Excerpt for The Model from Senegal by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

The Model from Senegal

A very short story


Vincent Gray

Copyright © 2017 Vincent Gray

Smashwords 2017 Edition

This book is a work of fiction. All the characters developed in this novel are fictional creations of the writer’s imagination and are not modelled on any real persons. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead is entirely coincidental.

ISBN: 9781370408474

Dedicated to my wife Melodie and my daughter Ruth


The story of my life is the story of the restless heart that Saint Augustine writes about in his Confessions. I have a queer woman’s heart beating in my breast and it is desire and passion that makes it restless. The heart is the wellspring of desire and passion. At Vilanculos I felt the same kind of excitement being churned up by the restlessness of my heart. Now at Jan Smuts International Airport a full hour before our flight to Madrid I feel the awakening of my restless heart. To kill time before boarding we wondered about in the departure lounge. I struggle to contain my excitement. This was the first time that I would be embarking on an aeroplane flight. I was breathless with desire and passion, I suddenly want Kate to make love to me in the women’s toilets.

I felt as hot as hell with lust and feelings of sensuality. Like Kate I am a sensual person. Kate literary oozes sensuality. Now I am so hot that I am panting like an animal on heat I want Kate to fuck me. I am a wanton woman, I feel like whispering my fantasy of my desire in her ear: ‘I want you to fuck me in the public toilets.’ Instead I follow her into the Central News Agency, she says that she wants to buy a book or two to read on the flight and on our holiday. She is oblivious of the state that I am in. I gaze distractedly at the shelf stacked with classical fiction. The title ‘A Thief’s Journal’ catches my eye. I flip through pages. I am surprised, I am stunned and I am amazed. What is this book doing on a bookshop in South Africa, how did it escape the surveillance of the censors? The book by Jean Genet is dedicated to Jean-Paul Sartre and Sartre has composed a foreword to the novel. I decide that I will buy the book. I scan the other titles, thinking that maybe there is a book written by Sartre. I know about Sartre, his name has been dropped in conversations that I have inadvertently eavesdropped on while quietly drinking coffee in the student union’s cafeteria, from its high perch on the ridge it overlooked the lush leafy northern suburbs of Johannesburg. Now suddenly the name SARTRE jumps out among the titles. It belongs to the novel called ‘Nausea’. I decide to purchase the two paperback books. At the cashier Kate looks at my two books. She has never heard of the authors. She pays for her two murder mysteries. I find pulp fiction boring. I make a pretence of interest while remaining silent about my personal opinion regarding her literary tastes.


The boundary between the human and the animal is artificial. It can be breached. Language and textualization cannot fix the boundary between the human and the animal.

There is something that it is like to be a particular living creature. Every living creature has its own peculiar kind of unique experience of the world in which it finds itself. Living creatures have conscious states, they each have their own kind of awareness, their own kind of mental states.

Insentient matter. How did conscious arise from insentient matter?


Humans are fallible. So we are all indeed capable of sin. It was in our nature to be sinners. Kate as a practicing Catholic was also fallible as I soon discovered. She suffered from all the human foibles. Her greatest character flaw was her vanity. My parents thought I was going on an overseas tour with fellow students. Instead I was going on a secret honeymoon holiday with a woman in her mid-thirties with whom I was having a clandestine affair. They wanted to see me off at Jan Smuts Airport. Having much to hide about myself I insisted that it was not necessary. Anyway I was an adult, I was grown up even though I was still nineteen. I had experienced stuff with Kate that most adults could not even imagine in their wildest erotic fantasies. And going overseas with an experienced traveller would be a walk in the park compared to going to Vilanculos and the Bazaruto Archipelago in Mozambique. Anyway Kate was one of my lecturers, how I was going to explain my relationship with her to my parents? As I said, I was only nineteen years old at the time, and I was having sex with an older and more experience woman. Our relationship had to remain a secret, it was best for both of our sakes.


As our plane circumnavigated the edge of Africa flying at a high altitude offshore over the rolling swells of the Atlantic Ocean I imagined that the lights I saw were the lights of various seaside cities of African countries including Angola. In my mind I imaged that the lights I saw were those of Luanda, the capital city of Angola. After the military coup had removed the Portuguese Marcello Caetano regime in Lisbon Portugal the sun was now fast setting on the centuries old Portuguese colonial rule in Africa.

