Gone with the Woman

erlende loe


1) It was at that time she began to come more often. In the evening, just before I went to bed. She stood beside me and chattered. All the time about how much she loved silence, about how good it is to be alone. Talked and never finished talking. Sometimes I would fall asleep, lost in small moments, but she didn’t notice. I would wake up every time with a little jerk, and sometimes with a sound from the throat.

When I could collect myself, I discovered that she was still speaking. About the wonderful silence two people can experience together, about the infinite sensitivity humans are capable of showing each other. She spoke of harmony. Communication. But she talked so fast. And I found myself so rarely to say I beg your pardon, what is it that you said? I sat quietly and nodded, somewhat emphatically, apparently listening intently. Yes, certainly, I would say and nod my head, with long strokes up and down, yes, of course. And I looked at her, at her legs and her lips. Her very beautiful lips. And I knew exactly when she would come to seek my gaze straying far from her stream of words. In those moments my gaze was there, facing her, still. As if waiting. There were long intervals between each time she looked at me for confirmation to go on. I learned those intervals. She did it maybe five times a night. Actually, I did not count.

2) One evening she came later than usual. I had already gone to bed. I quickly put on the first underpants I could find. It proved to be the most treacherous pair of undergarments I owned. Almost no elastic around the thighs, just like a skirt. I always had to get it to fit, sit in certain positions, not to get up suddenly. I found putting on long pants to be even more unfortunate. She would interpret this as a sign that she could stay, that I wasn’t even thinking of sleeping and that my night was without limits or end.

It struck me how right this decision was, and I realised at that very moment that the difference between a man in underpants and one in long pants is huge, almost incalculable. With long pants one is aware of everything. No action is unthinkable. With underpants, however, man is free.


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