CHAPTER 9 of PASSION FOR BEGINNERS
Chapter 10 appears tomorrow, 10th May. The earlier chapters are all in the immediately preceding posts
Before moving in with me, Minnie O’Brien spent every possible minute at my house. She had Tuesdays off in lieu of working Saturdays, but her boss Mrs Summers, took note of her youth, and the feverish excitement at her new romance, and was infinitely accommodating, allowing her to swap the Saturdays if she craved a whole weekend with me. Our days together were passionate to the last degree, and I sometimes wondered whether doling out med assertive, expressive and… libidinous. We made love at least twice a day, frequently four times, even six. She had a fetching bright red nightgown, a single cotton garment, designer brand and costly, which went half way down her tender calves. When the hot weather abated, she liked to keep it on as we started our bedroom embraces, and there was something about my exploring underneath she found especially tantalising. Best of all was when I raised it up high, to explore her taut breasts and slim belly and flexing bottom, and then pulled it down tight and caressed all of them, with the cloth as a teasing barrier. Being massaged through the cotton, a token act of chastity, was a powerful catalyst to Minnie’s exponentially accelerating elation. It was the ritualised syncopation of pleasure and forbearance, which made her quite so excited, her preference being to lie on her tummy, and be entered from behind. If I raised her gown and exposed her blushing buttocks, then pulled it down as we thrust together, she imagined she was in some titillatory floor show, and it made her feel infinitely wayward, naughty and exhibitionistic, and yes, she sighed, that made her always so wet.
She loved me to use her sensitive little behind as a cushion, while she lay on her tummy racking her brains for more and more whimsical excess. Lift up the nightie, please. Now pull it down, and hide my naughty little botty from view! Pinch it please, pinch it through the cloth, pinch it one, two, three, four, as if we were in Rome, where I once had it pinched black and blue, and as if you were a crazy Roman street boy…pinch it seven times for luck, because seven is my favourite number. Leave pinch marks on my lickle bottom darling, so that I can look at them in the mirror. Now lift it up, and look at the pinch marks and tell me how they seem. Is it a pattern, does it look magical, does it look more like silly flea bites on my lickle botty? To clarify, she might have been 24 years old, but free form baby talk was Minnie’s natural second language, and she felt no embarrassment cooing about her rude ickle botty and her rude ickle bot. She did not pee or piss like anyone else her age, but wee-weed, just as she poo-pooed rather than went and took a crap. In line with her cheery infantilism, she introduced a little teddy bear called Bonzo to our bedroom, replete with sunglasses, tartan scarf and baseball cap. She had also preserved some priceless historic tape recordings made in 1957, when she was only four, subsequently copied by a modern cassette player. They were nothing less than garrulous little four-year-old Minnie chattering away for the benefit of Daddy, who wished to record her delicious lispings for posterity. She played the whole forty-five minutes for me at least twice, watched me feign pleasure the first time, and on the second just possibly observed I might have been happier with a tiny bit less of the unexpurgated epic.
I turned a tolerant ear to her little girl habits, for infinitely endearing was the way she would frequently throw herself at me with the innocence of a trusting animal. She made a sacrificial present of herself, simply the woman as she was, unadorned, without any cautious references or laboured, considered CV. What I saw before me with an artless smile and fluttering saucer eyes and tender lips, was presented with a frank generosity for me to accept and cherish. There was also of course the surly option of the reverse. But to have rejected her at that stage, would have been to shun a vulnerable child, or to turn hostile towards an adoring and devoted friend. She had made no mention of her rebound from the lab technician, Lucas Ball, maybe because it was too painful, or possibly because she thought it might spoil the magic of our lightning fast alliance. Touchingly, because I was a writer, Minnie felt duty bound to demonstrate some credentials, and remarkably brought out a handwritten letter from Vladimir Nabokov bearing his Swiss hotel address. There was no copy of the original fan letter to him, praising the novel Ada, but reading his reply it was clear he was touched by her simplicity, and the spontaneous veneration of his talent. It was a kind, friendly and courteous letter from the great man, who was to die less than a year later, and of course the antithesis of his usual Olympian hauteur. He was after all the same who had fearlessly dismissed both Fyodor Dostoievsky and Honore de Balzac as purveyors of ‘topical trash’. The only thing that puzzled me, was that I had read Ada myself, also called Ardour, and it seemed to me definitely a difficult and challenging book. Knowing what I knew of Minnie, and that her vocabulary, whether everyday or strugglingly analytic, was of the simplest and most impressionistic, I found it hard to imagine her reading it from start to finish. I wondered if she had just dipped into the occasional unintelligible page, and found the experience so beatific, a bit like being an ecstatic wine taster, that she had kept on doing so until she had got to the end of the book.
I was learning to cope with teddies in the bedroom called Bonzo, and with whimsies such as Minnie turning him round when we were making love, so that Bonzo wouldn’t blush at what he saw. This despite the glaring fact he wore sunglasses, and was ably protected. But it took a great deal of biting my tongue, when one day she affectionately referred to her emigre idol as ‘Nab’. At first I had no idea what she was talking about, until she mentioned Ada again and then I realised she could only mean Nabokov.
“Aha, “I smiled with an effort. “Nab equals Nabokov. That’s very interesting.”
It wasn’t interesting at all, it was appalling. I wondered silently if she called Shakespeare, Shake and Dostoievsky, Dost and Mrs Gaskell, Mrs Gask. I suddenly felt a well of ugly irritation that was very uncomfortable. It was so ugly, I decided I had to do something quickly, so instead of starting an argument, I turned things on their head and chose to flatter her in an oblique way.
