Struggle. Love. Cry. Hope.
For Romanian click here.
A novel first published in Romanian (Eikon 2017), available in English (translated by Mihaela Alecu) on Amazon (click on the image).
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“Tell me the truth,” Ana summoned her again. “It’s true that you had an affair in Boston, isn’t it?”
“The Adventure was to climb the Empire State Building. That’s an adventure! You won’t believe it when I will show you the photographs.”
Azade smiled mysteriously.
“But the rest,” she said after a moment, “wasn’t an adventure, it was more than that.”
Ana looked at her happy to see that Azade’s eyes effectively radiated joy, waiting for her to tell her everything.
In front of the hotel room, Bryan expected Azade to tell him ‘Good night!’ again and he was preparing himself to say the same to her, before going back to his room regretful.
Azade slowly unlocked the door, she stood thinking. She turned to Bryan and she said to him:
“I would like to ask you something. Do you mind going in for a second?”
Bryan, surprised, answered fast, babbling:
“Of course. I mean, of course I don’t mind, of course I will come.”
“Thank you,” she said in a serious voice, not really as when a widow receives condolences, but anyway, not at all encouraging.
“You are welcome…” said Bryan, unconvincing.
Azade invited him to sit down, asked him if he wanted something from the fridge.
“Maybe a glass of wine?”
“Yes, alright,” he said, “if you will have one with me.”
“Of course,” Azade answered with the same serious voice.
Bryan stood up to help Azade open the bottle of wine. He poured in the glasses. Then they clinked and they sat down at the table again.
“What I want to ask you,” said Azade after she took a sip of wine, “I’ve never asked anyone before.”
“Alright,” said Bryan, trying to recover his cheerfulness. “Come, one, say it, the suspense is killing me.”
“What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger,” Azade answered. “But this is no joke, it is something very serious.”
“Okay, I swear I will take it serious.”
“Look, I don’t know how to say this other than straightforward: tonight I would like to give myself to you.”
Bryan Almost chocked with his wine, so he decided to stop drinking. He put the glass down, with his hand trembling, while the young women continued.
“But, I want to do it right. First, I want to know whether you will have me, and if you are willing to give yourself, fully, to me as well, tonight?”
“I don’t want you just saying that,” she continued, “I want you to think it through. Because this night is going to change everything between us.”
“No,” said Bryan, “I will like you just as much, and I will be you friend just like before.”
“Yes, but I will change. I will be yours, and I won’t love another man.”
“That is really something! Isn’t it a bit too dramatic?” Bryan couldn’t restrain from saying.
“No,” said Azade, just as composed.
“Alright,” he said.
“You mean, alright, alright? Or, alright, you agree?”
“Alright, everything. You can’t imagine how much I’ve waited for this!” cried Bryan.
“Alright then. Than I have your word that tonight you will be mine, body and soul?”
“Absolutely! Tonight and forever.”
“We’ll take it one at a time,” she said. Let’s start with tonight. “I will go prepare the water for the bath.”
Azade stood up and went into the bathroom, leaving Bryan dazed, with his glass of wine in front of him. It wasn’t until this point that he dared take a new sip. A big smile of joy covered his entire face.
Azade let the water running in the bathtub, she poured a few drops of relaxing bubble bath soap, then she took off the clothes in which she had walked all day through New York.
She enjoyed so much seeing it from above, from The Empire State Building, but she liked the Grand Central Building just as much, with it vaulted ceiling and painted so as to make you feel like an astronaut in the middle of the sky, not like a traveler on the point of catching a train. And, of course, the famous four faces clock.
“It is said that it has opal facets,” Bryan explained. “And that it is worth something between ten and twenty million dollars!”
“Really?” wandered Azade.
She was on the verge of clapping her hands with enthusiasm, but Bryan caught her hand and said:
“Come, I will show you something else.”
He took her to an area with wide, low arches. He had her stay beneath one of the arches, while he went to the other side. He spoke facing the wall:
“The acoustic of this hall brought on its name, Whispering Gallery.”
Then he turned to Azade.
“Did you hear that?”
“Yes, it’s so cool!” she cried. “Wait, let me tell you something.”
They had a lot of fun, thought Azade while sinking into the hot water bath. After she finished, she prepared the bath again, Azade put on a black silk robe, then she returned to the room where Bryan stood tense.
“Come,” she whispered.
Bryan listened to her, uncomplaining.
Azade took him to the bathroom, inviting him to get into the water she had prepared for him.
Bryan felt a bit of shame, he couldn’t even understand why, for years he hadn’t felt that shame, but Azade helped him get over his emotions.
“It is alright,” she said smiling and caressing his shoulder.
She then took his hand and led him to the bathtub. Azade took a sponge and started moving it around Bryan’s shoulders, on his chest, while he stood speechless, leaving itself to her. After Azade finished giving him his bath, she held the towel for him to get out. She wrapped him in it, using another one to wipe his hair.
She led him by the hand into the bedroom.
“Lay down, please,” said Azade, “on this towel.”
Bryan was laid on his stomach, completely uncovered. Azade took a bottle of oil, combined with spices known only to her, and started massaging him, bottom up, from the soles, on his legs, then buttocks and finally his back, ending with his neck. She than whispered him to turn on his back. Bryan knew that this was the moment he couldn’t escape. But he didn’t want to escape. He realized that for Azade everything was a true ritual, and that she meant what she said.
As she did everything else, Azade did this throughout as well.
He turned facing up, Azade was now looking at him different than before. Or maybe different than she had ever looked at a men’s naked bodies. She had looked at those as a doctor, she was now looking at Bryan like a lover.
Azade poured oil on her hands, plenty, and started the other way around, from up, going downwards, to massage all areas of his body, except for one. She kept that one for her, leaving it untouched by other spices than those of her own body.
When she finished anointing her lover’s body, Azade took off her rope and laid on the bed, next to him.
“Come,” she said, “now I am yours.”
Bryan turned to her. It was the moment of the long waited for kiss, the one desired so much that Bryan knew it was going to hurt him, to burn him, to consume him. He didn’t wish for anything else, and he wanted nothing more in the world.
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