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Carnal Interlude


Robert Sermais


The night which awaits us will not be devoted to sleep,†I thought to myself. That was why I didn't dawdle over the fine supper which had been prepared for us. “Go get the car,†I urged Claude as soon as we had eaten.

He went down the stone steps, and drove the car back quickly. I climbed in beside him, and I told him about a nearby country dance where we might dance under the linden trees. The stars shone gloriously in the sky, and it was a superb time to be together.

“Why has nature put so much pleasure into the act of love?†Claude asked, his eyes fixed ahead on the road.

“So that the body will be sanctified in its intimate exuberance; so that a man can believe himself at one with the universe in all that is noble and good,†was my answer.

“And then why has he surrounded that nobility with shame?â€

“For nature wishes man to know that he is free and responsible to himself; he may make of love a base or noble act as he chooses.â€

Claude slowed down to drive through the little village. As soon as we had passed the old Gothic church which rose above the roofs of the little houses, the first strains of music came to our ears. He turned off where I'd indicated, and we went towards the dance. The owner of the place greeted us on the steps and led us to the garden. There, we saw couples dancing. We sat down at a table and Claude ordered two goblets of champagne, and then invited me to dance. His arm circled my waist and he-pressed his belly against mine. I let myself be cradled by the slow, voluptuous waltz; he danced beautifully and I had only to follow. Three waltzes followed, each more lively than the last. Finally, my hair tumbled, I went back to our table where we sipped our champagne. But soon a tango took us back to the dance, and he held me tightly. Despite the pressure of our thighs, we danced with supple ease. I offered him my mouth, happy that after this afternoon's passion, he still desired my lips. How many men would have found such an embrace pallid after having fucked! His tongue brushed mine, and all through the dance, we amused and teased ourselves this way.

We left the ball just after midnight, our bodies warm and excited. Once the car had been taken back to the garage, I lay down on the moist grass. When Claude came, he sat down close to me and calmly raised his face towards the stars. He dreamed, while the earth sent toward the sky the mute melody of nature.

“All this is so new for me,†he murmured.

“Tell me what's in your heart, dear,†I murmured.

“So many confused notions, Therese.â€

“Speak to me as to a friend and comrade. In life, you may not have such opportunity to talk frankly with a woman,†I urged.

“With you, I see easily a simple, spontaneous unison. But the moment my thoughts leave you, I lose my serene lucidity, my ideas grow distorted and I am the prey of my erotic fantasies,†he confessed.

“Love is like a universal law which authorizes everything,†I replied. “The Hindus use sexual contact with the female to ponder on infinity. The Latins fuck to forget time, the Scandinavians to prove their illusory superiority of race. But if I had to teach you one rule, it would be to cast aside all intellectual notions about love. For me, there is only the coming together of two sensitivities who merge two bodies which offer themselves one to the other. Love is the greatest of gifts in its respect for joy and pleasure.â€

“But respect is the opposite of pleasure,†he parried.

“No! Respect consists simply in exploiting all the possibilities of love!â€

“But then everything is permitted?â€

“Of course!â€

“Yet if there are no limits, how can one speak of debauchery and perversion?â€

“When two beings love, there is no debauchery. The mouth serves to kiss, the hands to caress, while the sexual organs are the foundation of pleasure. All the combinations of these three parts of the body are proper. All attitudes and poses are permitted, so long as they do not go against the healthy development of the body. Those who wish to attempt other ways, or to use instruments, whether whips or bonds, can be called perverted souls. Just as can those who make several people take part in their intimate orgies. But when two persons love with all the natural possibilities of their bodies, they are pure!â€

Calm night enfolded us, and our words took on a singular meaning. I could not see Claude, it was so dark, but on my bare arm I felt his warm breath.

“Perhaps this question may seem ridiculous to you, Therese,†he said as he leaned back against a tree, “but how can I be sure that my wife will share my passion, take part in my own flights of ardor, when I want to fuck her?â€

“You must not seek too obviously for tangible proofs. Some women will try to make believe that they are his through the violence of their feigned orgasm, but they can't keep that trick up for long. Others will show a more discreet way, full of modesty, without gesture or panting gasp. But there is, nonetheless, a spasm which is unmistakingly the sign of sharing, though sometimes it passes unnoticed: shuddering jerks which stir the entire body. Sometimes, these quakings, as I call them, are confused with the panting which precedes them. But once the yearning for orgasm is achieved, calm takes hold of the female and she wishes only the sweet lulling torpor of repose.â€

“I know I reveal a vast ignorance to you, Therese,†he said, “but these notions seem quite useful to me.â€

“The best thing is to have a sincere understanding with your wife, for there's nothing worse than a man who tries to fuck just for his own pleasure — it becomes a rape. Such brutal pride in a man can only shock and rebuff a woman, and she will lose her own integrity. Some women play a role, as at a comedy; some will try to flirt, or to be gentle, others to wheedle. But what use will it be to you to be deceived by such a woman? Then another kind of woman will try to be equal to a man in aggressiveness: she will claw, bite, flaunt her nakedness boldly, as a girl might. Don't you prefer a healthy, chastely voluptuous woman with robust sensuality to a frigid girl who would send you off to whorehouses? I don't say a woman should be a violently young nymphomaniac, or a bold poseur in bed; I say she ought to be your equal and then you can find words to tell her how to find pleasure with you.â€

Stretched out, his shirt unbuttoned, Claude listened eagerly. He put his hand on my hip, and I circled my arm round his neck and kissed his cheek.

The wonder of nature at night revived our bodies fatigued from so active a day. I breathed the air in deeply. In the silence of the night, I thought of my husband's exquisite and delicate sensuality, and, in spite of myself, I couldn't help remembering quotations he had taught me: “Every man is the builder of a temple, which is called his body, erected to the God he reveres, and follows a style which is purely his own... We are all sculptors and painters, and our materials are our flesh, our blood, our bones.â€

Robert would have added that the man is the builder of the temple called his wife. For it depends on the husband as to whether his wife becomes a martyr who hides in darkness or a coquette whose only concern is to deceive her spouse. The serious, lasting union is achieved only by obeying the imperious laws of nature.

I rose and walked towards the lighted house. I quickly went up to my room, then bathed in cold water to waken my drowsy senses. When I went back to Claude's room, he was already stretched out on the bed, his hair still wet from the shower.