Thursday, March 20, 2014

एकदम अकेली नहीं..

एटगर केरेट की एक कहानी..

Three of the guys she dated tried to commit suicide. She said that sadly but with a little bit of pride too. One of them even succeeded, jumped off the roof of the university humanities building and smashed his insides into thousands of pieces. On the outside he looked whole, even serene. She didn’t get to the university that day but friends told her. Sometimes, when she’s home alone, she can actually feel him there in the living room with her, looking at her, and when that happens, it’s scary for a minute, but it makes her happy too. Because she knows she’s not completely alone. As for me, she really likes me. Likes but isn’t attracted. And that makes her sad, as sad as it makes me, maybe even more. Because she’d really like to be attracted to someone like me. Someone smart, someone gentle, someone who really loves her. She’s been having an affair for a year with an older art dealer. He’s married, doesn’t plan to leave his wife, it’s not even an option. He’s someone she’s actually attracted to. It’s cruel. Cruel for me and cruel for her. Life would be much simpler is she were attracted to me.

She lets me touch her. Sometimes, when her back hurts, she even asks me to. When I massage her muscles she closes her eyes and smiles. “That feels good,” she says, “really good.” Once we even had sex. In retrospect, it was a mistake, she says. Some part of her wanted so much for it to work that she ignored her senses. My smell, my body, something between us, just didn’t click. She’s been a psych major for four years now and she still can’t explain it. How her mind wants to so much but her body just won’t go along with it. Thinking about that night we went to bed together makes her sad. Lots of things make her sad. She’s an only child. She spent a large part of her childhood alone. Her dad got sick, then was dying, then died. There was no brother to understand her, to console her. I’m the closest thing she has to a brother. Me and Kuti, that’s the name of the guy who jumped off the roof of Humanities. She can sit and talk to me for hours about anything. She can sleep in the same bed with me, see me naked, be naked around me. Nothing between us embarrasses her. Not even when I masturbate next to her. Even though it stains the sheets and makes her sad. Makes her sad that she can’t love me, but if it takes the edge off it for me, then she has no problem washing out the stains.

She and her dad were close before he died. She and Kuti were close too: He was in love with her. I’m the only guy close to her who’s still alive. In the end, I’ll start going out with another girl and she’ll remain alone. It’s bound to happen, she knows. And when it does, she’ll be sad. Sad for herself, but also happy for me, that I found love. After I come, she strokes my face and says that even though it’s sad, it’s also flattering to her. Flattering that of all the girls in the world, she’s the only one I think about when I masturbate. That art dealer she’s sleeping with, he’s hairy and shorter than me, but is he ever sexy. He served under Netanyahu in the army, and they’ve been in touch ever since. Real friends. Sometimes, when the art dealer comes to see her, he tells his wife he’s going to Bibi’s. Once she bumped into him and his wife in the mall. They were standing a few feet away from each other; she gave him a small, secret smile and he ignored her. His eyes were on her but they were completely blank, as if she were nothing. As if she were empty air. And she understood that he couldn’t smile back with his wife standing right there, or say anything to her, but even so, there was something very hurtful about it. She stood there by herself next to the pay phones and started to cry. That was the same night she slept with me. In retrospect, it was a mistake.
Four of the guys she dated tried to commit suicide. Two even succeeded. And they were the ones she cared about most. They were close to her, very close, like real brothers. Sometimes when she’s home alone she can actually feel us, Kuti and me, in the living room with her, looking at her. And when that happens, it’s scary but it makes her happy too. Because she knows she’s not completely alone.

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