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Contradictory - anglais - Jessica Warnock
 Article publié le 7 septembre 2014.


I’m on my way to a private evening party where I shall be seeing a few friends and acquaintances as well as some total strangers.

I’m filled with a strange, or rather a paradoxical feeling, as I rarely frequent large groups, and yet this evening I’m amenable to it, probably by curiosity.

According to the directions I was given, I must take a detour and, at the end of the road, below and to the right, should find the so-called villa. From here, I can already see the dwelling, a ways off, and I decide to stop for a moment before tackling the final pathway.

Lights, a swimming pool, an opulent-looking house with large doors and windows, and guests in the places provided for eating and discussion. I can still change my mind, I can simply turn back, retrace my steps and, perhaps improvise – go elsewhere – and thus radically change the course of the evening. Eventually, I put the car in gear and drive forward slowly, down the middle of this impeccably kept driveway, irreproachable in its cleanliness. The driveway, flat and winding, is all in asphalt. I park the car immediately on my arrival, next to the others, at a slant.

Then I head for the main entrance, towards the stairway which provides, as it were, a transition before reaching the swimming pool, before entering into direct contact with the others.

In the entry two adolescents sit on one of the two red velvet sofas. They glance at my clothes – black suit and white shirt – which they seem to appreciate, and I do likewise, attempting a show of courtesy and restraint : one of them is wearing a skirt and stockings, the other checkered trousers, golf trousers. Perhaps she plays the sport ? I greet each of them with a glance and notice their intense gazes, a mixture of politeness and seduction…

Pursuing my way in, I arrive at another stairway just opposite, where the hostess comes to greet me.

- We’ve been waiting for you…” she says, coming up the stairs. “How are you ?”

- Well. And you ?”

- Fine, fine. Guess who’s here ?”

- No, I won’t, but you’re going to tell me.”

- Mrs. A_ who you haven’t seen for ages. And Philippe.”

- Ah yes, I see. Hey, there’s quite a crowd…

- Yes ! There are canapés and buffets in several places. Feel free to roam around and visit the premises. See you later ?”

- Yes. Thanks.”

I kiss my hostess, an old acquaintance, singular, to say the least and quite charming, who loves to host parties and, as surely as not, to be provoking …

Not without apprehension, I go towards a table of seven or eight people near the pool in the midst of the garden.

- Look who’s here !” exclaims a clear cut voice, a woman’s voice. “The handsomest…”

- …or the most refined,” says one of the men.

I greet my friends and the guests who are introduced to me, and then join in with the meal.

- …what you just said makes no sense. You say that the most important thing, for two people to be together, is to have enough things in common. Then, in the same breath, you say that accepting each other’s differences is the most important thing.”

- But coherency is a luxury,” I say, stepping in on the conversation. After a long and overall silence, neither approving nor ostracizing, I pursue :

- Contradiction – although I don’t think there is a contradiction here – is an inherent part of us. It seems to me that it’s impossible to take leave of it. I don’t see any contradiction in what he said. I think, actually, that it’s complementary. That we want to share something while respecting each other’s differences. Rousseau said : “I prefer paradoxical men to men with prejudices.” I really like that sentence…

- How wise…”, says my neighbor, visibly convinced.

- Or what folly, what crazy ambition !” responds a man from the other end of the table.

While one of them orients the conversation in a new direction, my neighbor, a woman friend who I’ve known for many years but who I rarely see, confides in me :

- I just met someone and…

- And ?

- I’m confused.

- Why ?

- Well, he’s…

- …Charming…

- …Yes…

- …Incisive…

- …Yes…

- …Like me, in fact…

- Ah, you and your intuition ! Yes, he’s like that. And,...

- …and you’re worried. And you wonder about what we were just talking about…

- Yes.

- If you’re attracted to him, why wonder ?”

While I remark the presence of a woman alone, walking along the pool, a glass in her hand – a tall and seemingly classical silhouette – my neighbor responds :

- Etienne…I’ve always felt close to you…”

At these words, I take her hand in a friendly way in my own, then get up to take a walk around the property.

After having taken the numerous short paths which criss-cross the orchard, I head towards the villa, towards the stairway which I took on my arrival. Once again in the entry, I observe the architecture of the hall, as well as that of the first floor whose walls are decorated in paintings. I take the inside staircase which leads to the first floor, in order to see them close-up, to truly apprehend them. My hostess has achieved a subtle mix of abstract and figurative representations ; the contrast is astonishing and totally harmonious.

Pursuing my wanderings, I stop in front of a sculpture located in the corner of a long corridor which is made up, on either side, of several rooms. It is a pure form, sober, like an intersection of curves. Now at the end of the long corridor, I cross the last vestibule, which gives on to a small sitting-room called the “library”. The curtains are a dark red, the walls light, like the rug on the floor. Two dark-colored arm-chairs, probably velvet, are set in the middle of the room. My curiosity leads me to the books placed on the main shelf. My eyes follow the alphabetical order, as well as the titles which are familiar to me.

Suddenly, my extremely acute sense of hearing detects a noise, or rather, a discreet and clear sound close to a sigh.

Instinctively, I approach the dark-colored curtain which is there, doubtless, as a partition.

Pushing the fabric aside with the tips of my fingers, I discover, to my utter surprise, a most startling and unexpected scene : the two adolescents who I had come across at my arrival, in full intimacy.

On a white bed, to the right, one of them snuggled her face in the crotch of the other, her partner, head leant back, hair hanging.

Simultaneously, my vocabulary changes : they are not two adolescents, but two ravishing young women enjoying, at this particular moment, the pleasures of the flesh.

Witnessing this intense scene, various questions spring to my mind.

Are they conscious of the limits of their discretion ?

Are they partaking in some sort of provocation ?

Doubting, I cannot help but wonder if my participation is not unconsciously sought after, mixing my own fantasies with the reality of this unique, of this magnificent, scene.

Doubting, I remain in the background, a respectful spectator desirous to obtain the utmost of this singular moment, to bask in my own turmoil.

From " The Ultimate Being " followed by "Strange Desire".

Translation :

Jessica Warnock

January 2012


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