Friday, January 6, 2012

Le temps retrouvé (cont)

Le temps retrouvé

Chimes Regained 2

“Antoine de Mouchy… dead.”

“Charlus Swann… dead.”

“Adabert de Montmorency… dead.”

“Boson de Talleyrand… dead.”

“Sosthène de Doudeauville… dead.”

“Why don’t you answer me, Marcel?”

Chimes Regained 3

Surely it was just a dream. A figment of my all too flimsy, facetious, failing, faggoty imagination. But there he was, the usual charming not so charming Baron de Charlus in my room, sitting next to my bed, acting aloof and nonchalant as usual.

It was like I was having a conversation with him, even tho I knew he was dead. Perhaps I was deceased as well.

“I was short of time back then, Charlus, you know that. So what if I rebuffed you? You thrived on rejection, it only enhanced your desire to dominate and play the game.”

“Really, Marcel? Why would you want to play such a boyish hard-to-get game like that with me? After all, my dear, we already knew each other so tres intimately.”

Marcel shook his head gently, looking away from the Baron, closing his eyes and sighing.

“I don’t know. Maybe it was to make you remember me. I, for one, often think about that look you first gave me in Allen Hall. Your ogling eyeball, straining and bloodshot, peering at me thru to glory-hole upstairs in the men’s Tea Room. Some things you don’t forget.”

“You were eighteen. A lowly freshman from New Orleans. Completely innocent. What, Marcel, did you know? At least ‘innocent’ was the word I’d use to describe my first gaze at you back then.”

“More like ‘indecent’, you mean.”

“Whatever did you imagine, Marcel? I was only noticing how pretty you were. Did I do wrong?”

Chimes Regained 4

“Charlus! Marcel! What in the world are you two gorgeous gentlemen talking about, my dears?” Céleste had noticed we were both getting a bit too tipsy. She closed the door behind her.

“Too much hash, coke, absinthe, my dears… You should be ashamed of yourselves. You should both know by now that such dilly-dallying around simply makes a girl a rather dull boy, my dears…”

Chimes Regained 5

“Tell me, Céleste, my dearest. Please tell me the truth. Are there still ghosts hanging around this dumpy apartment after all these years.”

Céleste shrugged. She was distracted by something.

“Which apartment?” she asked.

“Don’t be a silly goose. This one, Céleste. The one I’ve returned to during this little gay séance? This one, the one where my cute nephew Caloub and I used to get it on all the time?”

“Marcel, upon my word. There are no ghosts here tonight. Unless you and I are ghosts and we just don’t know it.”

“I believe you, Céleste, but just now when… the Baron de Charlus came by, I was dozing off…”

“No one came by, Marcel.”

“But Charlus may have come by when I was dreaming, fitfully sleeping in a fever tonight, surely he was here, talking with me… You know how sensitive I am to that expensive ode de colone he wears.”

The West Chimes apartment where Marcel had lived since the Sixties. Up on the third floor with the window open to catch the night air coolness. The magnolias across the street. The stench of overly-sweet honeysuckle crawling up the stairs.

“I believe you, Céleste. But do me a favor and give de Charlus a call. Ask him if he…”

Chimes Regained 6

All night long there in Marcel’s counterfeit apartment, this Faux-Monnayeurs mansion on the hill, its wallpaper awash with cherry trees in the Japanese Chinoiserie style.

Had he been hallucinating the hours away again as usual, spending all day and night in bed in his cork-lined bedroom, waiting until night came, with its view of sweet greenery and lilacs, the leaves of the magnolias in the shimmering Méséglise Forest moonlight?

Marcel enjoyed this evening view with the living room windows open, looking out all the way thru the greenery to Highland Drive, until Marcel recognized in the distance, the etched dark blue shadow in the distance, the tall slim pale maleness of the Memorial Tower, so natural and distinguished-looking.

Laugh if you want, but it was not only classically beautiful but he liked the pale tan Spanish Revival slimness to it and the sad solemnity of its presence, the melancholy male gonging of the campus chimes playing like some sad piano sonata across the green parade ground.

Almost as if it were saying to him, “I’ll be back tomorrow evening. Wait for me. And then the day after.” Even Marcel forgot about it sometimes, even forgetting about holding Caloub in my arms back then, oblivious to…”

Chimes Regained 7

Marcel would feel his heart beating faster and faster, abnormally fast. Because of his guilt and whatever else he felt about what’d he done to Caloub that night.

