The Nutty Nut and the Wild Slut (end)

Posted on December 28, 2017

The Fourth Act

The music gets softer and softer and stops. WS is standing still. Then she sits on the bed. Long silence. Suddenly the smartphone of NN, that must have fallen out of his jacket, starts to ring. WS makes no attempt to pick it up. The ringing stops. Long silence. WS starts to sing a song.

Remembering you, sweet love, I cannot sleep,
Knowing you are lost to me, I sit and weep.
Lovely smells of nature do not reach my soul,
Songs of the sweet birds, they can not console.
I’m dreaming up your face, your sweet body that I miss.
I’m longing for your warmth, the delight of your kiss.

Long silence again. Then the bell rings. WS answers on the intercom.

WS: Is that you again? Well, welcome back.

Noises. Then NN enters.

WS: You forgot your cellphone.

NN: Did I? I hadn’t noticed.

WS: Someone is trying to reach you quite urgently. Could be your wife.

NN: Could be, yes.

WS: But you seem in no hurry to get back at her.

NN: We had an argument.

WS: And you moved out of range. Am I detecting a pattern here?

NN: I don’t get you.

WS: You moved out of range with me too. You are not the first man that I have frightened away.

NN: You scared me, yes.

WS: Why are men so scared of me? Why are you all such wimps?

NN: And why can’t we talk of you and me instead of you and men generally? There may be something in the way you come on.

WS: (suddenly angry) Men need me for care. Men need me for understanding. Men need me for instruction about how to be open. Men need me for love. Men want me for sex. I am so fed up with all that neediness. Pinky pinky from a distance. But when I close in on you, you turn into giant sucking black holes. You suck energy. You suck with the clinging power of your neediness. Until everything disappears. Until I disappear.

NN: (very calmly) You are a fierce woman.

WS: And now you come blundering back in. Why do you think you are still welcome?

NN: I am not coming back to harass you. You want me to pick up my phone and leave? Because my appointment with you is over?

WS: Why would I have to change my way? Because you cannot take me as I am?

NN: I think I can take it, now. Can take what you bring.

WS: So we can continue where we left it. Fine. Shall I tie you up again?

NN: Thanks very much, but no.

WS: John, it is unclear to me what you want. Why don’t you just pick up that cellphone and leave? And return the call from your wife, for Chrissake.

NN: We have to play your game, or my appointment with you is over? That’s OK. I will leave now.

WS: I am so tired of playing games.

NN: You don’t have to. We can be honest. I am ready now to be honest with you. There is something I want to tell you. About what just happened to me, outside. Something I suddenly understood.

WS: That’s why you came back?

NN: Something just happened to me. Something important. And I want to share it with you.

WS: You have only been away for half an hour or so. That’s not much time. For something important to happen.

NN: Half an hour. Not much time, indeed.

WS: Were you struck by lightning?

NN: I started seeing for myself. Seeing myself. The light in me. If that’s how you wish to call it.

WS: Consciousness. So familiar. Yet strange, upon reflection.

NN: Once I started really seeing myself, seeing for myself, an instant was enough.

WS: You started really seeing yourself?

NN: I was standing outside your door. Looking at the traffic. Waiting at the tram stop. And when the tram arrived, I looked inside, through the window. And through the window I saw that girl again. The girl I saw earlier. The very same girl I saw in the train. An incredible coincidence.

WS: If it truly was the same girl.

NN: I tell you it was her. So that is nearly impossible, right? Something that is so highly improbable that probability theory says it will not happen. But whatever is not impossible can happen. Sometimes has to happen.

WS: You are a scientist. You should have learned to only assign probabilities to events in the future.

NN: Of course.

WS: You shoot an arrow. Then check where it lands. Then paint concentric circles around it. And then say, hey ho, I have hit a bull’s eye.

NN: What I am trying to tell you is that this has meaning for me. Deep meaning.

WS: If it truly was the same girl, the probability that that girl was in the tram is one. After the event.

NN: Thanks for setting me straight. Much appreciated. Can we talk about what happened, please? About what it was like for me?

WS: You are a physicist. But silly.

NN: Meaning arises, but you don’t want to hear.

WS: Tell me about it.

NN: I looked at her, from the pavement, through the tram window.

WS: And she saw you, staring at her?

NN: She sure did. We were very close, with only the glass between us. Our eyes locked. And again she looked without blinking, without averting her gaze.

WS: And?

NN: Again, it felt like she did not see me as a person.

WS: And she made you shiver?

NN: No, not this time. Something shifted in me. I relaxed into being seen like that.

WS: You surrendered to her gaze?

