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    For forty years my heart leaped at the sound of his voice. His name was like a summon to all my foolish blood. Now my blood is old; slaw and lazy it courses through my veins. Forty years seems eternal, and yet, when he calls and asks me to meet him, I always say yes,the force of habit clutches at my heart,or, perhaps, it is still a surge of love? But that day, (perhaps just to spite him)I don’t say yes right away; I say that I have to ask Teddy first. “Really,” he asks surprised, ”why?” We both know that I don’t have to ask Teddy. He knows all about him and me and, if he bears a grudge, he keeps it to himself. My darling Teddy, so worldly and bright, most understanding and so gallant -I wish that he walk by my side so I wouldn’t have to travel again this arduous way alone. That he’ll protect me, so I wouldn’t have to bleed between rusty teeth of concealed traps -even from those who pretend to be my friends.That he never throw unkind words at me only clasp my hand, let the warmth of his touch flow inside my heart and fill me with calm...

    He calls again on Thursday and asks if I am free on Friday, he must see me, he says it’s urgent. “I love you doll,”he says, his voice sonorous and sexy. Oh, well, this I cannot ignore - what woman can? So, “yes,” I say, mimicking Molly Blooms words, “yes, I will yes. ”In the evening, when Teddy and I settle down for light dinner of soup and bread that Teddy made (I am a catastrophe in the kitchen; Teddy is ace).I say, “Tomorrow I am going to dinner with Him.”Teddy’s eyebrows rise. “With whom?” He asks.“With Him, I bark, soup dripping from my mouth.Teddy’s lips pucker into a smile, “Oh, with him,” then he asks,”When will you be back?” Teddy pours himself another glass of wine, his fourth. (I count.)“Never,” I say, then slide to the floor, feigning a faint. (It is a sort of an absurd game between me and Teddy when the atmosphere gets tight. And, as infantile as my antics are, it always makes him laugh.) I yearn for Teddy to say, even once,
    “That’s enough, there is an end to every thing,you are my wife, and a wife should be true to her husband, not run around.”But when Teddy asked me to be his wife,he knew he made a package deal. I give him a kiss and swear in my heart to avenge myself on both of them one night when the Milky Way is empty and stunned empty and stunned as was my heart, deserted by Him, forty years ago, on that sun-scorched beach to squirm and sizzle in the malignant heat. This is how we met, there, in another country, full of sunshine, wars and songs: Sun- stunned we met, then, on the beach, he looked at me shyly and asked, may I? I uttered,of course, and felt my heart leaping to my finger tips. He smiled, sat close, not touching me, playing mindlessly with a conch. Listen to the sea, he said, pressing the conch to my ear.I heard the sea simmering inside my brain:
    Beware, beware. But that same day his body moved on mine, and he cooed lustful words into my breasts, under my naked body sun- scorched- sand-of-noon, shifting, twisting, in a delirious swoon. He continued to coo lustful words into my breasts. I was burning, my brain inlaid with sea-shell-shards. The sea shuddering, whispering, seething, growling; the wind moaning mercilessly. Then, he tore his body from mine and stood up, looked at me from somewhere far above, and he murmured, shyly, thanks, and walked away. I watched his distancing back and saw waves-of-prey licking his feet, and the sea swelling, frothing in a primal rage, corpses of fishes floating on its waves, and it roared in a terrible pain, and the wind moaned mercilessly.

    So, when he calls on Friday, his voice fails to stir me and there is no spark in my soul, but I say, I’ll meet him at the Ritz at seven for dinner. What else can I do? Love of forty years is impossible to smother - just like that. “I’ll pick you up at your home,” he says. “OK,” I say (and scream at myself, and if I could I would have slapped my face,) because he wins again - he always does, and yet, my heart remains cold. Cold? Then why the tingle in my toes and my pulse beats like an engine in my throat? The hushed voice, whispers inside my head: you say you love me, you say you care. Why, then, you play rough with my feelings? You expose your cruel streak your low self esteem; it simply isn't fair. You say you're coming,t hen come or don't say, it makes you a lier and it makes me your aim.

    At school the teachers are agitated, stressed from a most intense week longing for home - so are the children, and, of course, me too.When I enter my house, I drop my purse on the couch and march straight to the mirror. “Mirror, mirror on the wall who is the dumbest of them all?”My face stares back at me tight and glossy - so what if I had a little help with stretching and all? “You’re so narcissistic,” whispers the hushed voice,after all: no one has benefited from your beauty, even a dog you didn’t train only yourself you pester, how do I look? What is my image today...” “Go away, leave me alone!” I shriek and thrust my fingers into my ears and begin to cry. I don’t change my clothes, nor take my makeup off. I go to the huge window and sit in my big black chair, smoke a cigarette and gaze into the street - how pretty: fall gazes back at me, benevolent but gloomy, the soft maple trees stand bare and ghostly in the pallid air and birds are only a vague memory of something cheerful and soft. I watch the evening shadows shroud the world and try not to think pestering thoughts. The chatter in my brain won’t cease, buzzing like millions of wasps, memories of yesteryear, when all was different. The hushed voice whispers: “remember? There, among the lemon trees and vineyards, through vivid sunrise and through dew, you didn’t walk in vain, your face was lifted towards the sky, basking in the milky way...” Of course I remember. How can I forget? But now I wish l to dwell in the silence of the mind, to be shut inside a cask. From time to time, carefully, pick outside, to breath for a moment the light, to smile at a child, and again dive into the silence of my mind, think, not see, expect nothing only be, for who am I, accept blood and tissues, hairs, and veins and rotting cells...” But here the hushed voice disappears, because, suddenly, through my window I see a drunk tottering in the street, his face broken into a million pieces, his hopes forgotten and dead. He sits on the low cement by my gate, with shaking hands tries to light a cigarette, but it’s too windy. He spits, he curses, he takes a swig from his bottle and begins to stumble but, he steadies himself and doesn't tumble. (Teddy cautions me repeatedly not to invite “strangers” into the house. “It’s too risky,” he says, “you might get yourself raped.” He’s aware of my weakness for the unfortunate, the miserable, the homeless...
    (But this is a subject to be explored somewhere else.) Teddy himself likes his wine strong and red. Anyway, the drunk walks away and disappears into the evening, carrying with him his shuttered image. A pretty young woman with a poodle on a velvet leash is trotting along the street, her eyes are dreamy, dreamy and a silly smile on her lips. A young man, wearing a turned around baseball hat, meets her. They laugh, they kiss, the hat falls, the poodle barks, but they pay it no heed. Standing under my window, their bodies are glued, they are licking each other lustily. Beware of the undertow, I want to scream, love is not what it seems. They vanish into the fog of delusion.

