The Roughness of an Artistic Experience / M & Mrs Hyde

I knew I should never have invited him home. This stranger, this man – an American – this strange guy. Everything started with an email received one morning, eyes still in the fog, before my first Darjeeling. An artist from Baltimore, young, rather good looking, who wanted to put his suitcases a week at home, to discover Indian culture through me. I will be his artistic project. My apartment, in the outskirts of Jaipur, near the desert. Nothing other than talking, living and eating. Speak, especially. Nothing but seeing through my windows and my eyes.

I was a little suspicious, and he had his agent called to reassure me. He even offered to come with his wife (but my apartment is too small for three people, and I asked him to come alone – maybe a mistake?). Curious, ingenuous, candid, I had accepted.

I had taken a rickshaw to pick him up at the airport, with his two big suitcases (“photographic material” … he said). He had Western manners: the hand on the knee in the third minute, constantly watching my breasts, playing little subtle with his tongue on his lips (I did not like it too much).

But it was when he tied me to the bed and he tore my pink rose, and put his hand on the bottom of my belly, that I felt it was not going to end well.

The first night at home was strange, though not too bad. He was a handsome man, rather young, and we were alone. So, when he suddenly kissed my neck from behind on the balcony, I was only glad. To be honest, I had hoped that he would. It would be interesting, I had thought, to have a weeklong affair with a man I don’t know, and will never see or even hear about again. It will be like sleeping with a ghost. He was bound to disappear. No one would even believe that he’d existed.

Later, in the bedroom, he asked me to bend over against the desk. I don’t know why I listened to him. He took off my skirt, my panties, and started spanking me and so everything was lost to me in the pleasure my soul did not know until then. In the middle of it, I’d screamed in delight many times. “Kill me, kill me, kill me.”

He’d faintly whispered in my ear: “I will”

I think he knew I hated it, that I had a horror of that smell, that vision. Yet he took me by the waist, I felt his hand on my ribs, the top of my stomach, the bottom of my breasts, I told him: enter. He said, wait. He lifted me up, carried, and took off the green robe, which is attached by a knot at the front. He dropped me in the bathroom, he closed the door from inside and he stayed with me, and there I saw, I felt. At first, I thought it was his cock that smelled like fish, but no. In the bathtub there was a lot of cod, sardines, trout, salmon, and so on. Everywhere, almost overflowing. This horror stank like garbage that had not been emptied for several days. I remember when he pummeled my breasts and buttocks with his big, calloused hands, when he laid his mouth with his badly shaved beard on my mouth, my skin, my navel. That he pulled my hair a little, then much harder, when he made me tip over into the bathtub. I was tetanized by this tide. This taste of iodine on my tongue. These scales stuck on the grain of my skin. All those mouths wide open, those eyes globular and dead, opaque. Unstressed. And he, standing. He was naked before me, contemplating me. Then he slipped over me, and into me. In this fish bath, I did not know if it was him who was inside me or a fish, if it was him that exploded inside me or a fish, if it was he who lissed me or a fish. A monster.

I had hoped for a week-long lover. A ghost, an adventure without a future. But it was a monster that was at home.

M & Mrs Hyde are the two tantric and trashy sides of a forgotten soul, with frequent Jungian mood, tiny red spot obsession, Bombay Sapphire passion, frequent insomnia, recurrent headaches, taste for Darjeeling, and fascination for words. Always travelling from East to West, and inversely.

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