One Afternoon With A Nymphomaniac

excerpts  I passed the entrance exam in philology at Cluj, but I was already bored after my freshman year. I had the best results in my class, but that was not my place. Whenever I danced at parties, and I felt the boys' knees splitting my legs through my dress, my inner vibration turned unbearable, but I wouldn't give in to any of them. I was postponing the moment, I loved torturing myself. One day, I was on holiday, a second-degree cousin of mine called me for an interpreting job at Oltcit, the car factory. An Italian came with an offer for Pirelli driving belts. His name was Roberto. He was dark-haired and fresh. And smelt nice, too. He came prepared to meet Romanian women. He brought perfumes, silk stockings, and underwear, even OB's super and super plus, my God! He'd heard that they were scarce in Romania and men waited in line at the drugstore for them. He got scared. And he had no time to waste. Yet, I was still a virgin. He taught me the secrets of the blowjob, but that was all. Well, it meant something. Quality Italian apprenticeship. I was a sort of Monica Lewinsky, ­avant la lettre, only he wasn't Bill Clinton and we weren't in the Oval Office, but in a modest motel room, with a jute carpet before the bed, which hurt my knees. A few training sessions later, I stopped biting him. It was then when he caressed me under my skirt in a certain way that made me blush instantly, the pack of birds was flying its way out of me, heat starched my pores and I jerked a few times, overwhelmed by a strange, delirious pleasure. I was a bird that flew aimlessly, without a net beneath, under the circus' cupola, my jaws clenched to my partner's gag. I felt like I vanished from this world. He laughed as if he were a happy child playing with his electric train on the carpet. I'd just had my first orgasm. Yet he wouldn't touch me, I begged him, I implored him but it was useless. Yes, just like Monica, except for the cigar, of course. He promised me instead that if I solved my problem he'd wait for me in Italy, and he'd also find me a job. He went to Italy and sent me an invitation. All right, then. I had this neighbor, a Militia captain, who kind of liked me. I offered him my virginity for a passport. It was worth it. But he shook his shoulders and yelled at me. "Can't help you. Deal with it and we'll see." You, coward! I was pissed off. Am I sick or what? What to do? What to do? There were these nice guys that were swarming around me, but they lacked the experience. So I set for a lecturer from the Romance Languages Department, a serious man, rather older, married and very in love with me, as the entire university was aware of. Whenever he would look at me during the seminars, he missed the train of his words. I stayed after class with him one evening. I told him I was impressed with his feelings and I was prepared to answer them. He gave me an elegant, prudent answer. He seemed a normal guy. I talked him into coming to my students' dormitory. My roommate had left for home, to see her parents. I repeat, he seemed normal, but I was to find out men have their secrets, too. We got rid of our clothes. He asked me to put on my nightgown. I was surprised, I was naked why did he need me in my nightgown? Ok, if that was what he wanted. He caressed me over my nightgown. He was rather tense and asked me to be patient with him. That topped it all! I needed to be patient with him, not him with me! He sprawled between my boobies and started beating his jack. And then he smeared my face and eyes with his sperm… I didn't know what to do or say. I asked him why and he started crying. I was perplexed. He told me he had seen his father doing it; his father used to be a political prisoner at Aiud. And no, he hadn't been a member of any political party, he had been the vice secretary of Constantza Municipal Council before the war. This made him no. 2 in town, the youngest of all clerks; he was in his middle twenties. His only guilt was that he had never been changed from his position by any political leadership, may that be peasant-party, liberal, Carol II or Antonescu's dictatorships. For the new political regime, that meant he was a brother of the people's enemies, he was a traitor. When they took him, the boy was still in his mother's womb. Among many atrocities, they made him masturbate in front of the prosecutors. When he was released, he couldn't do it other way. And his wife, who gave birth meanwhile, put up with his behavior. This turned her up. The little boy could see and hear them, they all slept together in the same room, in some basement. He grew up this way… he married