Thursday, June 17, 2010


"Come with me," he said, "we'll have a great time -- an odyssey."
"You tempt me, but I can't."
"Why not?"
"Let's not go into it again --please."
"I'll be around after lunch, ducks, if you change your mind. I have to speak to some people now and then get back to the pension and pack. I'll look for you after lunch at about two. If you're not there, I'll wait an hour or so. Try to make up your mind, love. Don't be scared. Bennett's welcome to come too, of course." He smiled his antic smile and blew me a kiss. "Bye, love," and he hurried off. The thought of never seeing him again made me weak in the knees.
Now it was up to me. He'd wait. I had three and a half hours to decide my fate. And his. And Bennett's.
I wish I could say that I did it charmingly or insouciantly or even bitchily. Sheer bitchiness can be a sort of style. It can have élan in its own right. But I'm a failure even as a bitch. I sniveled. I groveled. I deliberated. I analyzed. I was a bore even to myself.
I agonized over lunch in the Volksgarten with Bennett. I agonized over my agonizing. I agonized in the American Express office where, at 2 P.M., we stood trying to decide whether to get two tickets for New York or two for London or one or none.
It was all so dismal. Then I thought of Adrian's smile and the possibility of never seeing him again and the sunny afternoons we'd spent swimming and the jokes and the dreamy drunken rides through Vienna and I raced out of American Express like a mad woman (leaving Bennett standing there) and ran through the streets. I clattered over the cobblestones in my high-heeled sandals, twisting my ankle a couple of times, sobbing out loud, my face contorted and streaked with makeup. All I knew was that I had to see him again. I thought of how he teased me about always playing it safe. I thought of what he had said about courage, about going to the bottom of yourself and seeing what you found. I thought of all the cautious good-girl rules I had lived by - the good student, the dutiful daughter, the guilty faithful wife who committed adultery only in her own head - and I decided that for once I was going to be brave and follow my feelings no matter what the consequences. "

Fear of Flying, Erica Jong.

Indeed, indeed.

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