now. Deal is the word. As in dealing pleasure, deciding when and how you’re gonna come, for instance, or I am. But let me tell you a story, it may have something to do with this…
– Rulo: the man with the stories. Go on, go ahead.
– As you know, I was an oddball back in grade school, with the high fallutin’ quotes and the politics and whatnot. I was also kind of fat, fatso, you know, bookish mostly, painfully inadequate in some ways. So this one time, I remember, after a rugby game, my dad, who was the person probably most responsible for the whole oddball thing in the first place, drops a comment in the sense that, ‘I wish you were less bookish and literary and read less and thought less and fought more’. Maybe the rugby game hadn’t gone well, I don’t remember. But stupid kid that I was, I immediately looked around, I remember very well, looked for the biggest boy I could find to pick a fight…
– How old were you at the time?
– 10, 11. So there’s this big brute of a kid, he plays rugby several divisions higher, and for some reason he makes eye contact with me, my dad’s gone for a moment to get sodas or something, and I go, ‘fuck off, you fucking faggot, whatcha lookin’ at’ or something like that, and he just smiles and comes closer and basically beats the shit out of me…
– You were not a fighter… were just trying to prove a point… your dad wasn’t even there…
– Right, right… but what I remember the most, is this guy completely dominates me, turns me around as his buddies laugh, grabs me by the hair and goes, ‘eat dirt, you maggot, you fat fuck’, and puts my face to the ground… and just then, I feel something hard against my young, fat, plump ass…
– He’s got a hard on!
– Yeah, he’s hard and all, and that’s my first taste of what male arousal is, he’s rubbing that thing against my ass as he forces me into the ground and beats my ribcage with his other hand… so I guess my story is about how in our reptilian brains, in ways we can’t really describe very well, pain and pleasure, as the old cliché goes, really occupy contiguous spaces…. but that’s not what I had in mind when I asked you to let me tie you up. What I had in mind I don’t really know, but I know this: it goes several layers deeper than that, it’s not that at all, and it’s all about love. But like I said, it’s perfectly fine for you to say no and all, it is an odd request.
– Go ahead. Tie me up.
– You sure?
– You don’t have any rope, though.
– I have that keffiyeh from Jerusalem. My belt.
– Use them. Use me.
– Oh, fuck.
– Go ahead, R. I guess this is the closest I’ll ever come to saying the L word around you. Because I dig what you’re saying, and I understand how you feel right now. So go ahead. You better not hurt me, you idiot. But you keep the stories coming, and keep your mouth shut about what’s troubling you -and oh I know what it is, I so know it- and you can use my poor tiny body to give you some peace of mind or whatever it is you need… what do you have in mind?
– I was thinking of licking your pussy for hours, but not letting you come, you know… that’s the plan, anyway, but when I see you in that situation, other stuff may come to mind too…
– Oh fuck, oh Jesus… fucking hell… you’re good… you’re bad… what are you waiting for?
He’s not waiting, as a matter of fact he’s already removed her sneakers and socks – white cotton sport type socks, a little funky after all day in the heat and all and he’s slowly sucking her toes, one by one, has only done two or three so far as she unbuttons, unzips her jeans and her hand goes between her legs and starts looking for her clit, getting hotter, larger.
Rulo doesn’t let her rub herself too much, and walking towards their pile of backpacks and clothes in one corner of the room as he unbuttons himself and drops his pants on the way, finds the old keffiyeh with the black and white patterns that Arab men wear as a headdress and he has used as a scarf and many other things during these months, and rolls it into a caterpillar, fat snake shape as she sighs, pulls down her pants (but not her panties, as wet and smelly as the socks) and turns around without a word. Offering her ass. That glorious, shapely arse of hers, perfectly framed around the black triangle of her skivvies. And putting her hands behind her back, without a word more.
The combination of those actions makes the young man breathless, takes him back maybe 10, 12 years, to the first taste of what a hard on feels like, what it feels like to skip a heartbeat or two and not know if one will survive the next moment or so, as it cannot possibly contain, it’s unreal that it could be packed with so much emotion and raw life juices flowing and clouding his brain.
All thoughts of consulates and wired money, of the uncertainty of what may come next, of prigs and twits and ways out of Sofia and the heat, all what-if’s and how-to’s are erased for a magical hour, as Brahms’ Deutsches Requiem progresses on the walkman rigged with small speakers, next to the window that lets in a bit of a breeze now and then, at 2 or 3 am, when the city produces just a minimum of noise, its breathing reduced to the garbage trucks, a siren in the distance, a drunk walking by downstairs, singing, cursing, who knows. Lily’s hands are still firmly tied, she’s still face down, knickers gone, and Rulo’s tongue slowly goes from her tight little asshole surrounded by those wonderful buttocks, down to the opening of her vagina, secreting secret juices and welcoming his explorations every time he passes by on the way to the hard button almost all the way down on the sheets, the wet, dirty sheets that will surely need to be changed tomorrow. Every time Rulo feels the tide-like, tsunami like wave of pleasure starting to shake her and make her moan, he stops his caresses and rudely, cruelly, takes his body to the other end of hers, and grabbing her by the short, red hair, thrusts his cock into her mouth, but not for long; not for long, as he wants to go down on her one more time, still one more time, and what fun would that be with his thing dripping spunk and losing its hard and his mind wandering back to the old insecurities about whether she’ll stay or she’ll go or she’ll finally fall in love with him like he’s in love with her. What fun would it be to wander away from this perfect hour.
But wander away they must, as nothing lasts forever, and nothing holds forever. ‘The centre cannot hold’, or rather, ‘the body cannot hold and must come, no matter what disciplines are employed, what bargains struck’, so he knows, finally, that the moment can’t be postponed any longer. Slowly and deliberately he kneels at her feet, grabs them one more time and somehow makes the soles come together to form a cocoon where he inserts his cock, where his cock goes to live like a bird in his nest, as his midsection twists and turns and finds a way to make his hand reach her pussy, two… three… four fingers deep inside her as they both shake and gasp and come together, she swearing and cursing and remembering words and expressions she hasn’t used or heard in a long, long time, Cardiff slang and inside jokes, nonsense, as her eyes well up and she can’t hold off tears of – what – pleasure – happiness – pain – doubt – going into the filthy sheets and creating another damp spot there, and as the man, aided by her feet and by the vision of that round behind he loves and of the hands still creating funny shapes and sign language, still limited by the keffiyeh, spills his seed all over her backside and her legs.
The metallic curtains of the café downstairs are being rolled down as all this happens, their harsh, rusty rumble mixing with the sublime, superior, grave and terrible music coming out of the speakers on the windowsill: Siehe, ich sage euch ein Geheimnis: Wir werden nicht alle entschlafen, wir werden aber all verwandelt werden; und dasselbige plötzlich, in einem Augenblick… neither one of them speaks much German, but somehow they know the song is about not sleeping, and about being changed in the twinkling of an eye.