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An Indyref Romance: Harmony and Dissonance – Chapter 12

Orazio Gentileschi and Giovanni Lanfranco, Saint Cecilia and an Angel, Italian, 1582 - 1647, c. 1617/1618 and c. 1621/1627, oil on canvas, Samuel H. Kress Collection

It had been a strange film. For the first hour or so he’d just found it dull. He knew that Jenny wanted to practice her Danish, but he didn’t quite see why he should have to sit through stuff like this. Ordet… There had certainly been enough words spoken. He’d quite liked the Danish film about witchcraft. The girl was stunning. But they did have a funny way of speaking, all mumbles and odd sounds. He recognised one of the stars of the previous film in this one. Only he was ten or fifteen years older. What an odd way he had of speaking, even stranger than the others. It was like he was some sort of nutcase. Jenny had asked Paul about half way through what he thought. He hadn’t been completely honest. But he did like pleasing her. It was obvious that it was important to her to share these films and her music. He didn’t like all of them by any means. He didn’t understand much of it. But he liked some and he liked her. He liked her more every day.

It became clearer as the film progressed that it was another of her religious films. It was pretty futile, he thought, her attempts at conversion. Was that what she was trying to do? Yet she didn’t argue and when he came up with his reasons for not believing, she didn’t try to prove him wrong. It all just seemed so unlikely and he found the topic rather dull. Rather like the film, he didn’t really know anyone of his own age group apart from Jenny and Susan who went to church. You might as well have tried to believe in the Greek myths.

He’d looked across at Jenny on the sofa they shared watching the DVD. She loved the film that was clear. But why? It was like a stage play. But somehow almost involuntarily he found himself finding a certain beauty in the austerity of the scenes and the sets. He hadn’t wanted to like the film and for the first half would have stopped it if only he’d been watching it on his own. He’d felt duty bound to watch out of affection for Jenny, and also because he wanted to understand her and know why she loved this film so much.

A woman died. Another grim Scandinavian film would end soon with some message about the futility of life and how we should all be pessimists. The crazy man was rambling. It was like some sort of satire on prophets or false prophets or something. Suddenly, something quite unexpected happened. He hadn’t seen that coming. He’d never seen anything like it in a film. He looked across at Jenny. She was crying her eyes out. It was impossible, but he was crying, too. Not that he believed, of course, but in the context of the film he was able to suspend his disbelief and so the miracle made sense.  Of course, it was all nonsense like hyperspace in Star Wars or all sorts of other impossibilities. Yet he had been touched. He’d found himself thinking about what it would have been like to lose a wife and a mother. He’d felt the sadness, and then this crazy man who took everything literally. What did he do? Or was it the little girl who did it. He couldn’t get it out of his mind, the expression on the woman’s face, the reunion with the husband, their kisses, their joy. He didn’t believe a word of it, of course, he kept telling himself, almost pleading with himself that he didn’t believe a word of it. Yet he couldn’t get the image of the woman rising up out of his head, her surprise at the unexpectedness of it all.

Jenny saw that the tears were flowing down his cheeks. She pulled him towards her.

“It’s OK, my darling. There’s no need to be upset.”

“I’m not really,” said Paul. “It’s just rather powerful. I didn’t expect anything like it.”

“Nor did I when I first saw it.”

“When was that?”

“Oh, I don’t remember. A couple of years ago. I’ve seen it a few times since.”

He kept thinking of the film all that night. He still thought the same way. He certainly didn’t think such miracles were possible. You had to respect science, what else was there really to rely on. And science told us such things were impossible. He looked forward to discussing it all once more with Jenny later on. He’d be a bit later than he’d hoped as there was another campaign meeting. But he’d get there.

When he arrived at the flat, he found all three of the girls sitting drinking tea in the kitchen. They were also all in their nightwear and dressing gowns.

“Why the dressing gowns?” asked Paul.

“It’s a girly thing,” said Lorna. “I’m never more comfortable than in my pyjamas.”

“If I could spend my life only wearing pyjamas, I would,” said Susan.

“I thought you weren’t coming,” said Jenny with a laugh, “and so I got ready for bed.”

“Oh ye of little faith,” said Paul.

A few minutes later when everyone had gone off to their own room, Paul said:

“I really enjoyed the film yesterday. It took a while to get into, but I can’t stop thinking about it.”

“Me, too. It was a nice moment for us to share.”

