Принц Папа Жан


More than four years have passed since the evening when I applied brush to canvas. From that evening on I started feeling acute hunger for painting. I sculpted breasts, thighs, cunts. Waves, resembling feminine forms. Rocks resembling male firmness, sunk into the vulnerable flesh. After each picture I felt relief as after a coitus. It lasted seconds and then again followed hunger and the next picture. I saw the ghost which made me live in that way and inspired me in every cloud behind every corner in each and every natural form, in every woman.
I painted the miracle and it always slipped and no matter how perfect the picture was life was still imperfect. Its absence and at the same time its constant presence threw me into despair. I often told myself: “That is fantasy, Papa Jan! An aspiration for perfection and it is merely a road! You won’t discover it!”
And again hungry and passionate I stood before the next canvas. I touched it with the brush and the breast came to life for me to ask: “Who are you?”After that the search started anew accompanied by despair till in the end the w o n d e r revealed itself before my eyes!
It happened in a lift. Now I clearly recall that before I got into it deep down I knew it will happen and that would alter my destiny. I felt furious, dumb excitement which I didn’t know how to interpret.
The lift in the Palace of Culture was packed . Many were those who wished to hear the lectures of Materius Rozenkreuzer. The Knight of the Sorrowful Countenance of metaphysical longings. The critic of the Mefisto reason. The banner of the rebellion of scepticism. I, too, wanted to hear them and maybe to make his acquaintance without supposing that this accidental step will turn into such a U-turn of my emotional life.
I mentioned the fact that the room taking us upwards was jam-packed, nor could I avoid chance contact with the woman. I felt the thrill. A moment later – an erection which I tried to control by force of will. My embarrassment fluctuated from pleasant warmth, to icy quivers and then again warmth. Something snapped. Our hands touched. I saw the radiance of her fingers which fastened upon my hand. A spark went off. The others did not see it. But she was smiling at me. I felt shackled like a hero from a nightmare.I wanted to do something, to think something but couldn’t. My thoughts scattered and the packed lift was to move for ages.My hand trembled and I touched her thighs under the flimsy dress. She felt the touch and smiled enigmatically – a smile of falling clothes. Mocking, serious, innocent and perverted. A smile of a woman knowing what she wanted but did not expecting to know it. A radiance of a saint and a courtesan. Broken chains. Such as can fire you up and madden you. Such over whom wars are fought. A smile from the colours of my paintings. Odd and somehow incomplete. Inexplicable. Brief as if she never had been. And illusion, a magic…
But it was not so! Our eyes had met and drank on each other. The expression of hers was quite different from that of her lips. She seemed flustered like she was afraid of something. Maybe from the contact or maybe – wounded – she wanted no more pain. … We communicated with our eyes and the dialogue maddened me. “But what? That was a chance touch!” I excused my action before myself but my heart was throbbing wildly. It was no chance contact. It was real sex. The naked girl in the forest of my fantasies and the breasts from my first picture. The unbridled fervour with which I was painting and with which masturbated and sometimes spilled my sperm onto the canavses. A seemingly involuntary touch but actually a perception of lava, incomparably more powerful than those in the bed of any other woman and my paintings.
“I’ll have this woman!”

She was like a swallow. Hazelnut… Ethereal… Slimlegged. Her lips – full, kissing even when not actually kissing and at the same time a prominent childish caprice, inspiring nothing else but innocence…

I wished not to hurt them but ro sear them with kisses. I longed to submerge them in my passionate saliva and sperm. I wanted to smear them with paint with which they would paint all my works. I wanted them to bite me and me to bite them, to watch them biting off a piece of sandwich or a banana, or a snake’s head. Spontaneously and madly to kiss the body of the fictitious prince in the forest and to groan and groan…
I was not my own self anymore…
I was going to have this woman.
At long last the vehicle stopped on the floor where lectures were to start any minute now. As soon as got there, she hurried up to Materius Rozenkreuzer, the prime mover of the event. She kissed him a discrete and wifely kiss on the cheek.
My stomach suddenly hurt as though I was bathed in cold water, sobering me. I felt robbed by the very ban I had just imposed upon myself.
I listened distractedly to the lecture. The three hours seemed an eternity and I still felt I was in the lift, my wild urges teaching me more than the shared intellectual achievements of the genius, passionately and stylishly uttered.

“What more can I get from you, you philosopher of genius, surely nothing more than her!What more can you tell me than the savage lust I felt in my loins!”
I was up in the air!
At the close of the lectures I did not realize how my legs took me to the doctor of philosophy, wearied by his rhetoric and the woman who was his wife and not the woman who had crazed me inside the lift.
“Papa Jan!” I introduced myself.
“An eccentric painter!
I laughed. She again smiled at me. Thus we seemed to have a secret all our own. As if inside the lift our fingers had not touched but we had made love and the wetness of my sperm above her thighs had not yet dried up.
“My name’s Irina. I’m very pleased to meet you,”warbled the swallow.
The dumb dialogue was proceeding furiously.
“I’ll have you!All taboos end here! Good, evil end just as everything at all ends except the ecstasy!”
Rozenkreutzer was smiling his medievally scholastic smile as if he understood everything and was ridiculing it all.
“What the hell…”
“What the hell!” I did not realize how I uttered that phrase.
“In our time words themselves are the hell and…” Materius Rozenkreutzer started on his lectures once again.
“You seem very nutty to me!” I thought irritated.
“What did you say?” smiled Irina.
“Did you say what the hell?”
“I wanted to say I am very keen to show you my paintings and their photo-copies, of course… Yes, and let’s have a drink on that which is happening in this hall because as from today Bulgaria would be a different country. Even if a single intellectual is to be re-educated he would carry along with him thousands of people and for their part they’ll… However in the world did that thought occur to me!”
Her eyes sparkled with curiosity. It turned out she herself was also trying her hand at painting. Half an hour later we all relaxed somewhat. Photocopies of the pictures went from hand to hand and apart from exclamations “Oh!” and Ah!” they were the subject of numerous half-baked intellectual interpretations about style which betrayed a great deal of grinded cliches and very few free bytes of feeling. I don’t know where all that egghead crowd came from at the last moment. I was used to that, at any rate. On such occasions when time for drinking comes there’s no way but know-alls turned up en masse anyway. It’s most pleasant to indulge in clever talk at table. It’s different before a blank canvas of an audience of intellectuals whom you have to convince of your own truth. In fact the only words I heard were those of Irina and Materius. Though he admitted he knew next to nothing about painting, he gave me quite a few valuable ideas about the philosophy behind my paintings and even told me things I had not thought of before but had put in my picture by intuition.
It was Irina, however, who administered the crucial blow. The word she pronounced shed light on all of my works. Up to that moment my style did not have a name and thereby it was enfranchised and uncanonically lively. This, however, created difficulties when exhibitions of my works were staged and I myself did not always realize clearly what exactly I was meant to say with my next picture. It seemed I had forever been captive of the modern devil, the intellect.
“Energy lyzism!” she said.
“What!” I exclaimed in surprise.
“Lyzis – dissolution! Universal dissolution of everything into everything else via your own energy.”
I had an uneasy feeling she had been reading my thoughts. I needed a name for my art. She seemd aware of that even before I had told her about it. I felt happy. An eternal instant passed and I was in love with her. Just like that, in a thrice. In the same way as several hours before I had desired her erotically.
“You will be mine!…” I muttered softly, so as not to be overheard and felt desperate. I was falling in love and was aware I had to because in her I had recognized the ghost compelling me to paint. That evening an about-turn in my life was taking place. Without which, even if unhappy, I would live a normal life. Without dreams, prejudices, lifts… Towards the bottom of the universe, beyond each and every taboo, beyond good and evil…
The three dogs were tearing the cow to pieces and were soon to get at my body, huddled like an innocent embryo. I wanted to satisfy their lust as when I desired to satisfy my predatory erotic passion and sweet yearnings. My second funeral. The first was with her.
