I kept the memory of her during the following days through some careful dynamic of my movements. Something that wasn’t mine and that I had not known before: it coded itself into my gestures. And now I found myself in her apartment: drinking in her colors, getting to know her. Anything can fade away, I thought, but she was a concentration of stimuli. As I was sitting on the couch and she was standing in the center of the room, it seemed to me there was a kind of concise focus there.
As if the whole room pulsated from that spot.
On her back she had – I only noticed this during that early December night – a tattoo with the motif by Alphonse Mucha. Near the climax, my eye was (accidentally so) caught by the tattoo: plunging into that magical whirl – it added something sharp, pale and floral to my orgasm. Even something Slavonic and macabre. I shuddered, though not so she’d notice, as I came out of her. As if it had been a strange underwater icy orgasm. (My ears were splitting with the drumming.) That was where all those – my thoughts continued a bit later to seek – unexpected and stunning illuminations came from. It was just the sun seen from above through the murky and darkening mass of water.
Afterwards, while I smoked a cigarette, I remembered a photograph of Gauguin sitting, barefooted, and playing Mucha’s harmonium. – I noticed it had been snowing outside.
I said something to her at that moment. She laughed. Her smile was such that it pulled her upper lip tight, so tight that it would lift a millimeter or so above the endline of her front teeth and her gums. Dangerous lines, bloodthirsty lines – I was tempted to think, but she immediately revealed another, softer side of her smile to me. As if she could have known that I attributed that last thought to a child’s perception which had suddenly floated into my mind from who knows where, she began: “The kind of child’s fear where you lose all your colors, and remain gray, like the object that scared you. When the only color that survives is the color of your bloodflow. That’s how I felt the day before yesterday. The fear of surprise, of voidedness, the fear of flabbergastedness, as if everything is being sucked out of you and you have been transformed into an icy minute of absolute slippage – mere observation of everything above everything.”
The next five or six days, as I remember, we weren’t in touch, and then she asked me to visit again. In the meantime I was feeling displaced in a strange and new kind of way. As if something was happening with my eyes, day after day, as if something was off-kilter with my wakedness, as if I was flooded by a sense of dimness and convolution. But when I found myself next in her apartment I noticed something similar in her. The shift between each of her looks which were supposed to be signaling completely opposing moods – that shift tended to slip into invisibility to such a measure that each look ended up being exactly like the other. As if the second look needed in some way to manage to remain embedded within the first. And only a certain decrease in the energy flow, which in moments could be felt, pointed towards a lack of resolution and a quiet evolution of some scary quiver inside.
If we met later in the day, the evening would gain in density, and if we came together earlier the air around us would seem clearer to me. One afternoon she placed her hand onto the arch of my foot and, almost immediately, I fell asleep. When she would cup my testicles with her warm hand a few moments before orgasm, something would burst inside of me, something like a flower breaking free, and for a moment I would feel taken care of. A deep, indescribable sadness overcame me when, some other time, she caringly rolled them into her mouth and began to knead and roll – I almost cried: finally intimacy. Her distant whisper would erect my thought even during the time we spent apart. I had a sense that she was being gentle towards me in places where I could feel it the most. It seemed to me that her smile meant forgetting everything that ever had been bad and the creepiness I had felt when her lips went over the endline of her teeth and her gums during our fist night together completely slipped my mind.
It is odd how Pavle could be charismatic and mentally unreliable at the same time – this was for me something quite new as I used to think charismatic people had to be calculating. However, truth be told, Pavle was primarily in control of other lives which allowed him to simulate hyperself-control and live of the fumes of that foam (while managing to delude himself with virtuosity and success for a long time). It seemed, though, as if he allowed circumstance to guide him (which I perceived as the root of his cynicism). And when he told me all those things about her, he was doing it then as well. I knew she had been on the verge of committing suicide. “On the verge of suicide? She was on the verge of the window sill. She stood on the sill and then she gave up. Something told her that she would accomplish nothing by it, that she would only come into existence in some other form. You know that Valerija is poetic.” He also added that I probably wasn’t aware of her three days and nights spent (on Ecstasy) in Soko-grad.