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Authors: Florence Dugas

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BOOK: Dolorosa Soror
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***

Slowly I return to consciousness. "How did you know?" "Know what?'

"Why did you ask me to undress like that?" "Oh! That! I telephoned J. P. on another matter this morning, and he told me about last night." "Why?"

"So I would know, I imagine."
1
She kisses me on the cheek.
"You know, I think we love being whipped for different
reasons."
She kisses me again.
"Nathalie?"
"Yes?"
"Do you really like being beaten?'
She looks at me. Against the light her eyes appear darker
than normal'.

"I like to be hurt,".she says. "I like it when someone hurts me. Often, standing in front of a mirror, I torture myself with needles, burying them into my breasts, until I transform them into pin cushions, martyred Saint Sebastians. You've never tried it?"

What to say?

"I don't know," I answer. "Honestly, I don't. Each time I tell myself I will refuse, that the last time was truly the last, and the instant afterwards, I hold out my wrists for him to bind and I have a lump in my stomach that slowly disappears with each blow. Though I cry and beg him to stop, I am aware that another 'me'—and truly it is as if I were another person—offers her buttocks and arches her back and waits for the blow to come.

"When he hits me, I think of nothing—nothing more than the sensation of my torn skin. I want it to stop and I want it to last forever. But afterwards, when I am no more than a mass of burning, a thousand things come to mind. Amidst the pain, at a certain moment, a memory floats to the surface, and each time it seems I am going to grasp it. Not a memory of physical pain: the brain does not remember physical pain. No. It's as if my torn skin were a metaphor of mute suffering, buried."

"Your parents," Nathalie said.

What, my parents? The explosion of fights, and me trembling alone in my room. Once, the noise of blows, cries. And in the end, the obligation to choose between them. Who can choose between one love and another?

I suddenly realize that in J. P. and Nathalie I am trying to reconstruct that fatal couple, my parents, though I treat Nathalie like a little girl most of the time—if only to punish her. I have the fantasy of being beaten by my father as he beat my mother— as he made her suffer, in any case.

"I don't think so," continues Nathalie. "Look farther. Fantasies are screens that keep real memories from rising to the surface."

The fantasy of punishing the womb from which I came— punishing it for all my suffering, and all of hers, as well. Is it an accident that these last few times I have concentrated my whipping on her sex?

"You're stupid," I say. "That's got nothing to do with it."

***

Later in the afternoon, we are in the bathroom. With the shaving cream J. P. sometimes uses, we smear our mounds with soap, then shave each other with the razor he gave me.

Not without doing some damage. The razor slides with a screech to the edge of our delicate labia. Several tiny nicks. The blood wells up in the foam. It stings a little.

Afterwards, we go back to bed and with tweezers, depilate each other very patiently, completely. Even I do it, who can barely tolerate the depilation of my "bikini line," as they say, because each plucked hair is a trauma in miniature that irritates the area until, little by little, I can't be touched at all. We get in the sixty-nine position, our eyes buried in each other's pussies, making each other smooth and hairless up to our buttocks. It's unforgettable.

Aflame, we roll atop each other. Her crotch is smooth against mine—two pubescent little girls' groins, girl-children with women's breasts. Her mound is as cool as a cheek, her mons quite round, like little buttocks. Her tongue runs over my sex, plays with its most sensitive parts, buries itself in my vagina, explores it lazily, to the depths.
She rolls against me, takes my face in her hands, and kisses me. Her tongue rolls against mine like a wet finger. "It's true that women taste salty."

Of the two of us, I am again the only one who comes, and when I do, I come hard.

***

Next shot: I am sitting on the edge of the bed. Nathalie is on
her knees between my open thighs. I lean over and grab her by the hair, my hands full, so I can raise her face to mine. I kiss her passionately and tell her I love her. And then, my eyes on hers, I piss on her breasts.

The jet rebounds against my knees and calves, spills to the floor, surrounds my feet. The strong odor of urine rises toward us.

She frees her face from my hands, bends over, and begins to drink the last drops at the source.

Two days later we are dressed, ready to go out. I call to her; she already has her hand on the door latch. "Nathalie?" "Yes?"

"Come here. Get on your knees, please."

I take off my underpants, hitch up my skirt, and jam my already gaping sex against her mouth. Then, deliberately, I piss. She swallows.

She doesn't miss a drop.

It became a game between us. Often—and in the most compromising or unexpected places—a door, a public garden, or between two parked cars—I humiliated her in this manner—or honored her, as you like.

I especially remember one night on the Quai de Bethune, at the tip of the He Saint-Louis. A hot spot of gay cruising. There is a streetlight there; it's also where the riverboats taking tourists up and down the Seine turn.

She leaned me against the streetlight while a boat full of spotlights and onlookers turned fifteen feet away, and she drank from me, lengthily, lovingly.

***


"Tiresias," J. P. says, "was originally an ordinary young man.

But one day, while walking through a clearing, he met two coupling serpents. Did he disturb them? Did he kill them? Little matter, but there he was, suddenly changed into a woman.

"Seven years later, again walking through a clearing...two serpents coupling...he disturbs them and kills them...In an instant, he's a boy again.

"Some time after that, a fight among the gods. 'In matters of love, men really have it good,' say the goddesses. 'But you women have it best,' protest the gods. The idea (a bad one!) to ask Tiresias, who after all has been both sexes. Called before them, he reveals that if pleasure were composed of ten portions—like Camembert—women would get nine, and men one.

"Hera, outraged that one of Zeus's ex-wives had already eaten her piece—and that Tiresias had betrayed the great secret passed from mother to daughter—blinded him. Zeus, moved to pity by such treatment, but not being able to reverse it—a little like the story of Sleeping Beauty, in which the evil spell cast by the spiteful old fairy cannot be nullified—gave Tiresias as compensation the gift of second sight. And seven lives."