“I want my freedom!” hissed the swallow which had become a snake. “I love you but more than you it is my freedom I love.”
I was getting savage. At that moment she did not even suspect she was near her death. With a single movement of my hand I could have broken her slim neck.She had maddened me. She had awakened the lone wolf in me. I tried to control myself. Everything was becoming rediculous and shabby. We had already been lovers for a long time and had fogotten those weary times when we could be together only for an hour or two while making the rounds of the marketplace in our neighbourhood. It was a long time since we made love by exchanging glances only, dreaming of a night like that after my exhibition in Varna.
We made love fot the first time. It was wild and passionate. I don’t remember if there was a full moon but we were in the state of the wild moon. It was seemingly a hallucination. She didn’t seem to wish it to have happened. At least she seemed to be playacting skillfully. There followed the eternal ages in which we only met when shopping. We touched deliberately by chance and like children felt obliged to have a false alibi for every contact and each stolen minute together. Our desire knew no bounds, no limits to craziness which the soul can sustain, no boundaries to dreaming, to masturbation, to poetic metaphors, to any paranoid forms of expectation… It went beyond all things admissible…
It was inadmissible that we should ever part. It was inadmissible we should be together. It was inadmissible that we should hide. It was inadmissible we should come out into the open. So, when nothing was admissible for us, there came the moment when we realized we could not get anything out of this phase in our adventure. We abandoned our expectations and in an embrace found solace. “You made me feel a woman!” she groaned lustily. “You made me… You…”
“Who are you?” I kept on asking and saw her in my unfinished paintings.
“The love triangle has never brought anything good to anybody!” close friends warned me who did not close their eyes to what was happening between us…

Wisdom and delight. What the hell! I knew it, but what of that? What does delight mean? It would have been cruel otherwise. Perhaps it was cruel just as it was. I learned to anticipate her thoughts, was fearful and that perplexed me. At first she was like a swallow and the resemblance was beautiful. Then I realized swallows are migratory birds. I was not entitled to more than I was getting. I had no wish to deprive her of her freedom which would have killed her. We were gradually bound closer together. The freedom I enjoyed not less than she did seemed worthless to me. The goals I had set myself before meeting her were now lacking any happy meaning. Without her all my experiences were of no value without her. She had caused something to happen to me which I had never believed possible. She had appropriated me. And step by step she revealed her cruelty. t times I felt like her tame boar, satisfying her animal urges.At other times I felt a fool for feeling like her boar because she revealed her love and was playing no games. I have enough experience with women in my life to know when a woman is playacting, whether she be a comedy actress, a prostitute or a born swindler.At times I was happy, at times fearful lest I lose everything I had.
It was odd. I didn’t even know what it was.I wished to understand but perhaps that could have put an end to everything. A beloved or simply a mistress?! Was it love or merely a panting passion?! If I could answer these questions I would perhaps spoil their mysterious fascination… The mystery of my dreams and their whirlwind…
She again uncovered her demoniac ego. We hed fled everyone and were in an abandoned shepherd’s hut high up in Rila Mountain. While we were making love we perceived the birth of divinity, the mystery of innocence and full emancipation. Then we practised meditation. We made love again but not with our bodies: rather with the vitality rid of reason and with our stellar proto-images. Shining ghosts, writhing like snakes, chased one another and tied themselves into knots. Involuntarily, our lips whispered the mantra:
“I love you,
I love you,
I love you…”
Our hands were outstretched and our fingers touched…
“Let us preserve it!” she unexpectedly said and her voice was so different it acted upon me like a cold shower and suddenly the hideout of innocence turned into a lone abandoned shepherd’s hut which stank of sweating bodies and mildew. The eternal and divine woman suddenly turned into an ordinary dishevelled beauty and her vagina resembled a dirty Gypsy. This re-incarnation excited me. She tore down the clothes of my dreams and from an idea she again became a woman.
Her eyes, however, were staring straight at me. I felt like a schoolboy unprepared for his exam. “Let us preserve the distance!” she said again. “But does it exist at all?” I asked irritably and was about to let my hands drop down but I didn’t do it. “I feel like you are a part of myself. We are one. Believe me, there is such a thing as love!”
“It exists as long as there is distance!” the swallow was not flying off: she was becoming a snake. “Don’t withdraw your hands. Don’t you either pull them away or push them closer. Preserve the distance lest we cool off. Don’t draw near lest we are torn apart…”
“These are poetic interpretations,” I irritably reacted, displeased to have been aroused from my sleep. “What’s come over you?”
“It’s the truth. Don’t touch me lest you tear me apart. Don’t do it lest I spoil you. Don’t distance yourself in order to possess me longer…”
I believed her. There was insanity in her stare which bothered me. I forgot my dream and my senses were aroused.
“What’s come over you Irina?” I anxiously asked. “Someday it will all end, no doubt. Let’s preserve part of ourselves to ourselves. We can’t be selfless in our love because we are too narcissistic to love anyone other than ourselves. Via the other we merely touch ourselves. That’s assisted masturbation.” I shrivelled as I got slapped in the face.
I kept stretching out my hands though I knew not why. She spoiled everything. She behaved like a schoolgirl filling her emtoional emptiness with hypotheses about love. She needn’t have done it right now. We had fought and suffered for that moment. For it to be powerful, delicious and fiery. For such along time we had been keeping at a distance considerably bigger than the space between my fingers. In an instant she negated it all. What more did she want? I loved her and for an instant I reproached her and forgave her thousands of times. I was puzzled. I failed to understand and sought to blame myself. Desperately I grasped her hand. She pulled back furiously but failed to wrench herself free. It was worse to have been slapped in the face by her than by any other woman. I flew into a rage… I was not sure was in control of my movements while she – angrier than me – was pulling herself away and was furiously shouting. At one moment she managed to extricate herself. I got hold of her once again. I pulled her down. I sank my lips into her breasts. She struggled madly. She writhed like a snake. This produced an even more powerful arousal in me and I passionately started kissing her breasts. She tried to wrench herself away but was not strong enough to manage it. I possessed her brutally. It was like a rape and she gave out a pained scream.
I desired her, I loved her and had to be strong in order to subdue her. Her groans resembled those of a whore. I ejaculated quickly. I felt satisfied and robbed at the same time. She was silent and though looking at my face she was not seeing me. She was somewhere else and thinking about something else. Something which she regared with hatred.
“What do you want of me?” I shouted at her. I failed to understand. What did you expect you’ll get?!”
“I told you not to get close to my fingers. Now you have torn me apart You shouldn’t have touched me!”
“But I have touched you before. Even then in the lift I touched you and the distance you speak of has vanished. Don’t you remember, my swallow?”
She fell silent. She seemed to have grown mute and it was I who was the foolishly trying to make her speak with my words. I couldn’t stand her mute accusation. I would rather she screamed, accusing me, weeping and not forgive than be silently blaming me. She more like a mute sphynx than a defenceless woman. My barely controlled irritation amused her. The role she had chosen to play and in which she had come to believe in order to hurt me, misled by her own fanatsies, was humiliating to me. Or I was unable to grasp her motivation. She had come to believe that this way it would have been more delightful than it could have been. Before that she had frequently tried to make things more complicated which in the simplicity of human nature had probably made her ashamed of her present conduct.
“I love my freedom!”
My God! Strength… Weakness… in what sort of world was I living?
I would rather she had slapped my face. We were not on a stage where conflicts found their solutions simply and rapidly – it was not theatre but life itself: the truth I could not believe. Nor did I wish to do so. A brief phrase. Like the hissing of a flying bullet, like the flapping wings of a bird of prey, thunderous. The silence. Darkness. Uneasy and sinister. An endless duty of a karma. Summing up on the verge of hysteria. Pain and a new moon. A chance encounter, involuntary contact, vicissitudes and things tumbling down instead of us enjoying a splendid evening. All soaking wet from the unexpected shower, we had to reconcile ourselves to the fact that even Nature itself was indignant at this lovemaking. She hardly realized I was weeping under the pouring rain and in desperation wished to put an end to my life.