when he was still young and his wife was the only woman he ever knew. I asked him if he did the same thing with her. She had dumped him, but they didn't divorce for fear they might have lost their jobs. We fell asleep. I felt him jerking off again in the morning, on my nightgown. He made me sick and I threw him out. My fury blinded me and I did the job myself. It was embarrassing. Whatever, is this part of the confession as well? Well, if you insist, but I don't like it at all… I sat in front of the mirror, I opened my legs wide and… I used that cardboard piston… super plus… that Roberto had brought from Italy… I tortured my sparrow eye in cold blood until I tore it… I finally managed to kill it, with repeated blows. Yeah, some sort of self-rape… Then I fainted. I woke up bathed in my own sweat. I was alone. I had fainted at my father's funeral, a long time ago, and they took me to the hospital. But now I was alone. I was in agony; a fierce pain ripped my body down there and reached my heart. I fell asleep and woke up a couple of times. I dreamt of my father who shook his head in disapproval, I jumped, sweating profusely; I fell… That was my dream. For hours on end. When my roommate came back in the evening, I was all right… The fierce pain turned into a horrible burn. I was pale. Of course I didn't tell her. I was ashamed of what I'd done. The burning wound subsided in a few weeks, it just pulsed from time to time. And after a few weeks, the sparrow eye came back to life… hem, well, like a Phoenix… Actually, I don't think it ever came back to life for real, I just have this continuous sensation that it flutters all the time, as if in an endless flight, it never rests for fear it might die again. The Americans are rather thin and boring, very different from Romanians, Serbs, Bosnians or Croats, Balkan men in general, whose imagination never runs dry. Yet I preferred the Americans because they never fell in love. They are so constrained by puritan and financial bonds that they don't allow themselves to fall in love. Plus, they have an obvious tendency of reducing everything to sport, especially sex. Their sentimental metaphysics is still on, but it's only skin deep, clichéd and typed, while the Balkans dramatize the whole thing, they have their own erotic quest, they're jealous, excessive, they can kill for a woman, they even can kill her. So, for the sake of my own personal comfort, I kind of prefer the Americans because they were never a pain in the ass. We had sex. End of story – we stayed friends afterwards (as long as I could use them again) or not – but I never made them my enemies. They face a different sort of problem: they are a hard case to crack. You can hardly make them do you a favor. They usually trifle with you. Plus, they have short-term memory. If you call an American after six months and ask him for a small favor, for example to give you a lift to the hairdresser's, he acts like he never met you in his life. He kind of remembers you later and asks you what you are doing after, why don't you come over? I'd pay him a visit if I were free from other responsibilities, but I changed my schedule in the meantime, I'm playing a different tune now, I have other priorities, I've changed, I cannot wait for him. While, if I call an "ex" who is Romanian, he does me the favor even after two or five years, without asking anything in return. Romanian guys have good memory, no matter what people say. This was actually one important reason for my leaving the country, maybe the most important. Where does this difference come from, you might ask?Well, the principle is quite simple. Actually, clear. In their society, it's not the woman who's endowed with the occult force that moves things around; she is the leading actress, but the decision belongs to a different factor, an almighty one – money, finance, the mighty money. That society is oiled by financial profit and no woman in the world – not even me! – can alter the course of things. Let me give you an example: here, in Romania, if some General Manager of a large plant hires his mistress as a secretary or as a personal counselor, no one is going to make a fuss about her lack of professional skills. What's another hole in wall? The plant is already on the verge of bankruptcy. The budget covers everything from the sucker taxpayers. However, an American who owns a company won't afford a lazy, unprofessional secretary (regardless of her professional and industrious performance in the bedroom), because if she breaks off two or three contracts, and writes three bad letters, and forgets to confirm a couple of attendances at some business