"Nice story," I said.

"That's why he knows everything, from the very beginning, about the secret of Oedipus. And if you connect that to the passage from the Banquet on the myth of the androgyne..."

"Well, am I looking for my masculine complement or my feminine double?"

"We aren't coming back to that again, are we? You're looking for your own and the other sex. One cock in front, one behind."

"God, you can be vulgar!"

"But why? Does it bother you so much to say you like to be buttfucked?"

"It's the word I don't like. It's off the mark, metaphorically. Somebody who gets buttfucked is a bastard, a jerk. Or an idiot."

"Okay. sodomized, if you like. You like to be sodomized. Very deeply. Your asshole is as open as a cow's. Gaping."

"J.P .!"
We burst out laughing.

Notes

1.Thus I allowed myself from time to time the illusion of continuing to manipulate them, whereas I was only, and more and more rarely, a tool, a strategy of love.

 

Chapter IX

Christmas

 

I needed to cover her with resounding jewels, as the poem says, so we went into a rather dimly lit boutique full of barbaric baubles on the Rue Saint-Andre" des Arts. Very heavy necklaces and bracelets, combinations of worked metal and polished gem-stones, iron, copper, and feathers.

We tried on every piece of this flashy paraphernalia, one after the other. The dull color of iron sliced into the pale pink of her sweater and the more luminous pink of her neck and hands. I sampled all sorts of earrings, looking for something that lengthened my neck, which I find a bit short.

"It's too bad," I said, "that you don't have pierced ears. They don't have clip earrings here."

The salesman approached us. His skin was a mix of black and yellow little seen outside of the Antilles. His eyes were very clear, his nose small, just barely flattened, and his lips thin.
"If you want to get your ears pierced, I have everything we need, and it doesn't hurt at all, you know." I knew. Nathalie hesitated. "My mother never wanted me to," she said. Was that an objection? I took it as an acceptance. Besides, she wasn't protesting.

"Wait here," said the so-exotic salesman.

He came back with a little pistol. He disinfected her earlobe with alcohol—the odor instantly invaded the tiny boutique— then pinched the lobe into the mechanism and pierced it, at the same time installing a gold-balled stud. One ear, then the other. Nathalie bore the procedure with great dignity. Hardly batted an eyelash when the needle pierced her lobe.

"Good girl," I said, touching her cheek.

Then I turned toward the man.
"Make a second hole in her left ear, above the other, please." She moved as if to get up, then sat down again. "That's going to hurt a little more," he said. "Miss has tiny earlobes. I will have to pierce the cartilage." "Go ahead," I said.

Just a little more painful. She grimaced, then quickly recovered.

"There."
She got up.
"And don't forget," added the salesman, "that you must
rotate the studs regularly, for several days, so the holes don't close."

We paid for our purchases, including the little operation, and left. I was in a hurry to see her naked, laden with these dark and excessive jewels.

The idea struck me several hours later, after having made love to her. We were lying spoon-fashion; she had her back to me, and her buttocks were against my belly. I had my left arm around her and was playing with her nipples.

I raised myself up, leaned on my right elbow, kissed her neck, the roots of her hair, behind the ear. She purred.

I looked at her ear. A little blood had crystallized behind the lobe. I took the heads of the studs, one after the other, and turned them gently. She jerked her shoulders slightly, then let me do it.

Two rings of different sizes, long hoops usually reserved for
necklaces, which would show off the pale blond of her hair and the mother-of-pearl of her neck...

Why just the ears? I suddenly thought.

I returned to the boutique. The salesman recognized me, of course. Hurried over.

"Tell me, with your ear-piercing gun, what else can you pierce?"

"The nostril," he proposed. "Or anything, provided I can pinch the flesh. However, on certain areas, it's better to have recourse to ancient methods, or else the wound heals over too readily. And then there are places where it's not easy to rotate the studs, no?"

I did not want him to get lewd.
"The nipples, too?" I asked.
"Of course. That's done very often, you know."
Did not want him to entertain me with other people's fantasies.
"Very well. Until tomorrow, then." "I'm closed tomorrow." "Monday, then."

I had told her to wear a black sweater and a skirt. She arrived at around three o'clock.

"No, don't take off your raincoat, we're going back out."

There were two tourists in the boutique, and we waited like good girls for them to leave. Nathalie seemed both surprised to find herself there again and intrigued by the situation.I wore the blank, absent expression I reserved for the times I mistreated her.
"Come back here," said the salesman. He had us go into the boutique's back room, and went to close the shop's front door.

"We won't be disturbed here," he said.

The space was cramped and badly lit. He flicked a switch; a lateral spotlight came on, illuminating the center of the bunker's tight perimeter.

"First the nose," I said. "The left nostril."

He again used the little pistol. Nathalie looked at me intently. The odor of alcohol was even more stifling in the airless corridor.

The man was deft but, whether due to apprehension or greater sensitivity, she was in much more pain this time. A drop of blood pearled, rolled down the curve of her nose, and stopped at the edge of her hp. God, she was beautiful like that!

After this was done, I said, "Take off your sweater, please."

My voice was dry, tinged with a moved coldness. She obeyed without commentary. Underneath, she was wearing a push-up bra made of black and silver lace, and I asked myself briefly, for the thousandth time perhaps, where in the world she found the money to buy herself such trinkets.

"The bra, too."

Her breasts seemed to burst forth under the track light's glare. The salesman trembled in his immobility. He turned around, got something from behind him, and returned to us.

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