A new encounter into the world beyond. Fresh failures probably. Someone was hiding somewhere and then coming into sight while I entered the first toilet room that came my way and masturbated, imaging I was with her. I was unaware she had been doing the same under the shower .

I am alone in a lonesome country house.
I am painting all day and all night. While doing so I am aroused by the image delineated by my consciousness, I am touching her, though not on the breast… I get short of canvases.
Coldness, loneliness, anxiety… I want her… I set my canvases ablaze to warm myself. In fact I am setting fire to my loneliness. Thus I burn up part of my own self and then…
You gradually pipe down, slowly wither away and your soul is in turmoil.Loneliness gets increasingly arctic. It touches outer space. I am turning into a falling star. Want to be completely extinguished but tremble with pain. Everything is confused. The memory loses the paranoiac sensation of tragedy.
I want it all to be fine, I want to smile, I dream of undesired moments. Five girls are in my lonely country house. I shove my hand up the skirt of one of them.She smiles sweetly at me. The other one bares her breasts and I suck at her nipples. Again everything is confused. I can recall that the other three join the game. The picture – an imprint of their bodies – remains as a memento of that absurd night. It reminds me that in the end I poured several buckets of paint onto the floor and had asked them to dance until the floor itself became a big palette. Then we made love on a canvas. I called it “Iriniya”. Why? It was such an erotic challenge that I could not resist it and ejaculated but unfortunately – incompletely. Shouldn’t I see a psychoanalyst? Yes! Should I say to him that I had fallen in love with a woman. The paintings began exciting me. I love beauty and want to make love to her till the moon burns up in its orgasm.
Instead, I deliberately find the next female sitter. This time I curb my desires and simply paint a nude. Or rather her spine. For the first time her spine is so interesting. It turns into a snake in oils. Upon it blossom two grapevine buds. The halo of astral radiance starts shining. Demons tear it apart. The snake bites at the brain. Full of venom, drugged crazy, in a state of delirium, I begin producing monsters. Anemic and small, they feed on the Divine Soil and defecate metal. New monsters are born, which feed on the metal and for their part give birth to still others, and others and so on… They smoke petrol and lead opposite Olympians donning gas masks. The hurl lightnings and rockets at one another. They stick their forheads to the spine and drop onto my brush, giving off sparks, while it breathes more and more hatred and aggression. Maybe against the snake which attracts it so powerfully, maybe against myself, not least for my weakness. I lose consciousness. Looks as if I ought really to consult a specialist, is what I think to myself when I come to but I make no move again.
By and by I get rid of the nightmare. I am again a little bit in love. Perhaps genuinely in love.A girl has appeared, our sentiments are radiantly happy and do not produce monsters. She and I hide from no one. Her name if Fanny and though still barely eighteen, she is a mature woman. Outwardly she looks like Irina but it is not this likeness that attracts me. Girls her age fall in love but not demonstratively.She did not regard our ralationship as a serious one. In the final analysis we are nothing compared to four billion and what are three billion compared to thousands of billions of stars? The universe does not go round us and our sex organs, still less round our inflated affairs of the heart. Emancipated, she abandoned herself to all sorts sex games and accepted everything in life with astonishing simplicity. In her book there was no apple tree in the garden of Eden so that no sin existed at all. Our relationship was my cure.She, too, however, was smeared onto the canvas. Simple. And quite businesslike. I did not expect anything else.

I was to see Irina and talk with her about annotating “energy lyzism”. I was brash enough to appear to the public as a discoverer of a new style of painting. I owed it to Irina. After all, she was godmother to the style in question. When we met I did not forget Fanny.The river had not yet joined the ocean and there was no way it could. Irina simply provoked me with an “involuntary” baring of a thigh. She bared her thigh meaningfully and reminded me that we were “good friends” and “maybe more”. Then she suggested we go visit “the marketplace” again.
There followed those “innocent touches”. Hints. Then she was curious to know what I was painting at the moment. Out of mere politeness. I answered: a picture of erotic visions and experiences, a universal fertilization. Then came the challenge, as if a joke, but in her smile there was no joke; I, too, understand jokes, sometimes.
“Could I sit to you ?”
“The opening of your exhibition in Varna is coming soon, isn’t it?”
That day there was no way we could write an annotation on energy lyzism. Irina succeeded in opening the wound. In the sliest manner possible to a woman. And a snake. The expectation of sin and the forbidden things. The time for contemplation when I could only lose the battle with myself. The time when I came to understand that no matter what I did I was to regret it. An endless month to my great holiday. My first one-man show on such a large scale: over two hundred of my works on all three floors of the Vestal Gallery. I ought to have strangled here there and then.
Fanny was like no other woman. No one could neglect her for another woman’s sake but only for the sake of a witch or a demon. But can you strangle a witch? The stake would not have been invented for them if one could strangle one. And can a demon be taken by the hand? And in the case of Irina I would rather have my hands cut off than strangle her even if I could. The hands I painted with.
“Your exhibition in Varna is coming soon!” – her voice echoed in my ears while I was painting and the picture was getting more and more arrogant, loving, grand and terrible… The dancing women appeared… “Your exhibition in Varna is
coming soon!” – her voice echoed in my ear while I was making love to Fanny amid hundreds of candles in a cave on the outskirts of Assenovgrad.
“Your exhibition in Varna is coming soon… Soon… This will be a splendid painting if… it is… I don’t know for sure, my friend!”
I get crazy and push Fanny away from me. I insist we do a threesome with a friend of hers. Fanny is emancipated but it is a question of her closest friend who did not seem to be so liberated where sex was concerned. I realize I want to nag at her because I feel guilty about falling in love with another. I have no wish to neglect her as she doesn’t deserve that. I want her to deserve it and to be the guilty party. I expect her to decline which will permit me to get cross with her and to convince myself I have become cross with her. She smiles shame-facedly instead:
“I’m not sure we’ll manage it, but if it does, it will be delightful!”
I slap her, calling her “a pervert pig”.
Days during the run-up to the exhibition are long. I don’t think of Fanny. I wanted to accuse her of something. Unexpectedly to me, she herself revealed something that I wouldn’t think my beloved was up to.She was very perverted indeed. I keep thinking of Irina and the day arrives.Then the night. Everything is upset.The distance dissipates and I sober up at last. I realize that throughout, in my frenzied desire to possess her, I have behaved like crazy.
The splendid moment passes. There again follow our rendezvous for an hour or two, while shopping together, and a still crazier desire – and here we are, having overcome it all, far from everyone, in solitary hatred.
“Do you remember us two in the pouring rain? With my key to the atelier – with one friend, the key to the flat – with another, that to the car – with yet another…”
I smile at the memory which I by now regard with a sense of humour. They all seemed to have conspired not to give me back the keys on time. Nor did I have any money with me. The little I had, I bought flowers with…
“The thirteen roses!” smiles Irina. It seems I had put an end to the silence we had subjected ourselves to. “The thirteen graveside roses on the proud, lonesome feeling we could have cherished towards each other. Which could have elevated us above all those sexual excitements… And above all that brutish fury… Tell me, how many times have you thought of murdering me?”
I did not respond. I realized she had been aware of it all the time. What is more – she had sought to provoke it. “A tombstone!” – my hand was trembling as it held the lighter. She had overdone the poetic hyperboles! She had overdone and hyperbolized the tragedy!
I was barely aware of the lighter in my hand which was tremdbling over the bunch of dry hay. Everything would be in flames. Or rather, it would explode.
