all rights reserved by Amanda Stradi
In Paris I met the man who was to become my master.
Not that I was his slave.
I was his student. He, my Zen-sei.
He showed me that there is no goal and, really, no life outside the Absolute State.
I asked him what that was — the Absolute State.
He said he’d have to show me.
I asked if it was darkness and Void.
He smiled. His smile was somewhat cruel, I felt.
I asked then if it was glory and Eternal Light.
He laughed. The laugh sounded joyful. But I couldn’t be sure.
We were walking by the river. We stopped at a cafe. There were some bookstalls near it.
The water was glittering. It was spring.
I saw a young man and a girl in a blue skirt walk by.
She was very young. She kept brushing back a strand of dark hair, behind an ear.
I looked at that ear. It was pink, fresh, perfectly formed.
And the more I looked at the girl as she stood with one knee cocked and her dark eyebrows arched, talking furiously to the boy in French, the more beautiful she became, until I almost “swooned.”
I started trembling. My throat choked.
I looked at my Master. My Zensei.
-Is this the Absolute State?
He drank his coffee. Shook his head sadly.
-How can anything be more beautiful?
It was evening. The light was glorious. The girl began to laugh. She kissed the boy. He kissed her back hard. It looked as if he’d rape her right there. He put his hand on her breast.
They walked away quickly. They went down some stairs to the quay.
I knew. They were going to make love down there. By the river. In the glittering water reflections, the dense cool shadows.
Paris — the great, prolonged evenings. The air smells of sex.
My Master stood. His hair was gray at the sides, I noticed. His hands were thick, yet elegant. He didn’t dress with any special style, but he always appeared dignified — an “exiled prince.”
We walked in the spring-dense air, breathing the sweet humidity.
At the top of the stairs I looked down. I saw the boy moving on top of the girl. They were lying right on the stones. Her bare buttocks must be pressed to the gritty rock.
Her skirt was pulled up. I saw the flashing dark hair, the wide open cleft. Then I saw her hand close around his penis. She guided him into her, letting out a little bird-cry.
I blushed all over. I was shaking again. My Master took my head in his hands. He held it like flowers. He kissed me.
I tasted his tongue. He licked my teeth. I was shivering.
He led me about halfway down the stairs. I glanced down at the boy, thrusting fast, and the girl’s bare white legs clamped around his hips.
My Master, as he sucked my tongue, lifted my dress. I was naked underneath it, of course. He inserted himself. It was so sweet I whimpered.
Ah, I said. Ah.
The sky was almost dark. Lights were beaming. I orgasmed in a rush, clutching at him. He gasped and I felt the rush of heat as he came inside me.
I lowered my feet to the steps. Still trembling. His semen was flowing out of my “wound.”
I heard the boy shout. The girl groaned and cried out, too, as if cut with a knife. They’d both finished.
My Master led me back up the stairs. Clinging to his arm, leaning on him, I managed to walk.
We made our way along the brilliant river.
Later on, I asked him if this was the Absolute State.
We were in his book-lined apartment. I’d noted that many of the books were old. They smelled of dust and leather. A magical smell.
And some of the bindings more obscure signs I recognized as emblems of magic.
He gave me a drink. The ice cubes clinked in it. I’d just come out of the water closet. I’d wiped up the rest of his semen on tissues and flushed them down the toilet. Then I’d sat on the bidet and washed myself with a jet of warm water. Both openings.
-That was merely a taste.
-Of the Absolute?
-Can I experience all of it?
-You can’t experience it. It just manifests. It appears. It is.
-So we were partly there?
-We were about half in half out.
-So the Absolute State — I’ve heard you also call it the Perfection — is attained by way of letting go, and giving in to pleasure? Is that it? Is that why we were closer on the stairs by the quay than sitting in the cafe watching the boy and girl arouse each other? That’s it, right? Because in the cafe I was suffering, I felt suffused by this erotic anguish and longing, which blocked me out of the Absolute State. So you — you took me down the stairs to let me see what I wanted to look at, and to give me pleasure so that I’d stop obsessing about the girl. Correct?
He laughed, shaking his head a little at the questions.
Answering me like I was a child.
I sat on the sofa. My knees seemed very slender, and bare. Like the girl’s.
It was strange to still be naked under my dress. Hot and flushed, too.
My hair was cut short at the time. I was very aware of how it touched my cheeks when I angled my head.
Zensei had cut is short himself. I remember shutting my eyes. Feeling the cold scissors on my neck.
Why, why did he laugh so often at my questions?
He stood before the lighted bookcase. He was wearing his blue cardigan sweater. His face was in shadow. He looked swarthy, I thought — like a retired bullfighter, or a gladiator.
He shook the ice in his drink and took a sip of it. He had long, agile fingers.
He turned his head, and I saw the light in his eyes as he looked at me. Then he said:
-You’re right. The Absolute State, the Perfection, La Gloria — it can’t manifest when you’re longing and suffering from life. It happens suddenly when you’re not even aware of who you are anymore or what you’re doing. That’s why sometimes an orgasm can bring it on. So can other things.
-Pain, of a certain intensity. Fright, of the extreme sort. Just for example.
He shook the ice in his drink again. Laughed.
-Drunkenness. Absurdity. A witticism that makes you gasp and choke with laughter.
-Can you teach me more?