meetings, the company loses money or even worse, it goes broke. On the other hand, inside the ownership division, all over the Balkans, in Eastern Europe and Russia, the employers hire their mistresses and relatives big time because they're all members of the old communist upper class. They all have the same intimate mentality, derived from the tribal one, my loyal people, people I know, people I deeply trust. Sex was a proof of trust, wasn't it? That's bullshit! Let my slaves have something to eat! An American employer would hardly hire his wife, girlfriend or mistress with his company. This is no child's play. Well, they take care of their mistresses, but not inside the company. This doesn't rule out fucking their employees, but only if they made mistakes or if they agree. Employers never make the first move because they can be charged with harassment. Some women use this as an advantage to blackmail them or to get money. This is a complicated situation, you never know who punishes who. I used sex with my job, but only for slight adjustments of the internal fight, very common with any company, but not for promotion or blackmail. I'm a good lawyer, please excuse my lack of modesty, and winning cases in another language than your own is not as easy as it sounds. It was precisely this situation that caused me my first trouble. It was really funny. I worked as a lawyer on Avenue of the Americas; my office was in a gorgeous 50-story building, designed by a Romanian who immigrated there, a slick steel razor, which curled towards the sideways, like the bottom of a pool. My firm's offices took the 48th floor. Coothert Sisters was a well-known law firm in both America and Europe, founded by the twin sisters at the beginning of the century. I was more into the translation business, interpreting and retroversions. You can imagine they considered me a genius due to all the languages I could speak, since they spoke only English. OK. And I win my first case, a case I was supposed to lose, unfortunately. Yes, you heard it right, I was supposed to lose it! The president of my firm, the sisters' nephew, made a deal with a client but I wasn't aware of that. The firm was to represent him in court for the sake of the game. The case needed to be lost, because the client was to be hired vice-president with the winners. I come back from the court rise-and-shiny when I see all my colleagues with these sober faces. "What's the matter?" I ask one of them. "The boss wants to see you, you're burnt!" I enter the secretary's office; she gives me cold looks and shows me the upholstered door. I knock and go in. Coothert the nephew sat behind his desk, in sullen looks. He cast me a killing glance. "You are way too enthusiastic for us. Sorry… you can no longer work for us." I… I couldn't follow him. I explained that I got so enthusiastic for the firm not to lose money. He shook his head in distress. "You're only a junior. You were sent to court on purpose, to lose the trial." I was shocked. "Some trials must be lost, Ms. Hosta…" "Why wasn't I told? If only I knew…" "You didn't need to know anything. You must play your part and nothing more. The part controls you, not the other way round. You must obey your part." I replied this was a misunderstanding, I like being obedient and I found it unfair to be fired just because I had done my job so well. "Your job was to lose this case. A junior cannot win such an important case. You won the case for us, but you made us lose more money than if you had lost it." He looked at me, or through me, with empty eyes. He wore glasses with thick lenses. He managed to paralyze me. He took out a cigar and cut one of its ends with a small steel guillotine. I stood before him and I felt like an expelled schoolgirl. He totally ignored me, paying attention only to his cigar. I begged him to give me another chance. He puffed a few smokes and signed some papers with an absent attitude. After a while, he raised his eyes: "I feel like I need to test your obedience..." I looked down and blushed to save face. Everything is consensual with Americans and humiliation is the most consensual of all things, indeed. "I can't hear you. Don't you speak English?" " I agree, sir," I whispered staring at his 600 dollars shoes. He groaned something. "We run a law firm, not a parting trial." He pushed a button, the secretary showed up. "Please, see the lady out. She no longer works for us." I made for the door; I was in trance, working my brains out to see what I'd done wrong. I turned. "Would you please, sir?" "What?" "Test my obedience…" He pointed me with his eyes, over his glasses. "I don't believe you'd pass