“What did we share? You believe and I still don’t.”

“But we watched the same film and felt the same emotion. That’s the truth also.”

“How am I doing as your pupil?”

“You’re not my pupil, you’re my boyfriend. You think, it’s a bit one way traffic sometimes, is that it?”

“I don’t know the things you know, Jenny. I can’t teach you anything.”

“You’re teaching me how to love. I never knew how before. Without your patience I might never have learned. Few men I think would be as patient as you.”

“So what are we listening to tonight?”

“It’s more Mahler. It’s a sort of symphony of Chinese songs sung in German.”

“Where on earth do you find these things? But I’ve scoffed before and ended up liking the oddities you play.”

Jenny put on the CD, took off her dressing gown revealing red tartan pyjamas and got into bed.

“Where do I go?” said Paul, “I can’t very well get into bed with you like this.”

“What do you normally wear to bed?”

“Just shorts.”

“Well, why don’t you wear them now?”

Paul wondered what was going on. But sat down on her bed and undressed, and slipped in beside her. He held her and felt how her fingers moved through the hair on this chest. There was very little in the way of barrier between them now only the thinnest of cloth of her pyjamas and his boxer shorts. They continued their dance as they had for the past few days. Their embrace varied so that at times he lay on her and at other times she lay on him. She caressed him with her body rather than with her hands. She sat astride his leg and moved so that he sensed her and felt her warmth and her excitement. Then she adjusted herself once more and sat across his lap.

“I’m not squashing you, am I?”

“No, I’m fine.”

“You don’t mind me rocking a little back and forth. It’s such a nice feeling. I love the closeness we’re finding.”

Her duvet was already on the floor. But neither of them noticed. She pressed herself against him. She could feel him and he could feel her. She moved a little faster. He saw that her excitement was increasing. Her eyes closed and it was as if she’d forgotten him. Her breathing came faster and her mouth sort of grimaced. Then, she sort of fell or rather gently collapsed on him as if tired out.

“Jenny, I can’t carry on much like that. I get excited, too.”

“I know, it doesn’t seem fair.”

“It becomes a little uncomfortable.”

“Why don’t you let me help you with that?”

“That’s OK,” he looked terribly embarrassed.

“No, really, Paul. Would you let me?”

“I don’t want to make a mess.”

“You’ll not make a mess.”

She reached under the bed and found the tissues she’d left earlier.

“I’ve never done this before.”

“I haven’t either.”

She touched him for the first time through the thin fabric of his shorts and then reached inside and eased them down. In a few minutes they’d had another special moment and felt still closer to each other.

“There are all sorts of ways to make love. You remember I said something about this earlier. Everyone can stick to their beliefs, but find fulfilment and contentment in each other’s arms.”

“It doesn’t seem very fair that you’ve seen me naked but I’ve not seen you.”

“No, it doesn’t, does it?” Jenny took off her pyjama top and bottoms. “Touch me, Paul, but gently.”

“Don’t worry, I’ll touch you as you want to be touched and nothing more. I’ll ask every time I touch and wait for your response.”

“You’ve been so patient with me, Paul.”

“And you with me.”

Sometime later they lay quietly naked under the covers whispering to each other.

“You’re not remotely like other women. You don’t follow their rules,” said Paul.

“I have my own rules,” said Jenny.

“I’ve never had a nicer time.”

“We’ve only just started. Now we’ll have all sorts of other possibilities.”

“You don’t feel we’re doing anything wrong?”

“I can think of no reason why I shouldn’t be naked in bed with someone who I love and trust. Why should you not touch me and why should I not touch you?”

“But you don’t want anything more?”

“Of course, I do, you’ve just seen how a woman has desire, just the same as a man does. But no. This is enough for now. We have to take our time, we have to be patient. We have to continue learning and trusting. We’ll know when the right moment arrives.”

“A wedding night?”

“Something like that. But in in the meantime we can still be lovers. You can see that, can’t you?”

“Yes, I see that and I feel that.”

This post was originally published by the author on her personal blog: https://www.effiedeans.com/2018/06/an-indyref-romance-harmony-and.html

About Effie Deans

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Effie Deans is a pro UK blogger who works at the University of Aberdeen. She spent many years living in Russia and the Soviet Union, but came home to Scotland so as to enjoy living in a multi-party democracy! When not occupied with Scottish politics she writes fiction and thinks about theology, philosophy and Russian literature.

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