In three hundred and thirteen years I have become the first Zeeman to leave the African continent after our family’s three century sojourn on the continent. My grandfathers who had fought in the Second World War did not leave the continent, they did not go beyond the Sahara Desert. As a nineteen year second year BSc student Europe was a foreign continent. I did not know what to expect. My excitement was contagious. Kate felt my breathless excitement and was as radiant and flushed like a teenager on her first date. I could see that she had spent considerable time and effort on her makeup. Her perfume was expensive and she made an extraordinary effort to dress as youthfully and stylishly as possible for an academic. I sensed her vulnerability and I felt a sudden surge of love for Kate. I kissed her on the cheek and whispered intimately that I loved her so much. As an older woman it was exactly the kind of thing that she wanted to hear not once but a thousand times from me. She held my hand tightly. I had the window seat as she had promised. I pressed my forehead against the cabin window and stared at the night sky and then down at the Continent clothed in darkness. Africa lay supine below us, she lay waiting for her lover, she lay reclined in exotic and mysterious splendour, and she lay in erotic repose somewhere below us at the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. To me Africa was a beautiful black woman, her loins fertile, her strong thighs parted in enigmatic anticipation of pleasure and her breasts full like ripe fruit, her lips like honey, her breath like the scent of an orchard in full blossom, her eyelids like butterflies. I also felt a surge of love for this continent which was my home. The home of Hannah Zeeman. I was one of Africa’s many wayward daughters. I had lied to my parents. My own audacity astonished me. My parents would not have guessed in a thousand years that their daughter was going on her first honeymoon with her lover and would be enjoying four orgasmic weeks of European summer, European sunshine and sex and sex and sex.


Shortly after sunrise we landed in Madrid. I had no idea of our travel itinerary. It was all rather vague and up in the air. During the flight she had said that we would hire a car at the airport and travel down to the Mediterranean and follow the coastline to Barcelona. After Barcelona we would travel across the border to France. From France we would go to Italy, Greece, and Switzerland. From Switzerland we would travel back to France. After spending some time in Paris we would return to Madrid. She said we would be criss-crossing many international borders during ours travels across vast and large chunks of European countryside.

Getting through the early morning peak hour traffic and finding the main road from Madrid to Valencia took some time. Being the navigator I sat with the map on my lap. Travelling in the bright summer sunlight across the vast open plains of Spain we reached Valencia by midday.


Irreducibility of the being to knowledge. Irreducibility of lived reality to knowing. And we have a question of priority, consciousness or being. Truth supervenes on being.


It was past midday, feeling famished we found ourselves on the outskirts of Valencia driving through the suburbs in a seawards direction. We continued driving seawards until we found a restaurant that spilled out over onto a stony beach with the Mediterranean Sea lapping languidly onto a sleepy shoreline. I realized that it was a Friday afternoon. Chairs and tables had been arranged in a scattered sprawling fashion on the uneven sloping surface of the beach. Sitting down at a table I felt the back legs of my chair sinking into the sand. Kate suggested that we order paella and a bottle of red wine. Two or three metres from our table sat five young men, possibly in their late teens or early twenties, lounging lazily around their table, leaning back in their chairs drinking wine and chatting amiably. They had finished their meal, which seemed to have been paella. Having removed their shirts they sat bare chested in their jeans enjoying the summer glow of the warm Mediterranean sun on their bodies.

Like the boys sitting across from us we were in no hurry to go anyway. The meal, the wine and the sun made me feel pleasantly sleepy. We felt completely unburdened of care and worries. Falling under that contagious and liberating sense of seaside holiday freedom we felt no urgency do anything or be anywhere. Eventually after coffee and vanilla ice cream we set out to look for a place to spend the night. After travelling for thirty kilometres or so we found lodgings in a suitably modest and cheap beachfront establishment in a small town. We booked into a single room with a double bed and balcony overlooking the ocean. Even though it was the peak of the European holiday season we managed to find similar kinds of lodgings in small towns or villages along the coast away from the popular tourist beaches and hotspots. Every morning at six before breakfast Kate insisted that we go for a run. Kate was obsessed with exercising. We ate breakfast and we ate supper, and we ate nothing else in between. I lost quite a bit of weight, not that I was bothered about losing weight. While I was generally fit from swimming, all this other daily physical exercise left me feeling as strong as a lioness. But being with someone like Kate also made me feel as randy as bonobo chimpanzee on heat.

