My husband was a strange man. I couldn’t tell how much of his foreignness was coming from the different culture and how much he owned it as a person.
I put zoom lenses on my eyes. Look, the peculiar way he takes an apple. Note the strange twist of his wrist to bring the apple to his mouth. The slight hesitation before the bite. There comes the bite – the lips draw back opening the line of perfect teeth, they pull forward touching the apple. The apple’s contact with the teeth produces loud, strange “crack!” and his hand moves the apple away from the mouth in a gesture so inexplicably alien that I shiver.
– What are you looking at?
Like animal. Like an exotic animal at a zoo, where you pay money to watch for 7 hours animals chewing apples and gesturing towards bananas.
Where have I seen those hands? Not at the zoo.
My Mom once had two muskrats, Ondatra Zibethicus, and they folded their dexterous fingers around food just the same way.
The most fascinating sight. With hands so intelligent and eyes so humanly bright they were still animals in my Mom’s rabbit hutch. She wanted to make a fur coat when they were ripe (but when they got ripe, my Mom couldn’t kill them so she just kept them till they died of old age and then she buried them with honors in our animal cemetery under a linden tree).
Now I had a human size Ondatra Zibethicus in front of me and I couldn’t take my eyes away from that either. Look, he got up, he is going to bathroom to wash the ondatra hands!
– I am serious, is there anything wrong?
– You just staring at me with that strange glare.
– Oh, sorry, I am not looking at you, I am just thinking about something.
Note, how he stood there in front of me with two feet planted firmly on the carpeted soft floor and now, feeling slightly insecure, he shifts the weight to the left and bends his right leg a little, raising his both hands to his chest in an elegant gesture. This new position has some transformational powers, as he now, very fleetingly, looks like that … odd. Something I saw in a magazine just a week ago. What was it?
Lasse looks wounded but is not giving up trying to bridge the gap between us.
– Do you want to go to the cinema?
– Did you wash your hands?
– You are so bossy! I am NOT washing my hands!
And now he shifts the weight back to his both feet and magically transforms into a handsome, heroic Viking.
I don’t understand!
In only 40 seconds he changed into three different characters! How does he do it? And WHY does he do it?
It means something! It is in front of me, why don’t I get it?
What is hidden, has to come out, if I am around.
Half of my knowledge about people and life I got at that time came from books. So I went to a bookstore for answers. I started with “Self Help” section, because I needed help. Near it was “Astrology” section informing me that my husband’s Chinese Astrological Sign was a Rat. (- Excuse me, a MUSKRAT! ) Rats apparently are industrious, tend to make a lot of money and get along well with Dragons, my astrological sign. (- We do. But only before breakfast.) Near “Astrology” was another “…logy” section and there I found a book “Graphology: How to Tell a Character from Handwriting”. Now all the secrets will be mine!
I hid the book between the upper and lower mattresses of our conjugal bed and started to scavenge for samples of Lasse’s handwriting.
– What are your favorite things in blue color?
– Well, the first thing that comes to mind is sea…
– Can you write it down, please? I would like to see the whole list. And while you are at it, list your favorite things in yellow and green. Thank you.
When Lasse left for work, I immediately jumped up to get my my Key to All Secrets book and the list of Lasse’s favorite colorful things. But after a few weeks my interest started to wane. The book told me that Lasse was rebellious, had sense of humor, was vain, obsessed with phallus, was emotional and loved his mother.
I could tell all that by just knowing he was a male.
Besides being just a male I recognized he was also an exceptional male because despite our growing mutual mistrust he knew my body better than I ever could. If you measure the success of a sexual encounter not by the melting of souls but by achieved orgasms, each time he unfailingly scored three – 2 of mine and 1 of his. Solid and satisfying day after day.
Then it hit me that artwork we make betrays even more of our inner selves than the handwriting.
Now every morning, after Lasse left I watched his film “Honey Bunny” over and over again. What was it about? A small man enters a restaurant. He claims he is hungry. He wants Honey Bunny. A waitress, big woman, is trying to please him. She thinks she knows what Honey Bunny is; after all, the name has vague sexual connotations. She brings a dancing sexy girl to the man. The man rejects the girl. He rejects a sexy dancing man, too, and he rejects a rabbit. The small man gets into a hysterical fit demanding Honey Bunny. The big waitress takes him and delivers to the next table where he performs a dance. He is happy now.
That is the story line, but what is it really about? How does it describe Lasse’s Eternal Soul who’s handwriting is all over the film?
Day after day I pondered on the meaning of the film and here’s what I came up with.
The small man and the big woman, they both represent Lasse. The man (the male sexual appetite) wants to have sex and the waitress (the female, nurturing part of us in charge to make sure our desires are satisfied) offers him heterosexual sex (rejected), homosexual sex (rejected) and zoophilia (rejected). What else is there? Well, the man is satisfied by dancing in front of other people.
Is that exhibitionism? Is that the core of Lasse’s mystery?
Now my unforgiving, cold eyes zoomed into Lasse’s gestures with this theory in mind.
But after a week of sharpened observations the theory fell apart. Lasse was shy, self conscious and didn’t thrive under a scrutiny of other people’s eyes. In general, he loved to be left alone.
I was no wiser than when I started the scrutiny and it was wearing me out.
The marriage was pretty much like reading a mystery novel without ever finding out who was the killer.