THE TEXT

The Life of Henry Fuckit
(1950 - 2015)

 

58   Voyeur's reward

He began to wonder, crouched at his spy hole, about the husband of Frau Klee. Herr Klee. He already disliked and feared the man and felt the pain of jealousy as he gazed with one-eyed lust upon this delightful creature. Not that she was perfect. Yet he couldn't remember a woman who had appealed to him more, in such a rounded way. Long ago he had excised Kaye Goldblatt from his memory. Desirable, down-to-earth, intelligent, spirited. His type of woman, if that were at all possible. So what type of man was this husband of hers, the 'Artist'? Nothing like himself, of that he was pretty certain. It was unlikely that she would go for someone like Henry Fuckit. A smoother type with definite, even fixed views. She would be attracted to someone with conviction, not to a tormented character like him who questioned the necessity of taking his next breath, let alone being able to follow a distinct path through life.

Seeing her alone at the table, after the children had been put to bed, was particularly moving and intense. Wouldn't she sense his eye on her? Sometimes she would look up from what she was doing, finishing a meal, mending something, reading the paper, and glance about her in a distracted way, uneasy like a dog, listening and intent, and then resume her occupation. Once she sat staring straight at him in such a fixed way that he was sure she could see his eyeball glinting through the grille and he shut it. But not knowing whether or not she was getting up and striding over to his hiding place caused him such terror that he immediately opened it again.

When she yawned, stood up and left, her hand automatically going to the switch and flicking the scene into darkness, he slunk back to his room and an old brown brandy. He knew nothing about women, they were entirely strange to him. Even when he lay on top of one, having entered into one, having covered and enfolded one in complete physical intimacy, he was ignorant of her. When his eye bored into her from a distance of ten feet, his whole being concentrated upon her, the chasm between them was as wide and unbridgeable as if he were a light year from her. He must resign himself to despair. The chasm existed all about him and only a fool would believe that the chasm was bridgeable. Unless … No. Unless was weakness and self-delusion. Unless was back to magic, superstition and religion. A pathetic attempt to refute the obvious. Why be afraid of the obvious? It was one thing to huddle together for comfort, to partake of the drug and bask in its warmth; that was acceptable human behaviour. Who could be blamed for trying to keep warm and for driving back loneliness with sentimentality? He knew all about that and understood if in a brotherly way. But to deny one's essential aloneness was not acceptable behaviour. He couldn't condone the delusions of holy men who communed with a higher being. Higher beings, lower beings or fellow beings, there was no communion. The only communion was with oneself. Was that so bad? He shouldn't talk of despair.

To drink alone was preferable because then he could better appreciate the inner conversation. He needed to drink less, too. A glass and a half could last him an hour if taken with a bit of external reality, the external reality feeding the internal dialogue. Dialogue or monologue? There were so many questions and tentative answers he supposed it had to be a dialogue, conducted in the manner of a man working out chess moves, playing against himself. The bits of reality could be lines from a poem, the smell of fog (or dog, for that matter), a photograph in a magazine or a snatch of something on the radio. Just about anything could provoke a discussion…

He was jolted from his reverie by her laughing and giggling and the low tones of a man's voice. He had been sitting on two boxes of newspapers, immersed in his thoughts and the darkness of the passage-cupboard. What was going on? He thought she had gone to bed. It was late. With a feeling of dread he crouched down once more and peered through the spy-hole.

They were already undressed, their clothes scattered about the room. A tall fair-haired man in his late thirties, bearded, fit looking. So this was the bastard. God, she's beautiful! Henry's heart was pounding furiously, he breathed in shallow gasps and his whole body was prickling with shame. With noisy sighs of ecstasy they were in the process of coupling. She was lifted, she wrapped her legs about his hips, she hung from his neck. Slowly he made his way toward the door, paused, bounced her up and down. Then the strangely entwined mythological creature was gone from his view.

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