the test. It's very… cold." I looked at the cigar he was holding. "Try me, please…" – he puffed again and looked at me amused, through the smoke clouds. He ordered his secretary over my shoulder: "Bring some ice, please…" He signed other papers. I was a piece of furniture in his room. The secretary came back with a bowl of ice cubes and placed it on his desk. When she passed by me, she cast this mean look, half disregarding, half compassionate. Had she brought ice cubes before, in similar situations? Was she aware of the next part of this story? I looked down. I was prepared for anything. "Put your hands behind you and close your eyes," Coothert the nephew ordered me. I followed his order. He stood up and came to me. Suddenly, I felt the cold ice cube on my breast. Shivers crossed my body. He slid the ice from one breast to another. I clenched my hands behind me. "Are you still hot?" I panted. "Yes…" "Everywhere?" I saw it coming. Not even in my wildest dreams had I imagined I'd sleep with the company's president. This was a one-in-a-lifetime opportunity. "Yes, I muttered feebly, everywhere." He glided the ice between my breasts and down. I was shivering. Then I felt the ice going up my knees. "Can I free my hands, sir?" "Only if you know what to do with them…" "I think I know…" I gently lifted my dress. When he pressed the ice cube down there, over my knickers, I was on fire. I started moaning. "Is it better?" "Yes, sir…" "Your knees are shaking… maybe you should lie down." "Yes, sir. May I open my eyes?" "No. I'll lead you." He took my arm and showed me the way until my knees touched the cold leather of the armchair. Another shower of fevers. "There's a pillow on the armchair. You can warm your knees…" I sat on my knees, banging my shoulders on the back of the armchair, in an impossible position, my head hanging down, like I was some hanged woman with no noose. My fingers clenched behind me on the dress's trim. I kept pulling it up, up, up. "Let's see how hot you are." "Yes, sir, please…" He acted instantly. He pushed my knickers aside with a jerky move… I felt the ice directly on my… I had a violent orgasm, like a shiver in intensive care. He caressed my face and put the ice into my mouth. He knew exactly what to do, when to do it, he was really good. I can see talent in people and I salute it instantly, no matter what. No, the secretary never steps in the office out of the blue. She can call, though. "Give it to me, give it to me, give it to me…" I kept saying, without stopping. But he postponed the moment with cruelty, bringing me on the verge of despair. I hated him and I wanted him at the same time, twenty times in the same second. "Please… please…" I moaned, exhausted. I couldn't speak with the ice in my mouth. "All right, if you insist…" he said, sarcastically. He penetrated me directly. I almost fainted with pleasure. I was floating away. It felt so good, the position was fantastic, lacking any defense, so vulnerable, totally at his disposal, under his control, parted from the rest of the world, as if I were gone, all my senses oriented inside me, for my pleasure only. "Would you tell me when you finish your ice, so we can to finish together?" I heard him like in a dream. I was coming on and on, but I couldn't scream because they could surely hear me in the waiting room. I bit my lips and prayed for the ice not to melt. I felt his heavy balls, like two sand bags, hitting my inner ear drum, tossing to tell me their old story, and I was seized instantly with transcendental bliss, almost on the verge of losing my conscience, above any orgasm. I muttered some undistinguishable words, I had finished my ice long a time before, but I kept mimicking it, as if I were a one-armed person that thinks he still has his arm. I couldn't feel my tongue or my palate. Later on, he slipped one finger between my teeth and felt the inside of my mouth. He found no trace of ice. "Well, it's not nice of you to cheat under these circumstances…" "I'm… too hot, I mean too cold…" I barely spoke. "Are you?" he pressed my gums, my tongue and my palate with his hot fingers, inch by inch, while he did the same thing down there but much better… I felt him giving me my heat back in my mouth, in my vagina… And when he decided to finish, I knew it, as usual, many seconds before. Irresistible fevers ran through my body, maybe it's that fever back in my childhood, a vibration that isn't similar to anything, almost alien, it's the premonition of ejaculation. I can tell no matter what, it never eludes me; it splashed me in a jerky pulse like a heart that endlessly pumps hot oil, and all my mouth came back to normal