Your breath in my ear. Your voice, whispering, ‘Does it still feel good?’ It’s because of the voice, Your voice, that my energy is replenished. I try to move, but I’ve been tied down on a St Andrew’s Cross. Is my time not up yet, Supreme One? I hear your stiletto heels on the wooden floor, but the blindfold lets nothing through. Oh, I feel the palm of your hand on my scrotum; hard, squeezing hard, and I call out with the taste of blood in my mouth, ‘I despise my power in order to live for You, Supreme One. I die daily but shall live because of You. Have mercy!’
What did You think when I sat on the sofa in Your apartment in Zoetermeer yesterday afternoon and started talking, my eyes focused on the treacle biscuit beside my coffee cup? I began by saying, ‘The reason why I mailed you’ and ended with, ‘I’m in love with you.’ I have worked on our friendship for months – ever since you bent down at my table, looked at me in a funny way and asked, ‘What would you like?,’ and I looked at the chain around your neck, the little heart, the strand of hair that came loose when you dealt with my payment – all for this, for this very moment.
There, I said it. In the silence that followed, I looked at the orange boat on the wall, floating at the bottom of a yellow patch. I forced myself to look at Your face. You looked surprised. Astonished, even. But wasn’t there also a hint of amusement in Your eyes? A hint of excitement? Yes, You were excited. You said, ‘Well, that’s the last thing I expected.’ Lopsided grin, big eyes. But you just pretended to be surprised, pretended not to know what to do with me. You pretended.
I thought about the hands of the guy at the table next to us, in some café we visited together once. The two girls sitting opposite him had put their feet on his seat and sang; cabaret-like, not out of tune. He leaned forward slightly as if listening, his long fingers stroking their ankles. The girls sang; they cooed. His fingers slowly moved up their calves and I looked at them. But You looked at me and said emphatically, ‘Godliness is the most desirable as well as the most terrifying thing.’ Your fingers played with the heart on your chain.
I didn’t understand what You meant, it had nothing to do with what we had been talking about earlier. I thought you were referring to a previous conversation in which I, to make an impression, had told You about what I knew about Spinoza’s notion of God. About the idea that God doesn’t exist outside matter, but inside it, or words to that effect.
‘It is,’ I replied. ‘But if you consider God to be a name for everything, then surely godliness is in everything?’
You shook your head. ‘No,’ You said. ‘No.’
While You were cooking spaghetti in your open kitchen last night, I reminded You of this. I stood at the window, drank my wine and pointed at the Rotterdam skyline beyond my reflection.
‘How many calves are being stroked out there, do You think?’
You chuckled and briefly looked over Your shoulder.
‘Is nothing sacred any more then?’
I asked, trying not to make it sound like a joke.
You didn’t answer and kept stirring the spaghetti sauce. It seemed to me that You were smiling at the cooker, laughing inwardly at some naughty private joke.
You were right, godliness is not everywhere, it’s always in a very specific place. You showed me this and, just like I see it in Your body, I saw it in a woman I spotted on the first floor of a town house just outside the city centre today. Lit from behind, she was ironing, I noticed. There it is, I thought. The Supreme One. Although You did Your best to look ordinary, with Your calm movements, Your back slightly bent, I could clearly see it was You. I heard You sing and noiselessly sang along: ‘It is through Your power I was brought forth from the womb; at Mother’s breast I trusted in Your might with all my heart.’
Standing in the middle of the pavement, I was passed on both sides by neatly coiffed and dressed men and women. They were looking at their telephone screens, talking into their microphones about PowerPoints and quarterly figures, making bad jokes. They got into their Audis. The shudder in my body subsided and I looked at them. They don’t see it, I thought. It doesn’t interest them. I put my right hand in my trouser pocket and shifted my erection.
As if it was written, I saw You again on my way home, this time behind a red-lit window. I knew this was it. At last. I made eye contact, gestured that I wanted to come in. You nodded, pointing at the buzzing door. After I pushed it open, You came and led me down a corridor with seven doors. While You were walking towards the last door, I looked at your buttocks, your legs. I felt light in the head. The darkened room featured a vast array of toys and whips, as well as a St Andrew’s Cross, opposite the door. Chains with buckles hung from all four posts of the large bed.
‘So what would you like?’ You asked, and I answered, ‘Do You know that I find you very attractive?’
You smiled and came to stand before me, Your breasts close to my chest.
‘Take off your clothes,’ You said.
Now that I’m awake again, I can still smell You, Your godly perfume. The buckles cut painfully into my wrists, my groin is burning. I’m still blindfolded, but I clearly remember a strong, white light. And a warmth pervading my body. Your strikingly high voice. Were You singing? Or was it a kind of laughter?
I neither see nor hear anything now. There is only darkness. Silence. I’m trying to cry out, but my throat is dry. I taste blood on my tongue. Why? Why have You left me?