A Short Dialogue in Villa dei Misteri / M & Mrs Hyde

Long ago, maybe two thousand years ago, you held your brush with a deft hand, Calymnios. And on the wall of this isolated house, you have frozen for eternity this scene that your mortal eyes would never have seen. You have seen the invisible, you have contemplated what must remain hidden. You saw my nakedness, the surface of my skin, and what the gods did. How I was given to the gods. And how the gods took advantage of me, to my deepest intimacy. I was then a young girl, from the Roman nobility. My family had taken me on vacation to this town near the volcano, a small fishing port, Pompeii. I remember the quays smelling fresh fish, the veiled prostitutes whose makeup was guessed under the transparent cloths, the gladiators walking barefoot on the basalt pavers accompanied by their sword slaves, and I remember this strange house , weird, along the road to the volcano, very dark, almost lifeless. I passed so often before, until the famous evening when, in the light of torches, our litter stopped at the front door. After having written a password to the athlete who kept the main door, the wood creaked on the hinges, and we entered. The interior was only pale lights, fragrant woodwork, Greek wines, choice textiles, comfortable cushions. And everyone was naked.
I did not keep my tunic for a long time, expert hands slid it on the clear skin. Other hands have undone my hair, tied in Spartan fashion. And the wine sank. And other hands touched me. I remember mouths, too. And many other things … And I see you there, you, in this villa of mysteries, Calymnios, your brush in the hand, who painted me naked, in the middle of this man disguised as Silenus, this woman grinned in Hera . You did not lose any detail of the scene, and you followed the least detail of my body offered to the gods.

You did not lose any detail but what you left out of the frescoes, Calymnios, was much. Many centuries later, a scholar describes me, “To their right, the initiate is in a panic. This is the last time we see her for a few scenes; when she appears again, she has changed.” You knew, dear Calymnios, what changed me, what transformed me, what went inside the depths of this frightening villa, what was exactly meant by Catabasis. Since you chose to omit the details of what I went through, showing me only as transformed, and not the reasons for such transformation, I now take the liberty of filling the gap. Hand me your brush, let me paint the missing frescoes of erotica and horror:

Fresco Catabasis I:

 The initiate, a young girl, is inside a room that is underground.  An arrow (of Cupid?) has been struck on her naked body. A few candles are lit, and at a distance, three mountain goats stand staring at her. An older woman is sitting on a bejeweled throne, naked, with her legs spread apart, with a tamed fox licking the root of her thighs, and a naked young man fondling her breasts. At the edge of her throne, another couple is shown to be fornicating in the ancient Tibetan Yab-Yuma position. 


It’s been so long, and I was so struck by that arrow doused in lust and love and haze and a miracle potion that I forget what happens next. Maybe you can remind me, maybe you remember more?

You saw there is a part of the fresco that is missing. It was not time that erased it, it was not the ashes of vesuvius that tore it off, it was not the water or the wind that fragmented it. These are your nails. Look well. In this angle, do you see the trace of your nails in the red and gold pigments, place a day-old oil lamp curling, look closer, approach. Concentrate and above all, try to remember: you will see the imprint of your skin, your breasts, your belly, your thighs, and even the tip of your toes. This double of you was printed in the fresco while I kissed you in a corner, I pressed you against the wall and the painting was not dry yet. The painting of you and you are one. You are this woman who turns around, frightened by the blows. You are that head protruding behind the column. You are this body without shadow. You are all these women, evanescent. You are an enlightened dream. This fresco shows your marriage, your alienation, the last time I fucked you before you put yourself in the chains of your slavery. You are this ghost encrusted in color. I could almost lie down in this molding of you, of your body. Put my body on your body. The hand on your breasts, my mouth on your thighs. I could almost fuck you again. I do not get tired of passing the hand on this trace of you, this vestige of you. I can still hear the echo of your orgasm: why the stone does not yet trace it? My spirit will die, but the stone does not die. The painting never disappears completely. How I would like to fuck you again and again, again and again, again and again. Against this wall. In this corner of a mysterious villa. All over. All the time. For eternity.

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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