“Here now, you have put a tombstone!” said I. “Over all that happened between us!”
It was not me. It was my demon, whipping her demon. I had a partial insight into it all and my will held me back from pressing the button.
“It wouldn’t be for the first time I would setting fire to my paintings!”
Irina jumped, panther-like, over me.She pressed my head between her naked thighs.I endeavoured unsuccessfully to throw her off. I wanted to bite her but I kissed her. I fell upon my back. She stood before my eyes as a perverted idol, in her hand holding the lighter which unbeknownst to me she had wrenched from my hand.She pressed the button and dropped the lighter into the hay. It immediately burst into flames. I came on top of her, my penis penetrated her again but now she was aroused and had regained the same fire with which she had been making love till that night. We rolled off about a yard or two away from the flames but they were soon to reach us. Both of us were aware of them and wished to take away the final thing of beauty that destructive love could give us. “Now we’re going to possess each other till death do us part!” she moaned not like a prostitute but like a woman in love. The flames were gaining ground. They whispered to us, screamed at us, whined and crackled in unison with our broken groans:
“I love you.”
“I love you.”
“I love you.”
At last we collapsed in the centre of a fiery circle. We had not way out.
“I buried you… You buried me…” I uttered, my voice trailing off amid the louder noise of the fire, sounding like a verdict.
“No!” Irina’s voice came through it. “We are burnt up!”
I wished to live, wished to burn. I wished to burn in her arms. I wanted to live – for her sake. Two paintings had caught fire, two delightful paintings with a soul in them. Not that they were all that successful, not that they depicted the flames of passion but rather because they embodied them. I both hated and loved her but it was too late for anything but forgiveness… At that moment it started raining. It was a downpour.The rotten roof literally collapsed, crashing into splinters. Water, fire, sparks and smoke became snakes like those which covered an erotic canvas I had long since been painting which some time before Irina herself had called “Total Fertilization On the Eve of the oming of a Messiah”. I imagined us built into the picture and what were going through was its message and not the conflict of our natures and lusts… For long did we shout and scream under the saving showers. Then we made love amidst the mud and soot. We had been buried and had survived. The flames spared us but I was not to be spared by the fangs of the hungry dogs as I hadn’t been spared my hungry desire.

I cease thinking of the dogs but rather of that day. The first we were alone together. It was to be our first rendezvous and would have been that but for a string of adversities. Perhaps even then the sky, via the rain, had been trying to quell the flame. I was not aware of that, however, nor could I have been.Yet later on I came to see it clearly. After the adventure in the shepherd’s hut I fell deeper in love with Irina and she did not turn up till our very parting. There were occasions when it was on the verge of appearing but she calmed down the demons in good time.She seemed to fear lest everything burst into flames once again. On occasion I dreamt of her like the heroine from Stephen King’s “Living Torch” who, when angry, used to turn into ashes everything around. From a certain point of view she was indeed a living torch. And everything between us started swimmingly.
It was several weeks since we met. Though at the time I thought I imagined it, later I realized we had indeed conversed telepathetically, even if we were not aware, or at least didn’t believe we were. At nights, I heard her whisper:
“Where are you? I want to be with you. I’m lying on my back, I have pulled up my knees and my thighs are wide open, my nightie folded upon my breast. I’m caressing myself and imagining it is you. You may be indeed with me if I think it. Isn’t thought everything? It’s more thought than naked bodies… Truly, I want you with me. I want it, yet we can’t meet… I waaaant…”
“I waaaant…”, my voice merges with hers. I visualize the burning hut. Then we roll in snow. The snow turns into a lawn of snowflowers. Hundreds of big eyes are looking at from the nearby wood. Unnaturally large eyes. Beastly, betraying intellect, hundreds of times larger than human eyes.
“I am clutching my nipples with my fingers. The most erogenous points on my body. You’ve felt it, haven’t you? I want you to kiss me, suck me and bite me. I want my sweat to trickle with your saliva. Do it like that…. Go on! Gooooooo…”
“I waaaant…” I awake. My sperm has splashed on the bedside wall nearly up to the ceiling and my organ seems made of iron, draining me of all my energy. The electric bulbs on the chandelier remind me of her nipples. The snakes on the still unfinished canvas, sprayed with my sperm, resemble her thighs, soft in arousal.The blank canvases are like her nakedness. The cracks in the wall evoke our tremours. The finished pictures speak of the fullness of the emotions I experienced a moment before I came to from my reverie…
I am again in a reverie. She’s whispering something to me. In my ear. It’s dark and I don’t see her but it’s her breath all right. It’s her whisper: “Your exhibition in Varna is soon to be but shall we make it till then? Do we have to endure?! Shan’t we explode?! Shan’t we hurt our dreams?! Won’t our hurt dreams desecrate our happiness?! Won’t our desecrated happiness kill off nature?! Aren’t we cheating ourselves we possess will power while in fact we are resigned to not having had a chance?!”
She keeps on whispering to me and the snakes penetrate my skin!From my veins they drink the elixir of the pain producing inspiration and being a component of frustrated blood. I think we are in that forest I saw for the first time when my brush came into contact with my first canvas. Irina is both the girl in the forest and isn’t she. She is and idea and a woman at the same time. Pure, like a teenager’s fantasy and whorish like reality itself… Alice in Wonderland and porno star, abandoning herself to any male touch…
“…shall we survive, shall we survive, shall we survive till then… Now it is so dark that we can meet even if we can’t see our faces… It is so exciting…”
“Touch them… Touch my breasts… So… Sooo… Now undress… Sooo…”
I am startled and it is already daylight. In the daytime I do not hear her voice or at any rate it is different from nighttime but I recall the brief moments spent
together and am certain she, too, desires me just as I do her. I am already sure we will not survive till the exhibition. I fix my gaze on a sweet ass, frankly outlined under a tight-fitting flimsy summer dress. I step on the gas, stretch a hand out of my car window and withdraw it just as am about to touch it. I laugh at my frolic. Then I notice another one – in a short leather skirt which is sure to have been boiling in its own sauce in the heat. I repeat the trick. I start on an aimless tour of the town, trying to find relaxation in this way but it soon palls. Shall I again abduct a prostitute from her pimps again? These not quite safe adventures really turn me on… I decide on doing just that but soon think better of it.
The next woman I see in the back is shapely, black-haired and swaying to and fro like a drifting frigate.To me she resembles Irina. All my frivolity vanishes. All my mad desire to see her comes back. I pull up in front of the post office. For a long time I rummage in my pockets for her telephone number. I have a horror at the thought that I might have lost it.I ejaculate when I find it.Two schoolgirls in the next telephone booth notice that and giggle. I feel like pulling it out and shoving it into their grinning mouths. I am tense but when I hear in my voice a warmth unlike the summer heat it suffuses my internal organs and I relax as if I had been on tranquillizers.
“Irina! This is me, Papa Jan!”
“O! I wanted to hear you so much! We seem to have done nothing on annotating energy lyzism.”
It all fitted into place of itself.
“That’s precisely why I am calling! Sofia is a madhouse right now! And that heat! I believe we couldn’t do any stroke of work even if I come again. Here, in Assenovgrad is quieter…”
She falls silent. For an instant, which to me seems ages. My shorts are again too tight for my comfort. The schoolgirls have moved off, joined by a third and they are watching me, unaware I, too, can see them. Their smiles are no longer simply merry – there is something like glass in them. It’s the tension of excitement and confusion. The tongue of one of them seems to have glued her partly open lips and helps them to behave bawdily. I look away from them.
“Irina, I know it will be difficult for you to come to Assenovgrad. After all, you have family obligations. Do realize that without you it would be much more difficult for me to do the job and I don’t want to be unprepared for my first one man show…”
“I would love to, very much…”, she fell silent.
“I know you do! Do it, for God’s sake, or these days will be hotter for both of us!”
