Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Her Legs

I saw her only three times, although we had 'talked' a lot on the internet; we had joked, quarrelled and exchanged secrets: for my part, sexual fantasies; for her part, ideas about life’s frustrations; confessions from both of us; insults from me.

We became friends engaged in a sort of love-hate relationship

Somebody had introduced her to me: a graduate from a big British university who studied Arabic and many other things and wanted to stay in an Arabic capital for some time to try her hand at, and tongue, in Arabic.

We met for the first time in a café in Cairo that she had chosen. She had already lived there for a year and knew something about Egypt. She had travelled around a bit, failed in love with useless boys younger than her (she likes boys younger than her 32 years of age), slept around a bit, been disappointed a lot and humiliated by Egyptians - ignorant snoops who considered her an outsider.

She arrived with the opinion of the female character in E.M. Forster’s great novel and film “Passage to India“, but her ending was not so tragic... because she is still young and much sneakier, and has returned to her middle class life in England (which she hates).

The moment I first saw her in the café I was not sure that I liked her; she was preparing for her not so grand exodus from Egypt after spending some weeks fucking an arsehole Egyptian, pretending she had failed in love with him and in his plan for her to work and live in a small restaurant café in a small touristy oasis, surviving as a fucking foreign women in exchange for the limousines and projects which she would never then achieve.
She is clever enough to discover quickly (though sometimes not quick enough) her mistakes. The second time I saw her was when an arsehole, a former friend of mine, was using her (with her permission) sexually; I cannot say “making love” or even fucking her, but using her to show her that he has a penis and, according to her own words in a letter to me, “he admires his penis”.

I would like her to explain something; using my knowledge about her and about the world, I believe she let herself be abused by men because she uses sex as a punishment upon her own body that longs to be free sexually; she humiliates herself by allowing herself to be abused (and sometimes even looking for abuse).

That one time I was there, she wanted me to be a witness to how far she can go in humiliating herself. We had been exchanging ideas about stories and a book I wanted us – and proposed to her - to write together. She showed me her clever side - her high IQ, her sensitivity, her elegance. Then she wanted to tell me “look I can be a whore and a bitch... I am just as much a cunt as the Arabs think I am”. The three of us were sharing the same space; she was been abused in the dark on the other side of the room. I felt sad for her, also helpless. I took a sleeping pill and tried to sleep. I could not sleep deeply. I awoke at dawn; she was moving silently and carefully trying to find water to drink. She was in her underwear (I think it was white) and in the pale light coming from the window I saw her long slender legs. It was a strange moment for me; she was walking awkwardly and was a bit embarrassed because we had seen each other.

I met with her the following morning; I was not in a good mood, and she was also upset because she was leaving Egypt in a sort of disgrace. I suggested that we see each other in the evening and have a drink (to say farewell to her). She came, but she told half dozen of people she knew about the appointment. I was annoyed; I didn’t want to sit with people whom I do not know and did not invite to have a drink. After a while I moved from her table and joined some friends at their's. I was thinking: “What a silly arsehole; if she does not want to see me then why did she agree to come and bring all those good for nothing arseholes with her. I decided then and there to stop any contact with her.

Which I did.

Although she apologised for what she had done, I stuck by my decision. After a while she began to appear from time to time on the net, and to send mails. She is – as I said – highly intelligent. That is also her curse, and maybe mine too!
So we began again to “speak” to each other again. In one of my moods I told her what I think about her legs: how they are great, but they take her to the wrong places and to the wrong people. The Midas touch in reverse: whatever her legs “touch” changes to something ugly: places; men and herself.

She accepts this metaphor reluctantly, because she hates to connect her body with what she is doing in daily life. She enjoys sex but without liking it or admitting that she likes it.

I still remember the permanent expression on her lips: disgust. She reminds me of a child who is not happy and does not accept what is being done to her.

I still like her legs.

I am trying to like her.

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