Wednesday, April 4, 2007

History: Marlene on the Wall


Marlene watches from the wall
Her mocking smile says it all
As she records the rise and fall
Of every soldier passing

But the only soldier now is me
I’m fighting things I cannot see
I think it’s called my destiny
That I am changing

-Suzanne Vega

It happened a long time ago.

Yesterday.

I was lying in the bed where we’d fucked, despite not having a condom between us, and I ended up faking it for the first time in a long time because he was insistent about it even though he didn’t come himself because, “It’s giving away too much isn’t it.”

Yes, it is.

I’d been prowling, walking alone, making eye contact with the last man in every pack of the Brit boys roaming the streets looking for cheap beer, getting thrown out of strip clubs by the same big black men in day-glo safety jackets who’d cajoled them inside with bigger and bigger discounts on cover, “Fifteen minutes free, you want fifteen minutes?”

The last man is always a little behind the others. He’s glad to be with the lads, he is, but he’s also a little bit sorry that all he’s seeing of Prague is the insides of pubs and bars and the restaurants that don’t have No Stag Parties signs. He almost always has pretty eyes, blue ones. And if I make eye contact and smile, instead of doing the quick, down and right, please-don’t-rape-me-I’m-a-tourist slide of the eyes, he’ll turn and look back when I’m fifteen paces past, which is when I turn and look back. And we laugh, because we’ve caught each other, and take another five steps and look again. Then I stop, and he comes to me, and asks me where am I going, love/sweetheart/darling (it sounds much less demeaning from a Brit boy, they all call all women their pet name of choice, eight to eighty) and I say, “I think you have beautiful eyes.” And he says, “I’d quite like to kiss you.” And I do, and his mouth is soft and tastes of fresh beer and sometimes cigarettes, Friday night tastes, and he puts his hands gently on my hips, careful not to take too much.

It’s safer to walk near a pack, on the way home. Not really. But I like listening to them tease each other and picking out their voices, Manchester, East London, Suffolk, Geordie, Scottish sometimes, best of all. They tell how hard they were for the lap-dancer, what an effort it’s taking to be faithful, how many beers they’ve pissed into the gutter or against the six-hundred-year-old walls. Tonight’s pack is Cheshire, older than the average, all with buzzed hair that they tell me later they got done this morning, to match the groom. When our paths part, they wave goodbye, but I want to see if I can hold them so I ask about the hair, end up patting and judging, Paris-like, whose is softest. Like to go to the last bar of the night with them? It’s quite near their hotel, it’ll be lovely, come on. I know I won’t pay to get in or pay for drinks; I’ll escape the metal detector wand and the bouncer’s frisking hands.

Orange juice, orange juice, orange juice, while they put away vodka and Red Bull and I cut out the one who dances in place like I do. We shout into each other’s ears, a good reason to be close, on a white dance floor, watch the plasma screens over our shoulders. “You don’t dance like an American,” Sean’s a barrister, he gets to wear a wig and argue before a higher court. He’s sharp enough to know when something I say is rehearsed, and that impresses me. I know before the last round of drinks I’m going back to his hotel room, and it only stings a little to see his friends give him the thumbs up. In all seriousness, the pack would walk me home and leave me at the door if I felt scared enough to need it. The coat check girl is sleepy, or maybe has something wrong with her left eye, and I leave her twenty crowns on the way out.

The room costs as much in a night as I’m paying for a month’s rent in my flat-share near Florenc, probably more. There is mineral water on the table and we drink it while he tells me about his dad in the SAS, and how he didn’t go into the army. Every two or three sentences, one of us has to repeat something, the accent, the phrasings tangling in our ears, making us listen harder. 3AM, showering, head, his hands soapy on my breasts, I’m thankful I’ve dropped weight, the water is warm and cool enough to feel like bed. In the bed, he wants to be an athlete, four or five positions, wants to please me, wants me to come, and finally I’m sore enough to fake it, hoping we can quit.

“How can I help you?”

“Hit me,” I whisper back. Below me, he shakes his head. Afterwards, I explain about hitting and spanking and the different feelings from constricting the windpipe and pressing on the arteries leading to the brain. He could never hit a woman, he cannot wrap his head around anyone wanting to be hit (today, there are bruises on the eyes of my elbows and the insides of my breasts from the strength of his touch).

He thinks I am asleep when he comes back from the bathroom, and gathers up his wallet and his cash, plucks his mobile from the charger, puts them in the room safe, I hear the buzz of the lock. By now I am bemused and angry, and as he lies back down beside me, still sweaty from the effort of faking, I say, “I’ll try to avoid rolling you for your wallet in the night.” Then I have to explain the slang.

In my travels, I have danced naked in two countries, planted my flag on nearly a hundred lovers, known good sport sex and can I please have a hundred dollars sex and hey, it’ll make him happy and what the hell, I’ve got twenty minutes sex, but whoredom is a foreign country. The buzz of the safe sends me beyond risk and power and the granting of secret wishes, past the first adultery of a barrister trembling on the threshold of middle age, past a good story to tell my lover who will hit me for the pleasure of the details, past penance and joy and detachment and tourism and sometimes even pleasure, into the hallways of the Renaissance Hotel and the realm of the girls who stand on the corner, waiting to be invited upstairs.



(I took this picture)

9 comments:

dexplorer said...

Wow!!! I came to you from Sugasm. What an adventure you’re describing, with such possibilities and yes perils. Your writing is clear, expressive, concise and warm, and often wryly amusing. Your blog is simply thrilling, and fascinating as well.

But I don’t want to repeat too much. I’ve put up quite a few comments some kinda long to various January posts so far. If you (or others) go back and read, my first (which would be the first to read if you’re so inclined) was to your Jan 30 post, since I imagined without thinking about it much that since it was at the top of the scroll, it was a recent April post. Actually it was at the top because only the January archive appeared in the scroll at one time. Anyway, it seems like many have said they were going back to read you from the beginning so I hope you’ll feel like responding back there.

Blissfully Wed said...

I hope that there is a book deal in your future. It almost seems a crime that I get to read your words for free.

In my line of work, I sometimes meet ladies in yours. Some are very proud and some are discreet, and they are always there to visit their "uncle."

~Him

Al Laddin said...

Dang, Mandy...you've done me...I mean IT! IT! again.

You are REALLY something else.

Tom Paine said...

Your new admirers sort of stole my thunder. Your writing has what most sex blogging lacks: human vulnerability. The hitting thing left me shaking my head on several levels. Hmmmm.

la fille mariƩe said...

Fuck, Mandy. I think that was the best thing you've written here. Well done, girl.

ravenous said...

That was amazing.

I agree with LFM. This is the best thing you have ever written. Quite an accomplishment, considering your writing is consistently great.

A Reader, Esq. said...

Interesting. I thought this would be listed under "Guys who don't get it".


A. Reader, Esq.

Res said...

You really are wonderful.

Enjoy your blog very much.

xx,Res (used to be "cain")

Cheers, sweetie!!

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