“I will be difficult for me!” she said after the pause.
“I am aware of that but you’ll do it!” I said in spite of myself. I gave utterance to the happiest thought in my life. I was like drunk. I wanted to drink. I wanted to bathe myself and everyone else in champagne. “I am waiting for you!”
“See you soon!” she replied and now I no longer was sure whether my heart could bear so much happiness and and my soul take it all in. What she said was “See you soon”.
I bumped into the girls outside the entrance to the post office whom I didn’t even notice at all. I had not yet completely recovered. I was hardly ever to recover…
“Hi!” I was greeted by the petite girl with hair cut short like a dark-complexioned boy who seemed the brashest of the lot; the other two blondes was grinning embarrassed and somewhat silly. “Why are you pushing us like a beer cart?”
“A cart with champagne! hich will be poured down upon you, my little angels!” I was drunk with happiness though I hadn’t had even a drop.
“What?” the petite failed to catch on. Neither did I it seemed for that matter.
“Have you ever felt so happy that you would want to bathe everyone in champagne? Simply to share your happiness with the whole world. With all things animate and inanimate so that even glass smells sweetly of love and concrete, of vintage wine.”
“Well, I am not an alcoholic!” she snubbed me unceremoniously but I didn’t give a damn, nor did I at all notice her snub.
“Nor am I! I am Prince Papa Jan! That means…”
“The artist?! the eyes of the curly-haired friend of the brash petite lit up with curiosity. Her eyes were like a June evening. About seventeen or eighteen, on the verge of her fall.The same, who had stuck her tongue to her lips.
“The happy one!” I replied. “Not all artists are happy…”
“Although all lucky beggars are artists!” the dark –skinned petite again tried to throw the conversation into confusion.
“And all syllogisms – out of place!” the little angel angrily reprimanded her friend.
“Yes, that very same Papa Jan!” I stretched out my hand. “If only I could now be the same man I was an hour ago… If only paint can be dissolved in champagne…” What did that mean? I laughed.After me, so did the girls one after the other. Saying no more, I embraced the two blondes with one arm and the petite with another and shoved them in the direction of my car. I had infected them with my high spirits and in any case they had probably been wondering where the party was to be that evening till I turned up. I made a stop only once – to buy champagne – and then raced the car toward my atelier. Still on the stairs, I opened a bottle and started spraying them with champagne. They screamed, trying to avoid the spurt
or standing under it with open mouths. The splashes rebounded around their lips like little stars. Their bodies were outlined under their wet dresses. We went with the champagne bath even as we entered the atelier, never minding the fact that we were drenching the canvases.Then we drank and laughed. I was not at that moment “that very same Papa Jan” indeed, but a happy teenager like them. Without a name. Without memory. Without a past. Without a future. We were living in a happy and innocent present. Innocent was also the girls’ undressing. As they were drying, their dresses stuck unpleasantly onto their bodies…
“We’re naked anyway!” noted the petite and pulled the shoulder strap of the “sweet tongued” girl’s dress.
I can’t. We’ll be seen from the flats across the street!” her friend objected.
There was no one to see except the doves. My atelier was on the tenth floor and there was not a building as tall opposite it. Yet I drew the blinds. The petite pulled off the other shoulder strap of her friend’s dress. Her hand paused at the breast rather longer for the gesture to have been accidental. Both girls looked at each other in embarrassment. Both understood yet did not admit the meaning of the touch. Nor did I.I was their age and quite happy. The third undressed herself. She had splendid form for her age. She was the quietest but in fact the least innocent of the three. For an instant I desired her then fogot my desire. We went on drinking and I became aware I had splendid models and was the painter Papa Jan when all was said done. Within minutes three naked bacchantes appeared on the painting featuring the snakes. The depravity of their dance ran counter to the frivolous summer evening. The girls giggled and danced in imitation of the bacchantes in the picture.I also giggled like an eighteen-year-old. Till the telephone rang.
“Papa Jan,” I heard Irina’s voice, “Materius agreed. We’re coming to Assenovgrad.”
At first I failed to understand. Then I suddenly sobered up and aged by twenty years. I forgot the party. I forgot about my happiness before it ever began.
“I’m glad,” I responded sombrely. I poured the glass on the cigarettes burning in the ashtray.
“The party is over,” the petite said coldly.
“No,” I said. “Not yours… Mine! Don’t pay attention to me. Go on. Guests are always welcome.”
But it didn’t happen.The girls did not continue much longer. Their clothes were not yet completely dry when they put them on. The petite waited till her friends were out.
“Do you want me to stay?”
“Please!” I replied. I did not wish to remain alone and she was aware of that. I knew she was a virgin and when she went out a few hours before she had not imagine it to turn out as it did and was prepared to sacrifice her fantasy of her first night with a man for my sake – not to leave me alone. Deeply moved, I felt happy again. I lost myself in her warm embrace under her warm heart and the ghosts did not come. That was love, maybe, but my fate was to know a different kind of love. A different one and probably more complete.
I had quite forgotten about the dark-skinned saviour of lonely hearts when, a bouquet of thirteen roses in hand, I was counting the seconds to the arrival of the train from Plovdiv. The day began sombrely and, I would say, boringly. The first to visit me in the studio was my driver and guard who took care of my back in a crisis. His car was damaged, he said, and he needed the keys from mine. I gave them to him on condition that he return them by five o’clock in the afternoon when I was expecting Irina. After him arrived my friend with whom I was working on the project of the anti-novel THE PAPA JAN GALLERY. He asked me to lend him my studio at about two in the afternoon. For some days now I knew he, too, was expecting the woman of his dreams. I handed him the key and asked him to give it back by six because I, too, was going to need the atelier. Neither had turned up by seven. Irina was late. As she put it over the phone rather to inspire me with hope again than to disturb me, she would try to come alone to prevent any distraction. I would have looked very foolishly with that big bouquet of roses on the platform if Materius Rozenkreutzer was to smile slyly and wisely at the station next to her. I was tense and at the same time happy. Things would settle down. My guard is a punctual boy and if he was late there must have been a reason. In any case, he would find me even at the Second Coming. As to the accommodation – well I had a flat as well. All would have been futile were Irina not able to slip the family tie but I hoped she would. I am not Happy Jan for nothing. Didn’t I redeem that happy moment with so much mental torment and sheer craziness. At long last the train was pulling upand my wild, wonderful love appeared alone. Oh ye, gods! Oh what a bliss! Vicissitudes and threats! Lack of logic and luck! A gamble of existence and love! Irony and Irina! Were somebody who knows me to hear that Papa Jan had slept in the arms of a swarthy teenage beauty without doing anything else, would cease to believe anything they heard from that person. Even if that person was Papa Jan himself. However if Irina is mixed up in all of it anything is to be expected.Even the fact that were alone at the station.
She took the bouquet and kissed me. Neither of us believed our senses. We regarded the event as an old, romantic, black-and-white film. We identified with the personages but hardly believed it was us. A moment later we realized that was not a Hollywood blockbuster but actual reality. It was us, two. Everything was real. Half an hour later I angrily repeated to myself: “This can’t be true! This can’t be true!” My driver-guard was still nowhere to be seen. Through the door of the atelier I could hear the whole gamut of the orgasm. So much so as to make me fear the door would somehow come apart. This only lifted my spirits. I still believed we could find a resting place in the flat or at my lodgings. Smiling, I asked Irina whether we should knock and disturb them. We decided against it. Red from confusion and excitement, she reminded me of the teenage girls of the previous night. For brief moments we lent our ears to the commotion inside. We burst out laughing. Then, hand in hand and jumping like children, descended the steps. My flat was locked by my artistic manager. He is wont to vanish at the worst moments. As if he had a premonition. I would have smashed the door but some time before we had installed a steel grate there to prevent a break-in. I had to be a small tank…It turned out that my lodgings were locked, too. Something must have happened to make the landlord lock the common entrance. I had not turned up there for a week and they could not have expected me to appear at the very moment of their absence. I felt like weeping but our predicament had its comic aspect. Had I not been waiting for this rendezvous for so long a time, if we had more than a few hours at our disposal, I would surely have noticed only the comic side but as it was, it was tragic. On top of it all, I had spent all my pocket money the night before on champagne and the pitiable sum that had been left I had spent on the roses. Thus, spending the night at an hotel was also out of the question.
