Monday, June 12, 2006

Aloneness

...no cool postmodern denial can displace the sense of being engaged in something real. (Kim Mahood, Dancing the Country)

Sometimes she hears footsteps on the stairs and goes out to see who it is. No one. Just her imagination. Or this old house creaking again. Shrinking in winter, expanding in summer, tearing out of its paint and plaster so Vincent has to fix it up once every six months. Being a landlord is no joke, I can tell you.

The voices at night are the hardest. Do they come from outside her window? Across the street? She stares out desperately, trying to make out the shadows under the lamp post.

Living alone has done so much for her. She is free. No hassle of another body in her living space. And yet... it would be OK if the phantoms had not moved in and decided to take abode. She hears them listening to her breathe. She catches them whisking by in the periphery. They are gone by the time she turns her head.

Aloneness has a peculiar music to it. It is like a night of sighs, a body just about to orgasm, but not quite getting there. It leaves her with a sense of magic, a sense of possibility wrapped up in her limbs. Her languorous limbs. Sometimes she wishes she could find a lover for a night. Not a one-night-stand. Nothing so sordid.

Instead, a mysterious stranger on the Champs Elysee who asks her out for coffee and takes her to St Germain du Pres to that special cafe of Sartre and de Beauvoir. There he will tell her stories about his life as a plastic surgeon and how he fell in love with an opera singer he met in Geneva who unbuttoned her blouse to reveal a deformed breast. He will tell her about losing his virginity to an older woman who came up to him and his beautiful blonde twin brother and said: "You are pretty, I like you both. I will take one of you on holiday. Decide between yourselves." They toss a coin and he wins. Three days of waiting for her to come to him, wondering...and she snaps at him: "Taking your time is all very well, but this is ridiculous. How long do you expect me to wait for you?" Trembling, he makes his way into her adjoining bedroom and they...

Heady with the stories and wine, they kiss. And for that brief moment, she wants him. But he vanishes. Another phantom in this old house.

A vague longing. A hazy memory. A body about to orgasm but not quite getting there.

Aloneness, they say, has a peculiar music to it.

But you have to give up your desperation for something real to hear it.

13 comments:

part-time buddha said...

Are these regular phantoms that moved in, or are they some of Justin's flatulent ghosts?

part-time buddha said...

Nice post Jenn. Really. Makes me a little sad and a little lonely too. I think I'll go torture some squirrles with my singing.

goldennib said...

I hear voices all of the time. I've often thought I might be schizophrenic. I know I'm not, because they tell me I'm not.
(I'm writing an entry today about ghosts and voices, too. Different kinds, though.)

Evocative. Bittersweet.

Jenn said...

PTB: Justin's flatulent ghosts? I've never been so insulted! Humph! (Besides, my phantoms can make love to you, sort of)

Thanks. And I'm sure the squirrels loved your singing, and came around to listen.

Nessa: Thanks. Schizo? You mean psychic.

Grey Shades said...

Very melancholic! I'd go for a walk if I ever feel this way in the dead of the night. The air sorta clears my mind...

David Cho said...

Very nicely written. Who's Justin?

This kind of aloneness is perhaps a tad bit better than aloneness in a crowd. The peculiar music as you put it is disrupted by crowed noises around you.

Jenn said...

Grey Shades: Melancholic is my middle name. A little difficult to go out for a walk what with crime rate and everything...so I just watch another episode of MASH.

David: Justin is the famous Concept of Irony blogger...there is a link to his blog from mine.

As to your second point, I don't know about that. I usually manage to remain disconnected from the madding crowd, when I want to.

part-time buddha said...

Cool. I can't even get my own phantoms to make love to me. Please extend my apologies to your phantoms. Help them to understand that I'm basically a good guy but that I can't resist a good fart joke.

A thinker said...

hmm. Interesting.

Jenn said...

PTB: Haha. That's a good one. And they want you to know...that they are ready and willing...to frustrate your desire, anytime you feel like it.

A thinker: Thanks.

Justin said...

Jenn: Funny you should mention Sartre. My ghost tells this lame joke about "Beans and Nothingness."

I hate existential fart jokes.

Justin

Justin said...

david:
Hey.

justin

Jenn said...

Justin: When did I mention Sartre? Are you mixing him up with Bukowski again?

Beans and nothingness...lol.


I hope the ghosts have moved out and if they haven't, for crying out loud, make your way to Micronesia.

Babes galore.

Really!