In Europe for the first time I became aware of the existence of pornography. My gut reaction against pornography was that it misrepresented and possibly displaced the naturalness of human sexuality whether it be homosexual or heterosexual. For me personally homosexuality was not unnatural.


As a lesbian I have often swam against the current. I am conscious of the fact that writing about my own life experiences in the so-called spectral realm of lesbian love and romance has been unavoidable. I say spectral realm because historically speaking lesbians have mostly lived hidden lives as ghosts who are plainly invisible in the midst of life. We are like the Naiads of Greek mythology, nymphs or female spirits, inhabiting niches associated with water such as springs, streams, fountains or ponds, and water is a feminine symbol.


Kate as a feminist was vehemently critical of pornography. I agreed with her that pornography represented a degradation of women. But later in life as a Marxist I came to view pornography as the commodification of sex through the economic exploitation of the female body, this form of sexual exploitation necessarily entails the degradation of women under the rule of the patriarchy.


Kate was a fashion-conscious feminist. She was critical of the stereotypical view that lesbians dressed like slobs and did not worry about their bodies or appearance. Kate was conscious of her appearance. Like her I was also appearance conscious. If I looked good, I felt good. I enjoyed feeling sexy, and to feel sexy you had to look sexy. I have always been interested in the erotics of the visual pleasure associated with the lesbian gaze. There is a definite non-heterosexual or homosexual specificity to what excites the erotic visual pleasure of the lesbian gaze especially when it comes to female fashion magazines. Lesbians do in fact enjoy same-sex visual pleasure when looking at heterosexual fashion magazines such as Elle or Vogue. Lesbian fashion has not really undergone any creative developments mainly because the female garment market sees the lesbian consumer of clothing a bad and risky financial bet. Hence the neglect of lesbian fashion consciousness and the intrusion of heterosexual femininity into the lesbian same-sex gaze. The feminist political agenda has not helped lesbians in their natural quest and desire to express same-sex queer eroticism and sexuality through clothing, dress and fashion. Lesbian feminist activists have made heavy political and social investments into anti-fashion politics. Even as a budding Communist I could not support feminist anti-fashion politics.


Lesbians as a community have much to learn from gay men who have led by example in their creative expressions of ‘sartorial savvy’ when it comes to the gay discourse on taste and the visual pleasure of the same-sex erotic gaze. Clothing, fashion and dress function as essential visual and erotic codes with regard to queer identity and recognisability.


It is impossible and also unnatural for a lesbian not to look narcissistically at a beautiful woman without experiencing the erotic desire to look like her and to possess her sexually. And this happens when a lesbian looks at a women’s fashion magazine. There is a profound paradox and irony to the lesbian experience of visual pleasure when looking at female fashion models in women magazines. Very often all the erotic codes, symbols and imagery which animate any women’s fashion magazine become visually apparent within a textual context that is characterized by the conspicuous visual absence of any form of male iconic or pictorial presence. Yet from a Darwinian perspective the fashionably clothed female body exists only as a sexualized and erotic ornamentation for the visual pleasure of the male gaze. While the female body is a familiar topography and terrain of erotic pleasure for the lesbian this is not the case for men since they are incapable of experiencing or knowing what it feels like sexually to be a woman. To men a woman’s body and mind are terra incognita.

Lesbian homoeroticism or same-sex eroticism also inadvertently animates the pages of women fashion magazines. The lesbian gaze excites the twofold goal of erotic desire, and that is the desire to be like the smiling glossy image of beauty and the desire to possess the living being behind the glossy picture. In this sense the males heterosexual gaze is forever frustrated, trapped in a state of alienation and estrangement, because to truly possess the object of desire one has to become like that mysterious object of erotic desire in every respect, truth supervenes on being, and the male heterosexual objectification of the female body ends up frustrating the experience of erotic fullness or completeness and consequently male Eros exists in a state of perpetual deficit. ‘Being’ in this sense is possessing, and possessing is becoming, becoming supervenes on being, which constitutes the homoerotic experience of knowing what it must feel like to be a woman, a woman that is in that state of erotic excitement and erotic ecstasy. In this sense queer sex attains completion or ‘Totality’ in a way that heterosexual sexual experience can never attain.

For me lesbian homoeroticism rocks! And sex can never get better than sex between two women.


