October 3, 1990, Dublin, Ireland from DODO: European Journals July 1990-January 1991
Today the Australian couple I had so much hope for, her voice had a hum, almost a vibration — and he that cheerful obviousness I find endearing in men. I could feel her manuever around him, center like a panther, playing him.
And so much of their playfulness was sexual, like when she was in the shower and he said, “I’m having some serious thoughts about rape.” “Sounds good to me,” she called out from beneath the water, opening the shower curtain. “I wonder, would it be better if I wait to dry off or perhaps right here in the shower?” “Either way sounds fine to me.”
He opens the window. Late September Ireland is numbingly cold. “Let’s let some of that good Dublin breeze in here,” he says from underneath the covers. “Let it breathe over those firm young thighs.” “These are not firm young thighs, my friend.” Later, in bed: “You can’t talk like a virgin.” “A virgin. You’d like that. A virgin wouldn’t last five minutes around you.”
Five minutes is right. This afternoon they come home and they’re talking one minute and banging away the next. She’s barely breathing when they stop and begin talking, about shopping. Forty five seconds, tops. She says “Stop playing with yourself,” and he says “I’m not playing with myself, I’m just looking at it.” “Yeah, well, I’m covered with it too but you don’t see me plumbing around in my depths.” “Yeah, but you’re not covered in black ink.”
Tonight they came home in the middle of a fight. The immeasurable sorrow of a woman’s voice cracking, straining not to cry, failing. He makes a joke of it, laughs too loud. She pushes against an opening for a little territory. He snaps, yells down at her, yells her down. She bites back — it’s ugly and sad. “I’ll go,” she says, “I’m gone.” “I go first,” he says, near the door. Quiet. “I just wanted a little more,” she says, beginning a collapse, beginning to cry. And she’s right, of course.