    When Teddy comes home, deep evening has gathered the city into its shadows, the world calmed down.
    The soft maple trees have become spirits. “My one and only,” Says Teddy, devouring me with kisses.
    I bury my face in the soft nook of his neck and implore him not to let me go out with him – to keep me at home, where I am safe and warm. But Teddy is deaf to my supplications, because, of course, I only say it inside my head.

    So, you be my judges, doesn’t it serves me right?

    I have a slash in my heat- an ancient wound, if you open my brain you’ll see bleeding lacerated, unhealed scars, but, also, the old fire that still burns in me –for there isn’t enough earth to extinguish it...

    Seven o’clock: I wait. The doorbell rings.I don’t stir. Teddy glances at me, amused. I shrug my shoulders.Teddy gets up and opens the door and who do you think is standing there with a smile as wide as a summer night
    and eyes as wet as rain, if not my old knight. He looks at Teddy and me, smiling at us quietly. “Are you ready doll?” He asks gently, then shakes Teddy’s hand and says, “Hi, Ted, nice to see you.” “Sit down,” says Teddy, ”Would you like a drink?” “No thanks,” He answers, “perhaps some other time.” “Bye,” says my Teddy, “enjoy the evening,” and he pats my head, as if I were his daughter, then gives me a hurried kiss. My heart doesn't crumble, it moans, and as I walk to the door, I trip on the rug (like the drunk. Remember?) and almost tumble – four arms reach out to hold me, but my ears are ringing and I begin to snort. I kick the wall. No one sees, no one knows, because, it isn’t me, its only my ghost. I shoot a murderous look at Teddy, but he merely smiles and pinches my cheek and I am tempted to hit him, but immediately the hushed voice is there to remind me, when I met Teddy, he came in the dark, took my hand, led me, a bride, into the light that at first was merely a hesitating flicker, then, burst splashing a wondrous shadow. We entered.Teddys hand never left mine, he breathed my breath, he understood me. Although I knew that I'll return to the dark, I glided into the calm of his hand holding mine.

    And so it was: He and me, again, going into the night–so far away from that white burning beach where we first met forty years ago. He holds my hand and says for the millionth and one time, “You’re so pretty doll.” But I am not as quick as all that, I am still thinking of the drunkard, of Teddy and of the love-stricken lady. He kisses me, they all fade except Teddy. “I love you,” He says, his voice, deep, caressing and steady–suddenly my Teddy disappears too. My world turns crazy.

    (About the rest of that evening the other voice will tell you. Please, listen. Don’t quit on me just yet. Please, try to understand. It might not be easy.)

    The rest of that evening is peaches and cream dimmed lights and pink champagne poisoned with dreams, gray snails on a blood-red platter,slippery and slimy as the gutter. Murmurs wafting in the smoke-filled-air
    and memories of love lurking everywhere.Shadows- like touches. words filled with lies and ashes. Hollow shadows grinning wide like jackals on a starlit night. Time is bewitched, I am glowing, I am flying, but between us a wall of fog is lying. I am hateful and my body tears. flutter of lips in the dark like the flutter of moths’ wings. From a black man, like lava from a dark mountain,irrupts love songs that even God has forgotten...Suddenly: a scorching heat, a whisper, “are you with me, my love?” I know, as always, the time has come to part, I feel, the familiar stony silence fills my heart.

    At ten, He brings me back home, sits with me on the porch, kisses my lips in a beastly heat, then, abandons me, as he always did (his wife is waiting.) I sit on the steps, bury my face in my hands and slowly return to myself.
    As I open the door, I see Teddy still staring at the television as if enchanted, because, naturally, he takes the whole thing completely for granted. “Hello, my love,” he says, “did you enjoy yourself?” He isn’t joking, but I detect a slight tension
    in his eyes. “I drank a lot of champaign and had a ball, I say.” Teddy laughs, His face relaxes. “Give us a kiss, My love, eh,” he says and slaps his knee. I go to him, sit in his lap wrap my arms around his neck, While his gentle voice is still vibrating in my brain, the champaign, buzzing confusion in my head. “But do you love me?” Asks Teddy, as he kisses my eyes.

    Enough! I’ve had it for today! I run to my room get the old, reliable bong out of its secret place and inhale grass until
    I my brain peels. Then, I shed my clothes, mummer a curse, and like a worm, squirm into my bed, covering my head, Thinking, what a mess, I must stop this or else…But, What a waste, because, I love them both. And I know, I’ll never let go, not of Teddy And not of him...

    Freaky huh?
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