Freed in minds and bodies forever from the phallocentric construction of our civilization so flagrantly described in the sexual antics of Val the hero in Henry Miller’s ‘Sextus’ we travelled in a state of unabated arousal from Barcelona through the night by train via Nice to the French Rivera. Submitting to the pleasures of our bodies on the white sheets of those warm moon lit Mediterranean nights in Spain the bed sheets became damp and clinging with the intensity of our erotic passions for each other. In the bright sunlight of a hot summer’s morning we arrived in Nice still basking in the radiation of our voluptuous emotions, we were in love. From Nice we hired a car and travelled to Cap d’Agde’s world-famous naturist resort for a two days of nude sun tanning. After Paradise Island on the Bazaruto Archipelago I was comfortable with being naked in the presence of others. We experienced at first hand the well-known phenomenon of the banality of nakedness which in all its fleshly excessiveness and abundance satiates the voyeuristic gaze, quenching it of its libidinous excitement, even when hidden behind the uncensored view of sunglasses. However Kate broke the numbing spell of banality and stirred a constant ripple of lustful interest as heads turned in the vortex of her sensuous turbulence, heads possessed by both male and female turned and gazed in the wake of her procession across their visual field. There was no doubting that Kate had a magnificent body, something which seemed to be foreign on European shores. Naked she was breathlessly spectacular and she was aware of this. Topless we explored the beaches of the Rivera, lingering in Saint Tropez for a day and a night before departing by train to Italy. From Turin to Milan and via Verona and Padua we traced the rail route across Italy to Venice. From Venice via Bologna we travelled by car to Florence.


In Florence we visited the Loggia dei Lanzi on Pizza della Signoria where we spent some time in the arena of rape and decapitation. A monument of sculptured forms celebrating the capture and violent subjugation in marble and bronze of the erotically voluptuous feminized bodies under the eternal order of patriarchical power. Pio Fedi’s Rape of Polyxana. Giovanni Bologna’s Rape of a Sabine. Benvenuto Cellini's Perseus and Medusa, with its slain headless feminized body laying sensual and erotically supine with legs and arms bound to the pedestal under the feet of a triumphant Perseus. The message is that rape makes women the weaker sex, rape subdues the feminine body under the reign of the patriarchy.

And in stark contrast to the patriarchical infliction of pain, rape and death on the feminine body we have the discordant intrusion of a misplaced anomaly in the sculptured form of Donatello's Judith and Holofernes which destabilizes, and threatens to cancel and erase and make impotent the subjugating reign of the masculine over the pacified and supine feminine body. Does this confrontation of opposites symbolize the politicization of sexual identity, the feminine versus the masculine? Kate had bought Henry Miller’s ‘Sexus’ at the station in Barcelona. She could not put down Henry Miller’s ghastly and horrid book as she called it. On the drive to Florence after flipping through the book which seemed to be borderline pornographic I asked her if she ever had sex with a man. I was surprised when she said that she had had sex with men on several occasions, the first time was when she was eighteen. ‘How was it?’ I asked. ‘Bloody awful, I won’t recommend it,’ she answered. ‘Did you ever want to have children?’ I asked. ‘Yes there were times that I did think seriously about having a child, a girl or a boy, I think I would have made fabulous mother. I suppose the ideal situation would be have a child while in a permanent lesbian relationship,’ she said.


I had finished ‘Nausea’ and ‘The Thief’s Journal’. I liked Jean Genet. I liked the fact that he was both male and female. But I had a problem with Genet’s view of the feminine as being passive and submissive. With Kate this may have been true in the beginning with me. I was the passive and submissive partner. She would initiate sex with me. She was more experienced, more confident and she knew how to bring me quickly to a climax, she could do things to me that were exquisitely pleasurable. But my confidence as her lover was also growing, I also learnt what she liked, I was learning about her body too, I was learning fast on how to please her. In fact I was a very fast learner when it came to sex. In lesbian sex there is no intromitting sexual organ which can function as the instrument of power and domination as in heterosexual coitus or male homosexual simulation of coitus. In heterosexual coitus the politics of sexual consent reinforces the asymmetry of the male versus female distribution of actual power. Asymmetrical sexual consent is the foundation of patriarchical socialization, and Val in Henry Miller’s ‘Sexus’ is an exemplary model of this socialization phenomenon based on engineered or contrived female sexual consent. In this sense Henry Miller’s literary oeuvre is paradoxically politically conservative rather than progressive or radical.


