Love on Display
Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited
After the Rain How the West Lost the East
A World in Conflict and Transition
“Pazit says that I need his energy” – Miriam speaks languidly. I am clasped between her ivory thighs and I can smell our togetherness seeping from her onto the black satin sheets. We make love in the dark because it is Miriam’s natural element and because she is twice my age and very much aware of it. She rolls over, exposing still firm breasts whose nipples are dappled red and brown. She cups one of them in a dainty hand and grazes its veinous surface with her red fangs. She is a vampire and proclaims it proudly.
Her voice is husky as befitting an inveterate smoker: “Sometimes, when I climax, I imagine him naked, bleeding in my lap, ever so white. Then his last exhalation, the muscles twitch and contract in a final spasm, and he gets this huge erection. He has a beautiful organ, well-proportioned.” She shudders. She is talking about her only son whom she adores and loves more than life itself. I grew up in a slum, I learned never to judge people, just to keep my ears and eyes open.
She untangles herself from me and rolls over to the floor, on knotty knees, looking for discarded ornate jewelry. Her voice drifts up: “We will be late. Pazit is waiting.” Pazit is her procurer. She is a vampire Goth as well, but more of an apprentice. They both work in a museum as curators, senior and junior. Miriam is nominally Pazit’s boss but Miriam does her every lurid bidding. Pazit is also her son’s official fiancée, albeit in a lackadaisical sort of way. Still, she shows him a lot of physical affection replete with terms of endearment and carefully choreographed spontaneous hugs.
When I first met Miriam, she was dressed like a mid-18th century noblewoman from Central Europe. Her face was a veritable kabuki mask. Pazit looked like a younger, taller, more imposing clone what with intellectual wire-rimmed glasses poised on a sculpted Roman nose. They both greeted me at the door of the small, provincial institution. I was a bit of a celebrity back then.
Miriam fell for my polished routines and verbal pyrotechnics, or pretended to have fallen for them, I am not sure which. Pazit left early, so we made love among the exhibits on the thinly-carpeted and foul-smelling floor and then inside one of the larger, room-size mobiles. Miriam was sensuous and insatiable and she kept talking throughout our peregrinations and exertions reminding me of a well-rehearsed museum guide. In between thrusts and grunts she told me about her estranged husband, family, work, and newfound fascination with the aesthetics of vampire Goth. And so it went for weeks, mainly at the museum.
Miriam said: “We will be late. Pazit is waiting.” And so we exited the museum and grabbed a cab to her flat where I spent many a night on a folding couch. Pazit was there but not Asaf, Miriam’s son. He was tall and exceptionally handsome in an effeminate kind of way, despite his service in an elite commando unit. But when we arrived that evening he was absent.
It was late and I was tired. I unfolded the couch and lay on it, all dressed. Pazit came around and sat at my feet which made me feel uncomfortable. “We need to talk”, she said. I nodded. She glanced at Miriam who took over nervously: “We are vampires, you know.” I nodded again. “We feed on other people’s energies” – explained Pazit with a straight face. I couldn’t determine if this was role play or shared psychosis.
Miriam dragged her chair and positioned her crotch at my face: “I need my son’s energy to survive. I gave him life. It is time he gave it back to me”. I gazed at her, not comprehending. She waved impatiently: “I want him to suffer, to infuse his pain into my veins.” She waited but I was not forthcoming. “I want to take his life force away from him.” – she expounded, desperate at my obtuseness – “Both I and Pazit need it to survive as vampires.”
“I am not sure I understand” – I ventured cautiously. Pazit snorted and moved her regal frame a notch, revealing interminable shapely legs and penumbral pubic hair.
“I want you to become Pazit’s lover,” – blurted Miriam – “here, in my home, in front of Asaf.”
“It will kill him!” – I gasped.
“It will hurt him no end” – granted Miriam – “We want that. Pazit and I need it. Like food, you see.”
“No, I don’t see and I won’t be a part to it” – I made a move to rise from the bed but Pazit crossed the space in smooth ambulation and lay next to me, all in a languorously hypnotizing flux:
“You are so cute, I could rape you” – she exclaimed – “You know what would happen tonight if you don’t stop being so adorable.” Miriam smiled crookedly. I shifted helplessly trying to avoid the heat of Pazit, her intoxicating smells, her devouring contour. But she moved along with me, like a shadow boxer, like the immaculate dance partner that she was. Her hand slid along my neck and then rested on my heart under a bulging shirt. Her eyes were open, pupils dilated, nostrils aflare. I could not be sure that this was not an act, but I was already beyond the point of caring.
And so commenced my love affair with Pazit. Asaf would return home to find her on my lap, or nibbling on my earlobe, or topless in my bed, or in a passionate embrace, French kissing, or hand on rising crotch. He would avert his eyes and, later, they would have the most horrendous spats and flares in the apartments’ kitchen or single bedroom. Miriam would stand at the doorframe observing his torment, big tears rolling down her increasingly wrinkled face (she did not bother with makeup anymore and we never made love again).
Pazit, on the other hand, flourished. The more weight lost to Asaf, the deeper his sunken cheeks, his bloodshot insomniac eyes, his deepening cough, his constant blood-laced vomiting – the more she flowered, towering above us all in her blonde cascaded mane, her sylphlike nubility, her breasts aloft, a mad look of unbridled victory swamping her widened eyes. Asaf’s inexorable decomposition energized her. Miriam herself was morbidly fascinated by his disintegration and by her own ambivalence: his unendurable torment both an elixir and a hemclock potion.
Curiously, Asaf never said a word to me. He would enter the apartment at dusk, lean against the doorframe, his dwindling figure sagging, and would watch Pazit give me oral sex, unmoving, still as death itself. Then he would crumple, the sobs ricocheting through his tattered body, heart-rending mute animalistic bawls escaping from his parched lips as Pazit eyed him with scientific detachment and took me into her mouth again.
And so, in this chamber of horrors, I spent the next 6 weeks. Miriam and Pazit would sit on chairs beside my retractable bordello and hold Asaf’s tremulous hands or hug his waning frame as he shook with violent howls or just whimpered. Then Pazit would get up and join me and lick my feet or take me in her Madonna lips or just lay a hand on my virility and wait for me to erupt. Often she would let me explore her womanhood with tongue or fingers, all the time closely observing Asaf as he writhed in his seat, unable to avert his eyes, forgetting to inhale.
One day, I woke up and Asaf was gone. Miriam, ashen-faced, offered me breakfast and asked me to depart. “I would appreciate if we never see each other again”. She was an old woman by now: her gait, her stoop, her grooved face, her lizard throat. I readily agreed.
“Where is Pazit?” – I asked.
Miriam sighed and closed her eyes: “She, too, had left. She met someone from the United States. Could have been her father, he is so old. But he is loaded. She always hankered after money. I asked her to be with Asaf for a while, to nurse him back to health. She laughed in my face.”
Ironically, I was the one who introduced Pazit to her new beau via a common friend, a TV producer who invited us to one of his lectures. She met her new-fangled love as my girlfriend and left there as his wife. So, while hurt, I was not surprised. I knew that Pazit must be enjoying this serendipitous bonus: my distress at her departure.
Years later, I met Pazit in some conference or other. I greeted her warmly and made a move to hug her but she recoiled and mumbled an icy “hi” in return. I turned around and walked away from there. I never heard from Miriam or Asaf again. Pazit is constantly in the media owing to her world famous husband. She has a whole brood of children with him. “Maybe it wasn’t all about money”, I keep thinking. But I remember her eyes as she extinguished Asaf bit by smoldering bit and I know this cannot be right. Not where a vampire is concerned.