Venom In The Month Of May

excerpt Yes, she is thoroughly preoccupied with each client's history. It is a sort of sadism of hers or an imaginary compensation. She takes part in the emotions and ups and downs of every story. She dreams of the many Don Juans, husbands and lovers whose voluntary victims succeed one after another in her nickel office. This is how Claudia had her share of love. Her slim, gelatinous figure, resembling that of the jellyfish which override the beaches in autumn – the anonymity of her features, effaced as in a sketch bleached by time, banned her from the island of love. In her turn, she makes confessions to her female clients, to whom she gives all the details of her first encounter with love. 'By this time', thought Mile, 'Dalia must have found out the whole story, too.' It had all happened after a small party with her colleagues, who had opened many a bottle of champagne. A young doctor in the making saw her off to her house. Clovis, a good friend of Andrei. Claudia eventually came to know the great caress, which she had read about in romance novels and physiology books. He kissed her on their way home. Frantic and inflamed, he passionately begged her to let him in at that late time of the night. So, she let him in. He was not the chosen one. On the contrary, she had never thought about him before. But that was not important. The important thing was to get rid of the state that had chased the favorite one away from her. After all, how much longer was she to wait? When inside, she hardly had the time to take off her hat and her cloak.On the first sofa they came across, one of those sofas on which usually the sinful women lie in confusion, still dizzy because of the chloroform, the man's craving pushed her down as if she were an enemy. Andrei had heard the story numberless times and now he was living it, as if in a cinema hall. Inside his head, the movie went on in all its thorough details. He could not help imagining Clovis and the latter's bald satrap-like face, starring in this performance. He breathed heavily, scowled terribly and fumbled with her skirts. Claudia had closed her eyes, in accordance with the unique and universal feminine rite. All engrossed and aggressive, he didn't bother to kiss her lips or whisper words of romance in her ear any more, as he had done on their way home in the carriage. He groped and finally reached the silky skin. Claudia' mind started spinning in concentric circles and a ludicrous, poetical thought parted with the rest and started floating into the space: il y a des lézards dans la peau blonde de la mer… The very same moment she moaned painfully and then again and again. She opened her eyes, her face contorted. Clovis looked at her in amazement. So, was it true then?Her instinct advised her to smile.The pain came back, stronger, more tearing. His hesitating voice trembled in her ear in a sadistic satisfaction: is it true?Pinned down on her pyre, Claudia realized that this discovery did not make her more beautiful and admirable in Clovis's eyes. No shade of poetry descended over their bodies clutched in a grotesque entanglement. She was inspired and powerful enough to say: no… and she closed her eyes again, setting her jaws. Then there followed a terrible massacre during which Claudia thought of Joan of Arc, Huguenots and Mucius Scaevola, to refrain herself from screaming. Convinced as he was by Claudia's denial, or maybe fearful he might not overcome such a fragile obstacle, the lover stopped being considerate and trying to temperate his desire. For him, the wine and the champagne prolonged the voluptuousness of this endeavor. For what seemed an eternity, they both slid into rhythms and times through the makeshift slaughterhouse of love. Claudia did not pass out, due to a stubborn desire to record thoroughly in her mind everything that was going on.Her face was pale, her eyes-swollen with tears. He was all sweaty; his collar was creased and his tie askew; eventually, he straightened it up in front of the mirror. The pendulum struck a late hour in the night.Clovis got ready to leave.Maybe he was sorry for what had happened. He should have gone to bed earlier that night! He had been losing so many nights lately…He bid his farewell after having kissed her conventionally and after having tapped amicably her cheeks and, more vigorously, above her knee. The gesture of an accomplice. As if they had been partners of an equal experience; that is how it suited Clovis. Otherwise they would have been both blamable, and he, even more than her. Alone now, she tells the story of the brutal seduction and desertion to all her patients. Her defeat makes her fight zealously and lovingly for her clients' liberation from catastrophic maternities.But why had he developed an obsession for this story, so cynically depicted by Clovis and which finally aroused his curiosity for Claudia? She has the sharp eye of a hunter and the unfailing hand of an executioner. She proposed herself to found a home for orphans and for women about to become mothers, as soon as she had gathered enough fortune. A home in which nobody would be asked for their name and their purpose in life. As welcoming and generous as the earth. The almshouse of Doctor Claudia Doran, Paradise provider. Ion Vinea (1895-1964) an avant-garde poet above all, is said to have squandered most of his talent in political journalism, as a self-defined constructivist and non-ethnicist patriot, and love affairs with stylish women; his most substantial prose was published posthumously, in 1971, although it bears an unmistakable interwar stamp. In his youthful phase, the hero, Andrei Mile, after a brief episode of "apron fetishism", succumbs to the charms of a masterfully portrayed Roua (Dew), a prostitute hired to get him rid of his virginity (a recurrent theme, as may be seen above), who in her turn fatally falls in love with him.

by Ion Vinea (1895-1964)