the vague sounds produced by a piano somewhere behind my wall wake me up to damp coldness. apparently when I left my consciousness I also left the window open for the air embracing the rotten tiber to run through the streets of the night to my bedroom. laughing at the images created by my half asleep mind, I hold my head and hit something warm with my elbow - oh - the devil, too, is on my bed. sleeping.
I focus my eyes on a huge tattoo depicting a snake on her back, a snake curled and twisted to be as three dimensional as possible. I reach my cold hand to touch the soft skin of her back, to see if the snake can bite me to death. instead, the coldness of my fingers spreads goosebumps all over the scarlet colored, poisonous looking creature. she, sound asleep under the image of the predator, makes a couple of discontent sounds and adjusts her position. I better get off the bed.
I pull a sweater to cover my naked body and sit on the windowsill to smoke. it is raining quietly outside. as far as I've managed to pay attention, it has rained nonstop for the past three days. that's january in rome for you. the back of my neck and head feel as if they were filled with some unknown liquid - piss, for all I care.
turning to look at her, I try to remember where the hell did she come from. I remember myself going to mr pucci after work, for an aperitivo. I remember meeting a bunch of american film makers. I remember we ordered few bottles of champagne to the terrace table. I remember talking to a blonde californian girl with the whitest of teeth. and then... god damn.
I've met the devil in the past, too, but never has it resided in the body of a woman before. the joke around has been; what kind of trousers does the devil wear?
thus, in the past it has been surprisingly safe an adventure to get drunk with the devil. but now I see a miniskirt on the floor, next to the bed.
I throw the stub of the cigarette onto the traffic filled viale di trastevere running underneath the window which I finally close. I let myself fall silently from the windowsill onto the oriental rug on the floor, and crawl the few meters separating me and her to climb back onto the bed. pulling the blanket onto us two, I place myself in line with the devil. I slide my left hand between her breasts, reaching her throat which shows signs of awakening by breathing in two uneven breaths of the coldness still hanging in the air. I breath in the scents lingering around the thickness of her hair to which my face is pressed - the smell of rhubarb and gooseberry are sensible somewhere beyond the stint of sweat and cigarettes. I know she can hear my question,
“where did you come from?”
“from your dreams.”
“no, seriously. I don't know who you are and where you came from. this is my lair and I tend not to have strangers around. so please, wake yourself up a bit and tell me what the hell happened last night.”
“you were in distant, non-existent lands, dreaming yourself away from the life you wish not to lead, and there was I and you asked me to come and stay with you in the awaken moments of boredom.”
“did we meet at pucci's? the last thing I remember is drinking champagne with a big group of americans. you know mr. pucci, the cafeteria slash bar a few blocks away, in piazza mastai?”
“you're confusing me. go back to sleep.”
as if on command I fall off from my consciousness, fall as if dissociating - I see the body of mine tied to hers remain as static figures as I plummet downwards from the bed into the darkness beneath.
in the night of helsinki, I surf through the neon lights of a crowded club. having lost all my friends to the temptations of the night, I decide to leave. first, though - need to go to the men's room.
as I enter the lavatory area, I see I am alone with a woman. my mind takes the time to freeze me to a stagnant position before my consciousness realizes who I am seeing. wearing a dark grey dress with an open back nearly reaching her tailbone, I see the scarlet snake which reminds me of a morning in rome, experienced long ago. slowly, I approach her body leaning over the sink. when I get closer, I see she's washing blood off her hands, blood stretching up to her elbows.
“what happened to you?”
“my boyfriend got into a fight on the dancefloor. needed to defend him.”
“are you hurt?”
“no, I'm not, this is all from the guys.”
I look at the red liquid spreading around the whiteness of the porcelain sink, and in all my scurry go on to ask,
“do you remember me? we met in rome, two years ago? you stayed at my place for some time, in trastevere?”
she turns her head to look at my face, with as baffled an expression as possible. as I begin to feel like a complete idiot, I see her eyes move a few times quickly from left to right, and the gaze she lays on me after they settle gives me the answer necessary.
“I have a bottle of wine in my backpack downstairs. if you want, we could go to the shore and drink it up. for old time's sake, or something like that.”
“why not. the ass I'm with is in a better care than mine for the night anyway.”
I follow her lead downstairs, pick up my backpack from the cloakroom, and head into the night. silently, we walk through the streets of three am. she walks ahead, twisting every single step she takes into a dance which draws the air around into embracing her perfect body. the rhythm of her movements plays a song strong enough to make the sun begin its rise hours early, shedding phosphorous light over the houses representing neoclassical architecture. not for a split second does the scarlet snake on her back loose its contact with my eyes.
as we reach the shoreline next to uspenski cathedral, she sits down onto the concrete and draws the cold saltwater to form circles beneath her feet. I sit next to her, open up the bottle of red, and hand it to her. as she drinks from it the water stills itself in contempt. the forces of nature seem to whimper under her will, just as my nature is drawn to her like that of a dog's.
“tell me, miss devil, what are you made of, and why are you here making the world twist its course to serve your beauty?”
“I am made of all the sins imaginary, and the world as it is perceived by you twists as it should in order to make this experience ever more profound for you, and only for you. so, what is it in your manliness which prevents you from seeing why the object of your desire turns to be ever more amazing, ever more incomprehensible? what is it in the self-esteem of men these days? I haven't had fun since the nineteen twenties!”
“oh, so it is honesty you ask... you need to guide me - that is what you are here for, isn't it? what other reason could one imagine for your fall from the heavens if not to guide the lost?”
she laughs and turns to look into my eyes with the sort of a glare which turns the surroundings of ours into a mass of unrecognizable, dark glow. suddenly, I remember the dream where I first met her. in the dream I was trapped into the suffocating pressure of the deep sea, from which she pulled me up after I promised to grow to be the first man of my time to have what it takes to take her. and then, in the dream, I was courageous enough to smuggle her from the non-existent lands into the sphere of the real - to my roman bed.
“to highlight - I am here to remind you, men, of the role you need to take in order to serve the purpose built into your divine bodies. the female spirit is intangible and by definition undefinable, and oh so lost! the role of yours is to take an individual female soul and create safe enough surroundings for it to manifest the highest possible ideal built into it. the female spirit is a serving spirit, the sort of which in all its servitude can spread its internal, deeply inherent qualities by manifesting through the male confidence and power. yin and yang. there is nothing to be achieved through strength if the strength itself is not cultivated through the primal instincts only intact in the feminine spirit.
the issue your culture has had for a long time is the emphasis of submissive and mindless females as the ones worth of pursuit - which, of course, they are if one prioritizes “easiness” high. but, instead, the truly victorious men have always gone for the dark and mysterious women who no-one can define with the word dedicated to easy - girl.
the more strong a man wishes to be, the more consciously developed woman he seeks. the feminine strength acquired through conquering the spirit of such a woman is something not possible to achieve through other means. it is this process which makes our culture whisper - behind every great man there's a great woman.”