NN: Surrender sounds strange. I don’t know what happened. Yes, something like that. Suddenly her gaze did not scare me anymore. And I felt like there was depth in me, infinite depth. So I could receive her gaze. The tram was at the stop for quite a long time, or so it seemed. I could feel my breathing slow down while we kept looking and looking at each other. I was falling, falling. And it felt strange. Strange but wonderful.

WS: You were breathing her in.

NN: It felt like jumping off a cliff. But I knew I would not crash, could not crash. Or I just did not care anymore. Suddenly I knew that there was nothing, absolutely nothing, to be afraid of.

WS: That sounds fucking wonderful.

NN: Yes, it felt so wonderful that I smiled.

WS: At her?

NN: Yes, at her. And that was when the real miracle happened. She saw me. Really, really saw me. I could feel it. Suddenly her face brightened up. And she smiled back at me. And her smile felt like a signal. To me.

WS: And then the tram moved on?

NN: Yes. It all happened in a few instants. But it felt like it was happening outside of time.

WS: A glimpse of eternity.

NN: I was still on the pavement. Still standing there, watching the tram disappear, with her. And another tram arrived, stopped, and departed. And it was wonderful to look inside each compartment, watching the people. I could really see all those men and women and children. Really, really see them.

WS: As if for the first time.

NN: I could see you before. But I did not see you as I can see you now. I can sense, now, that you are sad. Am I right?

WS: Yes, you are right.

NN: As long as a man sees a woman as an object of desire … Yes, that is it. It is the act of desiring that makes dead objects of the living beings around us. And that is very sad.

WS: You sound like an Indian sage now. The kind I distrust. The kind that pontificates about non-attachment but secretly lusts after women.

NN: Can we skip that now? I am not lusting after you.

WS: That’s a good thing. For you do not really turn me on, you know.

NN: I know. And it is all right. I have been less than honest with you.

WS: Pff. I find I am less than honest with myself. Honesty, my favourite instrument of torture. I am torturing you by confronting you with the things that are missing from your life. The things that are missing from our lives that we cannot find words for. Emptiness. The times when birdsong does not console. When the rays of the glorious sun do not warm us anymore.

NN: Am I someone who refuses to accept life’s challenges? A frightened boy in the body of an aging man?

WS: We are all frightened at times.

NN: At times, yes. And you have got plenty of time. But I am running out of it. With no wish to deny any longer that I am growing old. I do not want to die as a coward.

WS: There will always be challenges that we dodge. So that we can meet them in the next round.

NN: You are young and strong. Many happy returns for you. To me, it feels different.

WS: You are not that old. You won’t drop dead tomorrow.

NN: I feel like it is time to finally take up my duty.

WS: Your duty? How do you know what that is?

NN: The tasks allotted to us by fate. How about that?

WS: Sounds stilted to me. What is fate? You suddenly sound so different. So sure.

NN: We think there is no fate. Still, omens are there, for all to see. But who is taking notice? Hardly anyone, and those that do, only half-heartedly.

WS: Are you talking about yourself now?

NN: What we do not like we choose not to see. Until the consequences of what we did descend on us as lashes, and we can feel the hurt. Even then we can fail to see, and stammer that it was not our fault. Until we see ourselves as flotsam on a sea of sorrows washing over us.

WS: Is this a roundabout way of saying you are dissatisfied with yourself?

NN: I am lost.

WS: That makes a pair. I am lost too.

NN: I am lost. You are lost.

WS: We are lost.

NN: And the feeling of being lost does not bother me anymore.

WS: Because we are all lost?

NN: The sense of being lost feels precious to me now.

WS: I like it when you say that.

NN: Being lost means being at the place where the journey can start.

WS: The journey?

NN: The journey home. Finding intimacy.

WS: First with ourselves. Then with others.

NN: I signed up for it. And when the going got rough, I ran away.

WS: You are not the only one. Connecting with me is a challenge, I know.

NN: I was secretly hoping that your youth and strength and freshness and vigour would rub off on me. Through being intimate with you. But I didn’t want to admit it.

WS: Well, well. What a surprise. I do care for you. But I am in love with someone else. And that someone has just left me.

NN: Your openness touches me. And I haven’t even asked for your name.

WS: You contacted me online. You must know.

NN: Maria. Your real name?

WS: Yes, Maria is my real name.

NN: That is nice. I have a wish to meet the real Maria now. So can you please drop the mask of the intimacy coach?

WS: You wish to look under the mask?

NN: I do not need coaching anymore. I am ready to be open. And because I am ready now, I can start to really see you.

WS: I just broke up with a lover.

NN: Your decision?

WS: He left me.

NN: Do you know why? Do you mind if I ask?

