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Euskal Idazleen Elkartea

Iñaki Mendiguren > Extracts

Narrative (short story and novel)

1990 The Alder does have a Heart pp 49-53 | Elkar

It was early in September. We were all in the pub, being jostled around in the crowd, immersed in the shouting, talking amid the smoke, when, without uttering a word, someone behind me covered my eyes with one hand and encircled my waist with the other and manoeuvred me to one side. On turning round, I was completely at a loss for words. How could I have expected to see you? What was I to do? Punch you in the face or tell you to get lost? Forget all the past that had been brought back to me so suddenly? Just keep my eyes on the future? I had learnt my lesson and, full of mistrust, I could not open up another window of hope. Yet you –having the upper hand– were in a position to win a round, and with your contagious joy you had stolen a smile from me by the time I had reacted. We began to speak disjointedly. My mates carried on with their pub crawl. And you got straight down to brass tacks. You said that in the course of those two long months you had undergone a profound change. As the murky waters of feelings settled down and became clearer, it seems you saw your nature more clearly in them, and having decided to give up pointless struggles, you came to terms with yourself and accepted what you felt. You told me there was no point in our continuing to destroy each other, and asked me to forgive you for all your contradictions; you said it was not just another trick and that I should trust you; if I wanted, I could take measures and put you to the test, but you pleaded with me over and over again not to deny you a fresh opportunity.
–When I met you –you told me– I had high hopes about our friendship. But I soon started to think that I would not the only one in your arms and that other ears, too, would listen to your sweet words… and I could not bear to be just another one, I wanted to be the only one. That was why I started going out with that girl to punish you or provoke you or forget about you… Maybe there were times when I detested you, because I could not free myself from you, but I have not managed to be indifferent about you and forget you.
You spoke slowly and deliberately as if measuring each word. We spoke for an hour or so. Despite initial doubts, I was thirsty for love, so it was not difficult for me to get involved in that unexpected game; faced with the prospect of being in your arms again I soon forgot the past completely. That evening you were not going to be free until late, but you would find me waiting for you, I would be waiting for you more passionately than ever, as one looks forward to refreshing rain following a drought. And we set out to make up for lost time.
I left the keys for you among the plants outside the entrance hall. I went to bed beside myself with happiness. With the bedside light left on I eventually fell asleep, though not immediately, knowing that…
And then came the distant sound of the front door; soon I felt you slip into bed beside me, you stealer of hearts! Without waking up, as if in a dream, with the intention of making what should never have withered bloom once again, we embraced each other to frighten away old memories for ever. Then I woke up completely, but in a different world.
Naked, sensual, you were embarrassed about being in the nude. With the light switched off, the street lamp from outside provided us with a delightful chiaroscuro setting. Trembling with emotion, I plucked up the courage to caress and pet you. Your body stiff and hard, you gazed at me meekly as if asking for mercy and forgiveness. On returning from the kitchen with the whisky, I found you lying on the bed sobbing with your face buried in the pillow. At that moment my feelings of affection began to grow without bounds. I pulled the sheet over you and hugged you with all the tenderness in the world. What was the cause of those tears? The fear of facing an unknown abyss or the suspicion of happiness? You gave me the caresses and kisses I had been yearning for in the course of an entire year.
We lit a cigarette and, sitting on the bed, started playing with the smoke we were exhaling. We had a glass each but we both drank from the same one so make our embarrassment slip away or in the quest for intimacy. There were smiles and laughter and when there was only a little whisky left at the bottom of the glass I took it and threw it all in your face. At that very moment, before you had had time to react, I swallowed you up in kisses, sucking what had been poured over you.
Gently but firmly squeezing you against me I whispered secrets in your ear, lovely secret things, which until that moment I had always kept to myself. Oh my dear distant friend, if only now we could revive the dreamlike magic of those moments!
They say the body is the vehicle of love. And with our bodies crossed, accompanied by the night’s shadows, we found in each other lost paradises –the only ones that are worth seeking. Slowly, we lost ourselves along the paths of dreams, with your tanned body trembling, your beautiful slender thighs, too. Sensual lips, skilful hands wise in matters of pleasure. I formed one with you, and you with me, and as we gave each other our bodies, we took possession of each other and sampled the pleasures of the flesh until we had sated our desires. We also spoke, not much, but what we said was important. And at some point we both fell asleep when the first light of day began to extinguish the stars of the seventh heaven.
July and August of that year had not been sunny months for me, but what a September! Even if it had been without realising it –or who knows, maybe it could have been some unconscious link– we arranged to meet in the afternoon of the following day on the shores of the lake where I had been waiting for you and your friend a year before. You had arrived in advance, I could see you a long way in the distance; your figure shone against the sunlight that had just begun to weaken; the late afternoon sunshine, the weak rays highlighted your youthful body full of beauty, the suppleness and freshness of your muscles. I observed all your movements intently as my heart raced. For a moment you went off to pick something –blackberries, was it?– and unfortunately you moved away from me; what I lost in the distance, I retrieved in another way: before the dark patch of brambles, the brightness of your naked body, the charm of your limbs that stretched so slenderly stood out even more as you stretched for the delicious fruit up high.
All I could hear were the sounds of my own footsteps as I approached you. By that time you had lain down on the grass and were staring at the sky, your thighs opened, so alluringly; your lips half opened, as if waiting for something. My blood was on fire. You appeared to have fallen asleep; but what dreams were arousing your body? And what was rousing you in such a way? I felt a pang of pleasure for the fear and desire of your weapon.
Very slowly, I began to hear some chords from within myself coming from I do not know where. Very quietly first of all, but clear. It was Brahms. Then as the sun lost its strength, louder, that music lodged inside my brain with ever increasing intensity and from there spread to my whole being and surrounded and enveloped me completely, as if it had taken possession of me, and as if I had immersed myself in it. Beside myself, I danced to that music dizzily in the air. In that Crescendo I did not realise that I was panting. At that moment I would happily have lost myself in the depths of your abysses, would gladly have drowned in your arms, happily on top of you, tasting pleasure, would have happily flown and been at one with the wind for ever, to melt and become mist in your heat. And for the second time dreams turned into reality.
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