Sunday, May 20, 2007

A desire frightening for the subject and the object

I watched a young male friend implode; and while I watched him writhe in agony, I feared more that he would explode over my bed.

I watched a friend lose his desexualised, nice, polite Palestinian face that the politically conscious girls greedily claimed, and take on a harder one stark with shadows and a desperate lust, that he insists he can only interpret as love. Love for a girl I don't care for - a silly, cold girl who used him to write her PhD proposal and then shouted at him on the phone, full of scorn, that his less than perfect text made her lose face.

I watched him show me eagerly the horrible love poetry he bombarded her with, it's Arabic words translated into a childish tongue. And interminable, sickly letters protesting, beyond his love, his great education and suitability, where the European girl cares little for mention of such considerations.

I listened to him cling to meaningless, throw-away compliments, that he interpreted as promises from her to him, her lover, believing he is her ultimate, in both senses, lover. And now she is with a new man, a base one: "But he is not even handsome", he keeps repeating, "and he is stupid: I destroyed him in a debate and she greatly admired me for this."

Sweet intelligent fool.

She cannot know, I'm sure, that she's the heir of a mercantile people, where marriage was business. In Palestine it is family ties, and we laugh at the sentimentality of kinship, and forget how we exchanged our daughters coldly for a commission or a contract.

He wanted to touch me - his friend who he had been too ashamed to tell of his now long-lost virginity, and suddenly confessed a passion for my lips.

Each night he suffers, he tells me, from wet dreams. His desire for sex is in his eyes almost catastrophic, hideous, whereas his love for the girl who took his virginity is beautiful and tragic. But our Young Werther has a penis and his great love is awful and unwanted.

Her lack of self-love makes his love intimidating, frightful, absurd.

And he fails to understand that what is sent/given in one spirit can be received/ignored coldly in another.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Beautifully observed Madny . Shame he didn't live to write more for those troubled like him; burdened by knowledge, art and childish instinct. Stuck in all places Egypt. Although one grows to love it unconditionally, it never fails to leave one helpless. I guess the trick like Ram is to work your magic in the detail of that which is much bigger than you.