The only thing left open to us was to find a lonely spot by the river. We walked kilometres. The bathers and swimmers paid no attention to the fact that the sun had disappeared behind rainy clouds. Fishermen pottered along the bank who gave no thought to the possibility of hooking somebody to their bathing suits or somewhere deeped down. Further up outside the town every romantic spot had been occupied by loving couples. The kids! They were barely fifteen. Their courage did not go further than the boy shoving his hand under the girl’s skirt. A second boy came out of the bush. He put his arm round the girl’s waist and pulled her down on the grass. At long last the first one summoned up enough strength to roll up her dress and pull down his trousers. The girl did not seem to mind. On the next day she would be sorry and on the day after she would repeat it. A little upward we saw a second pair. The beauties! They resembled thoroughbred horses. They did it on the bank and then jumped into the river. Athletes! They made love sportingly, passionately, perhaps for the thousandth time. I got angry. Surely they had where to go but sought diversion. We looked at the for rather a long time. Still further up we saw a third pair. It is beyond me to describe my feelings at that moment. They were mirror images of ourselves.The man was plump, bald with a reddish beard and a tattoo on the hairy back. The woman was slim, with chestnut hair, long thighs and slightly younger than he. They were us! We observed how “we” were doing it but that was not us; rather, they had given themselves to their wild passions at that spot though they surely did have where else to do it – quite unlike us.
I looked at Irina. She was thoughtful and blushing, as on the staircase of my studio. She tried to say something but only managed to stammer that she could not stand that any longer. She was covering up her excitement with an indignation she did not feel. Still, we went on along the river bank. On top of it all it began raining. Then it turned into a downpour. We could hardly stand on our legs under the heavy shower. The stream, flowing down the road, reached our calves and it was sheer luck that I managed to hitchhike a car which stopped for us. The thoroughbreds were inside. Wet and pleased as Punch. I, however, was weeping under the raindrops trickling down my face. In an hour, Irina was to board the train and again leave me lonely and crazy with unsatisfied desire.
“It started badly! It’s a conspiracy! The keys, the car, the friends! Even our doubles and the sky itself! Today everybody were indulging themselves while we met only briefly. I shan’t be able to stand that! I’ll pierce my heart this very night! I feared being left alone but today no one but Irina could give me solace. Last night was the final time I still could manage!” An hour afterwards we parted. My tears had dried up.The thought of suicide was somewhat distant. The time till the one-man show was short. If it could not happen then… then it was not to be – ever… The rain did not extinguish the flame!
Varna. The Vestal Gallery opens! Commotion!
A former Miss Bulgaria becomes a curator. What a sensation and excitement!
Around the building which was soon to become packed with lovers of the fine arts, plain curious people, party-goers, journalists, philosophers, significant, less significant and plain insignificant folks, were milling people likewise radiant and morose. The whole gamut of emotion. The event did not need noisy advertisement.Materius Rozenkreutzer was going to do a philosophical interpretation of “Energy Lyzism” – the new style in painting and the intiator of that style is none other than the “Bulgarian Picasso” i.e. Papa Jan himself as he was dubbed by the Russian press. That’s what you might call a “sensation”.
It was nearing six and the exhibition was to open. The vestal virgin is embarrassed. She is even ready to weep. Her first attempt at doing something other than what she had been doing up to that moment is a flop. Or was about to become so. It is now seven and the opening had been scheduled for six. People were getting nervous and some, who had dropped in at the nearest bistros to avoid the heat wave have gotten warmed up by the cooling beer. Others, whose schedules are busy, are looking at their watches and are making supreme efforts to accept things with philosophic patience. Papa Jan is nowhere to be seen! That now is reason enough for excitement and fuss. “If they start to leave I’ll do a strip show! And Papa Jan, I’ll…”, the vestal is thinking, furious, then she laughs. She can imagine the startled faces at the sight of the sudden stripping of the gallery curator. In particular, the look of a short bespectacled intellectual whom she accidentally notices in the crowd maybe because he is standing next to the bodyguard of two metres height and a hundred and twenty kilos weight with bulging trousers whose masculine gifts are surely greater than the bespectacled shorty. As she thinks that, the former Miss Bulgaria bursts out laughing. The laughter gets hysterical and she hurriedly hides in the toilet room. “I hope nothing has happened to Papa Jan! He’ll show up eventually and my experience tells me that delay makes things more desirable! What a trivial thought! I’ll grow mad! I hope to God nothing’s happened to him. The Vestal Gallery can’t be a flop at its very first opening!”
No! Nothing untoward has happened to Papa Jan! At least, not for the time being!
Papa Jan is with another vestal virgin! I genuine one! A fantasy turned reality… I met Irina a few hours before the opening and Materius was indulging to such an extent in philosophizing with several female students that he did not in the least notice our disappearance. We soon arrived at the Golden Sands Hotel where I had booked accommodation for guests to the opening…
“We have a few hours at our disposal!” she said simply as if we had long since been lovers.
“An eternity!” I replied. “Yet a too brief one!”
I was about to tear her evening dress into pieces when she contrived to slip out of it with the skill of a snake, shedding its skin.
“I don’t know how I did it!” her eyes betrayed embarrassment. She seemed to have sobered up all of a sudden. She covered her breasts with her hands. Imprints of plasma showed above them.Arcs of electronic lips vibrated round her flesh and tore it in pieces. Evil contradictions sank cat’s nails into my eyes. I did not wish to see that and more than anything I did wish to. “The Naked Irina”, the idol, having the same kind of skin as any other woman. The poetess of sublime sentiment with real female nipples and a tiny beast between her legs.
Heavy gusts of air were beating against the window panes. Was that the surf? No!
It was our lungs but maybe the surf was them.
I felt like putting my arms round her.Like a raped girl whom I had discovered weeping beside her torn clothes… I wanted it to rain.
In my ears resonated that phone call which spoiled the champagne party.
The memory came back to me of those lonesome nights when we touched in our imagination. The loneliness and the unfinished painting. The splashes on the wall and my madness. Our rendezvous at the neighbourhood marketplace. No! I could bear everything. I could do it again. I would have been the same man and now I was on the threshold of change. I was to suddenly grow up after remaining innocent for thirty-six years. I bent my head. I did not notice when she let her hands drop down uncovering her breasts. She came up closer to me. Timidly, as if parting somebody else’s hands, and the next instant she was embracing me with hers. Passionately. As if she wanted to break my neck. She clasped my waist with her legs. She pressed her lips against mine. After a prolonged drought – a torrential rainfall turning into a hailstorm beating against two voluptuous bodies. We collapsed on the floor. She was under me. Her eyes betrayed demonic frenzy. Instead of frightening me, she looked like a an image from a fairy-tale, impossible for a real woman of flesh and blood. I passed a hand across her breasts and felt the presence of qualit lacking in all my pictures. In the flesh of any other woman. The real, untrammelled from all reins of society, love and lustful desire. She was breathing heavily and the expression of her eyes was all the time changing. The frenzy charted fresh boundaries of normalcy and swiftly we forgot… That which was separating us, which increased our mutual desire and whipped us with self-accusations. Nothing could have been more natural than lying down and caressing each other. Her hands, like naughty spiders were unbuttoning my shirt while caressing the uncovered chest. She seemed at that moment to have more than two hands. They could have been a hundred and one, each communicating a different range of the sweet touch of love. They reached my trousers. I fervently kissed the breasts I had been caressing. She groaned. The liberated steed was sticking out of my trousers, having broken the chains of humanity. I penetrated her. Everything changed. All desires were fulfilled. A timeless bliss filled my soul while my body was savaging hers.