WS: You already asked. No, I don’t mind. And no, I don’t know why he left me, not really. Because of the way I wielded my torture instrument of honesty? I suppose I drove him mad.

NN: Men can be such idiots. Some men.

WS: You also ran away from me. When the going got a bit rough.

NN: It is always hard to be confronted with the things that we cannot see about ourselves. It was hard for me to be with you when you started pointing things out.

WS: But you came back.

NN: It is easier to not listen. Or to listen and deny.

WS: To finally find a man of courage. A man that can hold me, when I reveal myself, or when I am boiling with rage.

NN: When you hinted you knew a thing or two about hell, what were you talking about?

WS: Loneliness. Loss of connection. My rage at men that lust after my body. Men that treat me as an object, a thing that they want to possess. And throw away.

NN: Ripeness is to see that there is a way out of hell. Ripeness is the determination to find that way.

WS: Hell. Difficult place to get out of. Maybe impossible.

NN: Ripeness is willingness to be in relation with another person. With other people. With all other people. And that is the way out of hell.

WS: You sound like a preacher again.

NN: I am ready now to meet you, Maria.

WS: You sound so different. You look different too …

NN: What happened to me, outside, was important. What I have seen is that there is nothing anymore that I need from you. There is nothing I need from any woman, however attractive.

WS: We still have to see about that …

NN: I can still sense your attraction, no worry. I can still be touched by the lines of your face, stirred by your freshness, moved by the beauty of your body. Sensing you makes me feel fully alive. Like my cells get aligned by your magnetic force.

WS: Ah, that sounds better. You sense my attraction, but there is nothing that you need. (tenderly) I like it when you say that. It makes me relax.

NN: And I like it when you can relax, Maria. And I like not needing anything from you. Being at ease with you. Like being with a beautiful flower. Smelling your fragrance. Experiencing the pure joy of being with you.

WS: The beautiful flower might get bored. Nothing as entertaining as stirring the fire of sexual attraction a bit.

NN: You can always launch a seduction attempt. It’s what attractive women do. When they want to feel their power. When they want to play. Let us see if I can stave you off this time. Without anyone getting hurt. A thing I need to learn. Attraction between masculine and feminine. The force of it. But also a barrier. To tenderness. I feel tenderness for you right now. An impulse to protect. Now that you have dropped your shield of invulnerability.

WS: I do not mind if I sense that a man is attracted to me.

NN: No, I bet you don’t.

WS: As long as they own it. As long as they have the guts to say, I feel attracted to you. But I have no idea what you think of me. And I want you to tell me.

NN: And if you turn them down?

WS: Then I would like them to gracefully accept a ‘no thanks’.

NN: You practice ‘no thanks’ a lot?

WS: I can say it with grace. And I expect a man to gracefully receive it and then respectfully bow out. But sometimes they don’t. Sometimes they whimper that I have hurt their feelings. Or they turn violent.

NN: Being able to accept a ‘no’ with grace is an art.

WS: Bullshit. It’s part of being grown up. Of being mature. Part of what a man should have learnt before even thinking of making a pass at a woman.

NN: On your intimacy curriculum, I suppose?

WS: No, prep school stuff that I have no desire to deal with.

NN: Ripeness is rare.

WS: It shouldn’t be.

NN: Even common sense is rare.

WS: Common sense is being able to see that the world is mad. And to have the courage to act on that insight.

NN: Maria, I have no desire to fight with you. My desire now is to look at you. And to be seen by you.

They look each other in the eyes, for a long time.

WS: I can see that you see me now.

NN: Maria, this is wonderful.

WS: I can see you, too.

A long silence, while they gaze at each other.

NN: Infinite depth again, within me. Endless space to welcome you. Exactly as you are.

WS: I can see now that you are perfect, in all your imperfections. I can sense your care for me. I can see it in your eyes. Thank you for that, John.

They embrace and kiss each other, ever so lightly, ever so tenderly, on the lips. This time the embrace is really successful.

NN: So utterly simple.

WS: All that is ever needed.

A long silence. Then NN’s cellphone rings again.

Phone: I cannot answer your call now. Please leave your message after the beep. BEEP.

Female Voice: Hello John. This is urgent. I have been trying to reach you. I tried your university number but the secretary told me that you had left in a hurry. This morning I had a sense that something is wrong. Between us, I mean. Listen, I was not nice to you this morning. I was not nice, because I was worried. Worried about something I hadn’t told you.

Silence. Then the phone rings again.

Phone: I cannot answer your call now. Please leave your message after the beep. BEEP.

Female Voice: John, this is me again. I had an appointment with our doctor today, to hear the outcome of my tests. The outcome is … The outcome is not good. I am scared, John. John, where are you? When you hear this, can you please come home?

The End