Getting off on spanking the boy’s twisting, squirming, wiggling, muscular bare bottom. Only to have the Chimes off in the distance moaning and groaning.

“You’re overdoing it, Marcel," the Chimes said. “By far, my dear. The boy will surely leave you…”

Chimes Regained 8

“What are reading? May I see it?” Céleste asked.

“The Goncourt Journal. It’s rather scandalous. About Papa and the people he knew.”

“What else?”

“No, I’m keeping that one. The Boy with the Golden Eyes. It’s very improper. But I’m bored”

“I’ve heard about it. Those men are jealous of other men. For them, other men are enemies. The ones who bring the wrong caress to their boyfriends: “I was miserable, finding out that my cute young fiancée loved a woman. But not half as miserable if he’d loved another man.”

“That cute young fiancée. Did you still love him as much afterwards… as before that?”

“Yes, even more. Because he claimed to love me, although he didn’t. I spanked him even more than before. Bad boyz are my cup of tea. They deserve what they get. I love them even more for their betrayal. Moody, sullen str8t boyz especially.”

Chimes Regained 9

“You know what I think?”

“We’re talking too much. And forgetting to eat.”

“I think that when you stop loving a man and see him again, years later… between you and him, there’s death. As if he’d passed away, because your love is over.”

“You mean I’m dead?”

“No, I’m only thinking about all those questions that once tormented me, but are of no interest to me now.”

“Such as?”

“That time I saw you on the Champs Elysées with a young man. You have no idea how sad it made me. I thought: It’s over.”

“I think I remember.”

“Don’t try to. It’s not worth the effort. That’s what’s so awful. Heartbreak can kill, but leaves no trace.”

“Shall I say who it was?”

Chimes Regained 10

“Did you know that Count de Courvoisier was a fag?”

“I had no idea.”

“Yes, he thought he was the only boy in all of France to be attracted to another.”

“Another what?”

“Another young wealthy aristocrat, of course.”

“Is that feeling particularly unique to any class?”

“Only the rich, my dear Marcel. Obviously it was the bourgeois devil that made him feel that way.”

“I have no idea about such matters. I’m certainly not wealthy and aristocratic like you, Charlus. I have no idea about such matters.”

“Neither do I. I’ve always preferred the lower classes for sex, you know. They have none of the guilt of the middle class or boredom of the elite. Rough trade is greedy for money—and I’m greedy to pay for it. It works out better that way.”

“You’ll have to look elsewhere, Charlus. I’m not into rough trade nor am I greedy for it either.”

“You used to be interested in it. Remember, you knew all about the encircling of a pert young man’s asshole. That young nephew of yours. Those young bulging Bulgarian flanks of his. My kind of subject.”

“I don’t know what you’re referring to. It’s like Sanskrit or Swahili to me.”

“Listen to me…”

Chimes Regained 11

“That boy talking to his friend. His laugh is vulgar.”

The waiter nods, takes the generous tip.

“But his silk bathing suit is exquisite.”

“Yes, monsieur. A gift I suppose. His sugar-daddy.”

“I know. I’m interested in the suit.”

“See how prettily it bulges in the right places?”

“Yes, monsieur?”

“I’d like to know more about the embroider.”

“I don’t know much about fashion, monsieur.”

“Try to get some details.”

“Does he gets spanked? Switched?”

“Well, I’m no expert, sir.”

“Try your best, my friend.”

Chimes Regained 12

The day the writer Proust died, he was given as all gay mortals are, the time to review every trick and love affair of his life. The writer refused.

“My life has been a series of extraordinary boys. To revisit them would only make me sadder. I’d rather use my remaining time to review my last novel, “Divine Nemesis,” otherwise known as “The Triumph of Death.”

So it was. Soon after, the Angel of Death returned, to announce the end of his time of grace.

“What a paradox!” exclaimed Proust. “You gave me enough time to revisit my whole life, which lasted sixty-nine years. The same length of time was too short to review a book I wrote in 3 months.”

“In this work is all of your life and the life of all men,” the Angel replied. “To review it would take an eternity.”

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