Orpheus Looks Back
thinking of dropping his fiance, Joan. No, he said, he was just fooling around with this
one, who in any case was a pig, a loose girl that "sleeps around." It was then I
understood that Ted was a principled young man. Pigs are for fucking on the side, not
That loose girl stole my heart. She was a gorgeous young woman with black
luxuriant hair, a face not only fine featured but also with a southern Mediterranean
allure. She had large green eyes, one of which was slightly cross-eyed, just barely
noticeable, which imparted to her lovely face an air of vulnerability. She captured my
being and my senses with a body that matched the face, tall and well proportioned,
which even if not provocatively sexy made me dream of delirious lovemaking.
I hated and loved my stupid cousin. He was about my height, just under six feet,
powerfully built without being massive and a reputation for extraordinary physical
strength. A pleasant face and an easy manner added to make an attractive personality
and an instant and mutual rapport developed between us. He was a plumber and poorly
educated and his ignorance was that of the average self-centered American blue-collar
worker who would not know what the capital of Holland was and would not care to
know. That did not stop us from enjoying each other's company and if that sounds
supercilious, I hasten to add, I am none too bright myself.
He tantalized me by telling me that when they dropped me off after a drive he
bought a “fifth” of whisky, drove to a deserted beach or spot in the countryside, drank
up with her like hoboes from the bottle in a paper bag and made love in the car. So
what! She loved you, you son of a bitch. You can be fun and lovable especially when
one disregards your duplicity. But why the hell did you have to take an interest in me? I
would have graduated without your benevolent concern. I might have become an
electronics engineer, a computer whiz kid and perhaps a multi-millionaire.
It all started with a kiss on an evening trip to Maine where Ted's family had a
beach bungalow. With Lizzie, we spent a few hours there, drinking from a bottle of
whisky while a gale howled outside. The bungalow was a self-contained tiny villa and
had a fireplace and a supply of firewood. Ted lit a fire and we sat drinking, talking and
fooling around next to it. We finished the bottle and found another in the bar of the
living room. We were getting drunk and Ted repeatedly tried to kiss Lizzie in my
presence. She told him to cut it out. Drunk and touchy, he staggered to the bedroom and
was soon snoring.
I sat on a sofa feeling awkward at their tiff. Lizzie was on the ground, right next
to the fire where she had been sitting with Ted.
“Ted gets funny when he drinks,” she said. “He always does something to annoy
me. A few days ago after making love, we were in the car and were passing a small
town and he took my bra, which I hadn't put on and waved it out of the car window like
a flag. Some people from another car cheered and hooted. I was furious and did not
speak to him until he told me he was sorry. I am wondering if he really loves me.”
Oh Lizzie, I thought. Wake up! Wake up for God’s sake!
She got up; her face flushed with the heat and drink and sat on my lap.
“Phew. I’m boiling,” she said. “I’m not too heavy, am I?” She put her arm
around my shoulder. “I want to talk to you.”
I must have looked bewildered and she smiled.
“Do you mind? Shall I get off?”
“No, no. Please, make yourself at home. What about?”
“Oh, this and that.”
“Shall we start with that and go straight to the point or should we begin at the
beginning with this?”