in a second. It was beyond anyone's imagination. You won't write about this, will you? I never got into trouble from that moment on, I did what I pleased, I came and left when I wanted, I didn't need to attend any trials, although I wanted to, but he wouldn't allow me. He sent me a message once in a couple of weeks about some project we needed to discuss at 8 o'clock in the evening, when there was no one around. I would wear the same jacket I had on that day, our first day, same shoes, I'd change only the color of my underwear at his request, white, pink, light blue and green, but with the same classic cut, Victoria classic. It was nothing sexy about that underwear, no G-string or stuff, no, just a classic cut, resembling Tetra. This was his thing, he had never seen Tetra in his life, and new things aroused him. We'd invariably play the same ice cube game, along almost the same theme, my project was not complete, or not well-enough documented, and he must fire me. And I'd asked him, I'd begged him to give me another chance and he would accept it in jest on his armchair or on his desk. We remained still for 15 seconds; the lights went off automatically, and turned on again with our first twitch. There was this movement sensor on the ceiling, but the sensor wasn't aware of what we were doing there, what kind of toss that was, it was programmed for a respectable office, for human movements in general and we would trick it in particular. This was a delicious torture because the nephew liked to prolong the torments of Tantalus, the sexologist, for more than 15 seconds. I went crazy when he stood still in me; I wasn't allowed to move, as if I were a Biedermeier. I begged him fuck me, pleeeeease, fuck me, and he mocked at me, shouting – don't move or the light is on… he went in and out quickly, taking me by surprise, as a battering ram, I screamed as electrocuted, the lights went on, followed by a passionate round of sex. I was complaining about the desk's corners, and he promised to get rid of me, he stopped, the lights went off and so on, the game unfolded beautifully. A vague honk of the Avenue of the Americas would come upstairs through the windows. I asked him once to move the armchair closer to the window so I can get the vertigo of the cars' line, driving very slowly on the road, the teeming in the streets, which I was watching from upstairs with hungry eyes while I was whimpering in his arrogant dick, secluded, blinded inside me while I was watching, I was watching, I was watching… I had a totally different perspective. Colored bubble lights shone on the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building; Times Square, the only place on earth with so many lights, was bathed by them, the commercials on Broadway turned the sky red, choppers flew in silence and very low, carrying tourists or rich people on their daily route and I, hidden behind dark impenetrable windows I got fucked, I got fucked, I got fucked on a Biedermeier desk… What could be more beautiful? Other bosses were punishing so many other interns at the same moment with candor and hate, in the same position, but with different perspectives. The night had fallen over the city, over the skyscrapers on Madison Avenue, Lexington Avenue, Wall Street and on the long and winding Broadway, on FDR Highway, inside UN headquarters, huge, like a box of matches with fiery windows and so on, all over great Manhattan, a concrete island with the heart of a child, a city where if something doesn't happen, it means it hasn't been invented yet, the city that never sleeps, but fucks all the time, love and hate, zero tolerance – the infinite, a human urban unmatched layer, a huge postmodern bazaar… Istanbul, Constantinople, IstanbulWhere I, a postmodern Byzantine woman, was living, living, living, sucking its life from the 48th floor through all my open wide pores while Coothert the nephew penetrated me fiercely with his perky spear, dated 200 years ago. He elevated me, stirred me, swapped me in time, as a flag with cosmopolitan folds, waving above all believers, free, proud and happy… Afternoon with a Nymphomaniac (Maşina de scris, 2003), by Eugen Şerbănescu (b. 1952), a prose writer and playwright with postgraduate studies in politics, journalism and communication (Reuters, University of Maryland, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Harvard), spokesman for the government, and Consul General in New York and Los Angeles, consists of the Romanian lawyer Livia Hosta's confession, a continuum between a frantic, self-abandoning sexual life and the calculated returns it fetches in business or politics.

by Eugen Şerbănescu