“Totally,” she groaned. “Totally”.
I screamed and fell backwards. She was bathed in sperm. She rubbed it on my chest and smiled like she had never smiled before. Calmly and blissfully. Somewhat distracted and sweet. It seemed improbable to me that she could smile so and in an instant I found the truth. For a long time Irina had not been sexually satisfied. She had long restrained herself in the face many temptations. “She has tightened her soul with an iron bodice. With a female body, she has not been a woman while the woman in her tormented her. More and more rarely she and Marius have had sex. Only now I understand her puzzling behaviour. Nervousness stemming from sexual unsatisfaction. Suppression of desire, which isn’t very difficult for a philosopher and yet devilishly hard on a woman like Irina!”
I felt relief. What I realized in that instant exonerated me completely and I came to terms with my conscience. I would damn conscience!
I would have violated it! I would have lived with my qualms and would have died with them because it was a question of the woman I loved.However I would not have been blissful but now I was. I had fought a torment and won.My crime is that I had put an end to a crime.I had smashed the glass cover of her smile.I had broken the iron bodice her innocence. Unwittingly, I had saved not only myself but also a woman’s body from the fires of Hell.
“We have found solace, and what now? Perhaps there should never again be a repetition of all this. To possess a woman once is enough!”
I wanted to say I was in love with her. Instead I nodded. Sideways, somehow.As if to say both “yes” and “no”.
We couldn’t have everything in this world.And yet we want it all.We cannot be inspired and pleased at the same time. To have a paradise and still be dreaming of it. We cannot be that which we dream of.
“Why then the sadness in your words?”
“It is like a farewell.”
I tenderly brought my lips closer to hers. As for a parting. It didn’t come off.
Aroused once again we pressed them tightly.She pushed me onto my back, pressed my breast with one leg and started caressing hers. She had given herself to the former fantasies about our intimacy.I caressed her calf. And then her thighs.She was trembling.Like a leaf about to fall off and in the final moment before being swept by the autumn wind wanted to suck as much as possible from the tree’s juices. She herself was swept by passionate sorrow. Desiring passionate sorrow. My hands caressed her thighs more intensely. I felt her muscles soften and she standing on the verge of the abyss with final drops of energy. How she wanted to preserve something which she had not. As if dancing, and with a delicious groan, she smoothly eased her self onto a part of my flesh, hard as the truth, which was pulsating violently, outside its veins. Then both of us started pulsating outside our veins. Our heartbeat was whipping our wriggling bodies. It banged the wall with fists. It went out of the open window and dispersed into the Being. Produced from the explosives of our bodies, which were like beaten drums, it tried to destroy every existing thing. We were short of breath .
We went out on to the terrace. She grasped the parapet and could have broken it when we joined bodies again in madness in a crime, in love… We no longer thought of hiding, of somebody observing us, of doing the wrong thing, of the thing we were doing being impossible. As if we were not in a hotel but beyond the wondrous secrets of the grey horizon on which we had fixed our unseeing eyes. Then I thought I was looking at the full moon.Two full moons… They were her breasts but at last the full moon appeared. For an instant everything was enveloped in total darkness.I had inhaled the global thing and had shut my eyes. I opened them as I exhaled. Sweating, exhausted, I lay on the terrace. Irina was not there.Still reverberating in my ears was her scream:
“Total, total…”
I rose slowly. My God! The show!
I staggered into the room. Irina was arranging her hair.She was humming a tune. hen she saw me she fell silent and her glance became guilty.Like that of child who has broken the sugar bowl.
“The show!” said she shoowing me her wrist watch. “We are late…”
“We are not late for anything except having each other…” I thought sombrely. It is because for THAT we were late, we now miss so many other things. But what does it matter, my swallow? What are they in comparison to what we’ve just had and may still not have.” All of sudden she had become self-important, businesslike, alien. She was looking at her watch and thinking of the social event.In her behaviour the significant seemed insignifcant and vice versa. “Let us put on our evening dress and cast away the memory together with the dirty underwear.”
She gave me a brief kiss but the second in which she touched my lips was enough to reveal the genuine sentiment in all its profundity and to dispel my gloomy thoughts.
On the way to the gallery we were singing and barely avoided crashing twice.The major event in the international progress of my art one of my biggest one-man shows passed in a daze. A pink daze and dreams of the recent experience. My spirits were very high but no one suspected the reason for it was not the opening of the exhibition, with champagne, compliments and offers.
“I very nearly stripped off my clothes to hold the crowd!” the curatrix pretended to scold me through a smile.
“Well, had I known I would have arrived even later! This way I have deprived the crowd of…”
“O, shut up Papa Jan!” she burst out laughing. “You’ll drive me crazy!”
“What does “lyzism” mean exactly? asks a sweet pock marked female student with huge spectacles and huge breasts. “Leasing… lease…”
“Universal solubility of everthing into everything else!” Irina – blushing – starts explaining.
“Stop that, Papa Jan!” she whispers into my ear meanwhile. I snatched a bottle of champagne and started licking its mouth under the bespectacled stare of the student.Irina had turned her back on me and does not see me but the student is not listening to her at all. She is watching my monkey tricks and barely keeps from laughing. Irina is probably wondering why the girl is laughing at her and is on the verge of snatching her spectacles, scratching her eyes, tearing her dress, drawing blood from her huge brasts with her nails, murdering her and finally trampling upon the spectacles with her high heels but with the stoicism of a preacher facing pimps and prostitutes went on elucidating the subject of “energy lyzism” while I was licking the bottle’s mouth. At last Irina turned round. Problably she would have hit me but nothing came handy.I started spraying champagne around me. Finally Irina took me by the hand and pulled me aside.
“You must freshen yourself!” she said, pushing me towards the toilet. She bent my face down to the tap and splashed cold water on it. I shoved my hand under her skirt. She did not manage to push me off. I rolled it up round her waist, tore her panties and sat her down upon the sink. rina could not resist She had spent the last drop of her determination to chasten me. Worked up and scared she prayed that everything should end quickly and never cease.
She wrneched herself out of my hands and pulled down her dress.
The party was over. I was very low spirits. I felt qualms vis-à-vis Materius for Irina’s sake. I reproach myself and felt the ground slipping under my feet.
“I wish I never got into that lift!”
The rest could not but pass in the only manner possible. The party went on in the hotel. The euphoria had passed which surrounded a unique international exhibition worthy of the Guinnes Book of Record. All two hundred paintings were sold for a total of two hundred thousand dollars. That’s why a stout bodyguard was stationed beside each picture that had been bought in advance. My friends were drinking, merry-making singing and philosophizing but I felt increaingly depressed.
Till the moment I heard Irina whisper in my ear suggesting we go to the beach. In confusion I regarded Rozenkreutzer. He was not drinking but looked more inebriated than the guy he was discussing something with.
He had not noticed the appearance of his wife. I don’t remember how the sky looked. I don’t recall whether there was a full moon but the orgasm on the beach was a lunar one. We rolled on the sand under the impact of the waves. Our embraces kept being interrupted. We again and again pressed into each other’s arms and when parted by the waves we sought contact. The waves seemed to scream with us:
“Total… Total…”
Daybreak arrived. The opening of the exhibition at which I sold two hundred pictures at one go, a record for the Guinnes Book, belonged now to the past. The party was over. Irina was no longer an unapproachable dream but was a woman whom I would possibly possess never again yet I desired her more than ever before though I was reluctant to acknowledge it to myself.