“It’s just my hunch, but you sound like Ayn Rand, as she probably sounded in her youth. She’s the American writer notorious for her worship of raw capitalism, so that’s where the two of you might part. But she was born in Russia, and actually went to school with Nabokov’s sister. I bet you she called her best schoolchum, Nab…”
Minnie beamed very gratefully. “She probably called Vladimir Nabokov, Nab as well! Her brother, my Nab, that is.”
Her Nab. Even better. Or even worse. I suddenly felt a poignant if uncertain compassion for Minnie O’Brien and wanted to tell her she didn’t have to try and impress me with these strenuous cultural references. I genuinely didn’t care a damn whether she read great novels, or any kind of novels, or liked Stravinsky or Bridge over Troubled Water by Simon and Garfunkel, or anything else, even the saccharine excesses of Klaus Wunderlich and Easy Listening. I liked Minnie for being herself and nothing more, but it is a depressing truism that there are only a minority of brave souls, who can accept being liked solely for themselves.
It is impossible to exaggerate the wild excitement of our frantic, unstinting love life. On her days off, two or three times we would chase each other upstairs, she would don in an instant her beautiful crimson nightie, then lying on her belly, ask me to raise it and enter from behind. She demanded I do everything possible with her extraordinarily sensitive buttocks, including protracted and expert massage with body lotion, as well as holding and steering her haunches, more or less riding her like a mare, or navigating her like a ship. Her passion for being pinched had to be appeased, and she actually liked me to leave little pink marks on her bottom, as some sort of quaintly possessive signature. I improvised by writing outsize kisses on her behind with body oil and whispering kiss, kiss, kiss the while. She chuckled and shivered her appreciation, and coyly asked me to inscribe ‘I love Minnie’ before the posy of kisses. I obliged with definite calligraphic zest, as I did love her as far as I knew, and did feel very moved by her trusting naivety. As well as much tenderness, there was an unabashed animal vigour to our carnal fucking, which Minnie applauded as an aphrodisiac. Near to climax, she also liked her naked then crimson-covered rear to be slapped in alternating sequence, to a precise accelerating rhythm as orchestrated by her. Her chosen role of wanton naughtiness, warranted this act of chastisement, though she put it less demurely in the third person, and said that, naughty Minnie O’Brien needed her naughty lickle botty spanked for being such a very very naughty girl. I felt remarkably buffoonish at some of this baroque pantomime, especially its spoken content, but Minnie impressively felt no embarrassment about anything. That is, she saw no lasting, inhibiting demarcation between how one might behave in everyday life, and then in bed at the heights of carefree passion.
It all remained very tranquil, as long as our passion compensated for the bewildering profusion of her childish, and far too innocent ways. Looming always, there was a chronic emotional neediness, a sister aspect of the same naivety, which might show itself in an often pettish and ugly countenance. It took me back worryingly to the time I had spotted her in an unashamed, all night sulk with her previous man, Mick Higgins. The anecdotal term highly strung was entirely accurate, and if Minnie was irritable or tired or hungry or thirsty, the needs of others, no matter how urgent, were beyond all consideration. The arguments of rowing couples can be terrifyingly banal, often farcical, and one night had our quarrel been explained to anyone in a candid sentence, it would have had them laughing uproariously. By now the landlady Madge and her husband Joe who had been cheerfully subletting to us both, had moved to a dull and morose pit village, leaving Minnie and I to pay the London owner’s mortgage. We had the big terrace to ourselves, and one evening we were running low on milk, but with enough to allow for our coffee that night and crucially the next morning. I was a notorious caffeine fiend, a classifiable addict, though I could not tolerate it black, and Minnie also liked coffee, but could imbibe fruit juice or milkless tea just as well. Come ten o’clock when all the shops were closed, I walked into the kitchen to find her voluptuously draining the last of our milk. There was a split second where she thought herself unobserved, immortalised as she was with that repellent expression as she sucked feverishly at the milk, her literal pap. The fey childishness of a spoiled infant was written in every line of her face, which was both tired and ugly. She flinched violently as she saw my hostile and absolutely unforgiving glance. It was the unsavoury reality that she needed to gorge on the elemental infantile sustenance, and nothing else mattered in the whole world. It was almost her final and ultimate challenge to me. Would I forgive her, when she did what was furtive, selfish, pathetic? She blinked and gaped at me speechless.
“That’s it,” I said nastily, and she jumped. “No coffee for us now. Is there? End of fucking story”
Minnie quivered like a bird on the wing and let her eyes leap hither and thither.
“It’s so bloody late, babe. There’s no need for coffee…”
Her babe growled horribly. “Late at night we always drink coffee. Every night, like clockwork, the pair of us. Our proven addictions, and also for our rampant bedtime stamina.”
She chuckled weakly. “You and I don’t need any stamina. We need the bloody brakes on.”
I belaboured her mercilessly, “Guzzling from that thing you had a look of babyfied selfishness. I’ve known one or two junkies, and as you gobbled and slurped you were like the one who had to have her fix, and also take the last of everyone else’s fix. Junkies being those who can only consider their wretched selves….”
And with that charmless denunciation and like two stunned sparrers in the combat ring, we walked our separate ways and left it at that. It was a miracle it lasted another day, much less the six impassioned months it did before Minnie O’Brien fled.