The lunar orgasm melted the Moon. There was a new moon rising. Will the next full moon come soon? Who knows? With some other woman, perhaps.I’ll paint the bodies on the beach. In that painting, the endless one. Eternal art, a riot of colours, elements and energy would carry over from one painting to another and so to infinity. The one I would never finish as nothing between the two of us was finished nor would it ever be.
Total? I closed my eyes.We were approaching the waves.After so many changes of mood I was not quite myself and failed to feel anything of that which I would define as a certain kind of sentiment which has a name. I dissolve into the landscape. All the cells in my body contain all the information about all atoms of the night , the trees, the sands, the sea.They sense the hollow rumble of the waterfall of passions with which the small particles collide in order to lend a certain shape to matter. I perceived the landscape dissolving inside me, filling me with energy from all the passions that were burning that night; the energy flowed out of my hand into Irina’s and the same energy flowed from her hand into mine. I undressed her with all the hands which pulsated that night. I touched her lips with all breathing lips. I touched her with all bodies. We were not just the two of us. We were billions, making love tenderly for the last time that night maybe. Those who desperately sought salvation in the brief moment. Who the next day will be far from one another, maybe will not exist. Embraces severed by the waves…Laughter, lost in the lapping of the waves… Search for an embrace… A total embrace… A final embrace before the end of the world. An embrace. A fresh blow of the waves, another severing. Depraved severing. Depraved yearnings. Rubbing breasts and thighs against underwater pieces of rock, jutting shore, roots. Another cherished embrace, another severing. A thrill. The world vanishes. We are on the beach, our bodies covered with seaweed. Like stretched kisses. Cold kisses of rain freshen our still hot bodies… A new moon… Memory calls back like an echo:
“We part and I am again amidst the stones, juttings and roots. Sex kitten and sexy kittens… with sunglasses, blond and dark haired… Instead of in your arms… How I hate being alone!” We are not properly built and that is why perversions exist!
No! There is pornography because the eye behind the lens sees perversions. When each and every particle seeks mutuality from another and another and another in order for us to appear as we truly are we cannot be much different from the stuff out of which we are built.
We people see and reflect on things. That is why we lack the innocence of the animals which do not much care in which body they find solace.
We utter perversions. We enjoy shabby pornography. Thus we produce perversion and pornography. We seek refuge from being created different by looking the person emblematic of the entire world.And this Okey because given the words we utter and the glances we exchange we would quite upset nature. When however the sole person able to give us the embrace of the entire world is in fact in somebody else’s arms, or rather legally belongs to that somebody else, eyes cease to see perversion and we don’t care what words we utter. After that day and that night… Everything began from the very beginning for the two of us.
Both of us found ourselves alone only when doing the shopping and were afraid of talking about what happened to avoid hurtiful memories. We also tried to forget but in vain. I struck up two or three other relationships but thought myself a pervert, thinking of somebody else. Thus I stepped over the threshold and ceased to have qualms about how I was doing and with whom.I still loved Irina while making love to others in every conceivable and inconceivable manner. That too, soon palled, however.I was burning hot as soon as I found myself alone with her. I cannot realize how I refrained from raping her on the very marketplace amids the throng of passers by upon the tomato crates. A blinking red light signalling danger made me go back to Assenovgrad and only in a life-or-death situation to return to Sofia very briefly not setting foot in my atelier even which is ten storeys above Irina’s flat… I was tormented by predatory instincts. Lonelyness was the death of me. Desire was ripping me apart, yet I was already used to it all. Soon I would resign completely, I believed.
Maybe I could have achieved resignation had I sought refuge elsewhere. Not in a flat in a an apartment block furnished with a telephone but in some outlying small village up in the mountains, whose inhabitants had not even heard of this age-old accomplishment of perverted human thought, designed to upset peace of mind.
No! I ought to have been inside a cave. Or – still better – far away in a desert. On a desert island!
No! Not on a desert island. Since childhood I have always known that there are always island women with slim bodies, golden sun tan, gorgeous breasts and long chestnut hair – Irinas!
In a desert it would have been best but I thought I knew what I was doing just when I did not know what I am doing. The image of my dreams was growing pale. I was painting still better, still more assiduously, with keener inspiration than before. There was also the occasional muse, though I did not need muses all that much. I needed only myself. That which I had been lacking now for years on end in its fullness and which I had to lose completely as it happened with my fatal falling in love before I realized how precious it had been.
I painted from sunrise till sunset. When colours wearied me I merely gave myself to reflection and dreams of something distant, something that could not materialize. Something only children believed in. When I sensed I was approaching an emotional abyss I raced my car. When I felt hurt emotionally, I resorted to prostitutes but most often I masturbated. All that was a kind of trough but I felt it was only passing and soon I would be the man I was before meeting Irina. A bit older, natuarally,wiser and considerably wealthier… A phone call shattered all that I had been building up for months on end.
“Is that you, Zdravko?” heard I her voice. I choked when I did. It did not even occur to me it was a m a l e name she was calling.
“No. It’s me, Papa Jan!”
If I had only kept silent, then maybe… Actually, that would have changed nothing. Her voice was the sound of the trumpet which had torn down the Jericho walls of tranquility which I had been erecting for so long. In that brief instant I was naked under her and she gave me scores of lashings with a whip.
“O-o-o!” she was surprised but I could not say whether pleasantly or unpleasantly.
“How are you?”
Damned indifference.
“How do you suppose I am! It seems my voice still smells of the sand from that night. I have been simply trying to be my own self. You got as far deep in me as I had never allowed anyone to be, and now you’re calling me by a different name. Just think how you asked ‘How are you?’ “
“I simply dialled the wrong number…” she laughed shame-facedly.
“It was good of you to say so.”
“Are you painting?”
“Totally!” I said and felt sick.
“What’s the matter with you?”
“Tired and inspired. Bye, for now. You must check out Zdravko’s phone number…”
I hung up before she had said “See you soon!”
I grabbed the brush. Then I flung it away. I laughed. Imagine my voice smelling of sand! I giggled like crazy. This way I found refuge from memories of the beach. I’ll visit the Golden Sands beach no more. I’ll cherish the golden grains of sand in the treasure-house of memory, not to be reached by anyone… My laughter turned into a sob of despair. A single one. A brief sob, and then dumbness clutched at my chest… Cold dumbness… The snake bodies in my painting – cold and solid –seemed to be inside my lungs…I laid my brush on the painting which used not to tolerate my touch. Unfinished. Still challenging. Grown cold at a very early stage… Filled with passions, I was empty. Cold, although I was boiling in a cauldron. Desirous and desiring nothing. Half-closing my eyes, I visualized that night. The first and the last. The only one which was worth my first brush stroke. I had better shut myself in the shell of my inspiration and egocentricity, slowly forget who I was, lose the skills I had acquired with labyrinthine effort, master new ones, part with the profitable business of an arts patron of international stature and live with a faith in the problematic success of my art work… Simply, I very acutely longed for that night and to be worthy of it I had to devote myself to beauty with love… With all my heart and soul, with each and every fibre of my being, with every single beat of my heart, with all my heard and unheard of dreams, without even knowing what beauty is, without being certain of the existence of love, apart from devine and maternal one.
There was a hole in my everyday existence somewhere and it broke down to uncover naked desire, unprotected from pragmatic materialism. It was a desire for every single golden grain of the sand on the beach, a desire of making love with the whole of my nature, to paint the unfulfilled lamentations of the joy of the worthwhile thrill. I opened my eyes. The snakes in the painting were quivering. They came to life before freezing. I closed my eyes and with my lips touched the clitoris of the living goddess, the one I could not lose, the goddess of the dream of that night. Her legs opened and her lust was an escalation of the fire in me , a sweet lava, a divine mass – that’s what I sucked with my lips. Totally! I whispered and then, as if dictated to, I uttered a line of poetry, my first verse dedicated to my Grand Passion.

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