We listened to a loud-speaking-American recommend to another equally vocal American tourist that they should go view Artemisia Gentileschi's Judith slaying of Holofernes. Later in Naples we did go to the Museo di Capodimonte and viewed the painting of Judith decapitating Holofernes. On Paradise Island in the Bazaruto Archipelago I eventually became with a bit of practice quite skilful at abusing my expensive diving knife by throwing it into the trunk of a coconut palm tree. It was quite a big double bladed knife, with a very sharp blade on one side and also a serrated edge on the other, and I wore it while diving and I am sure I could easily decapitate a man with it. I had witnessed the slaughtering and butchering of goats and sheep, so I knew that a man’s throat could be easily slit in a flash with my diving knife, despatching a man in this fashion would be much easier than slaughtering a goat, severing a man’s carotid artery with a well delivered vicious slash of my diving knife would drain away his life in seconds.

After a celebratory banquet Holofernes the commander of a great Assyrian army waits in anticipation for the imminent arrival of Judith, he waits alone, secluded in the privacy of his tent, he has stripped off his armour, his sword, helmet and shield now lie in a heap on the ground next to his bed on which he now lays prostate in comfortable repose. In response to his expectation that she was going to have sex with him, and in a parody of heterosexual femininity, she first performs the ceremonial bathing of her body in a nearby stream. While waiting for her his eyes have now grown heavy from the wine and he falls into a deep dreamless asleep, his drunken body sprawled out on his bed. In the rendition of the Midrash aggada for the festive celebration of Hanukkah the story line for the dramatic fiction of Judith avenging Dinah’s rape is inescapably ‘queer’. The decapitation of Holofernes by a woman is a symbolic act of castration. The general of the Assyrian army is reduced to a eunuch, a feminized man. Artemisia Gentileschi’s Judith is depicted as strong and powerful and she is as determined as a lioness in the act of pulling down a struggling bull, and for the occasion of the decapitation she is beautifully and splendidly dressed up in drag, she and her slave are lesbians, that much is clear to the discerning and knowing eye. With the strength of their arms and bodies they quickly subdued the panic stricken general in his bed, holding him down with their bare arms, Judith first slits his throat with his own sword and then severs the head from the body. Judith and her slave woman carry away the severed head of Holofernes covered on a platter. With a donkey loaded with the war booty that they have looted from Holofernes’ tent she and the slave set off for Jerusalem. At the gates of Jerusalem she presents the head of Holofernes. With the help of her slave, she has otherwise single-handily liberated the men of Israel and now she too sets her female slave free before taking her to bed and making love to her. Mythos and Logos bended together in unveiling the truth.


As I have said, my grandfathers never made it out of Africa, they got no further than Egypt in the North Africa desert campaign against Rommel during the Second World War. They did not manage to cross the Mediterranean and reach Italy. I am the first Zeeman to leave the shores of Africa since the first Zeeman settled in Africa, who was one of the first Dutchman to set up home in the Cape of Good Hope. Now I find myself in Italy, and I am only sure of one thing and that is that I am queer. Apart from God I am not sure about anything else. I am not sure of my race, and neither is Kate sure about what I am. She laughs at the darkening of my pigmentation under the dazzling Mediterranean’s summer sun and jokes that I could be a North African or maybe a Phoenician woman. A Phoenician woman! She found her own joke very funny and laughed until the tears ran down her cheeks. Objectively speaking I am an Afrikaner if I really have to define my ethnicity. But I speak mainly English. And now in Italy I feel half-Catholic. And I have become a Phoenician woman to boot.

So now I am living my own myth, recreating myself as that mythic being and living out my fantasy with Kate.

I am now a dark gentile Hellenic lesbian woman at home in the homoerotic atmosphere of the Mediterranean seaboard. Across the ocean lies the great continent of Africa, my actual home and the place of my birth. Africa has always been part of the Mediterranean cultural and social milieu. The blood of Africans has mingled over thousands of years with the people that lived on the shores of this ocean. And like my ancient Hellenic lesbian sisters who were the very first Christian converts of Saint Paul I am joined by faith and confession to what has been characterised culturally and socially as the Orient and the Semitic. Culturally I am a fusion of the African, the Hellenic and the Hebraic. I am from the Old World. Ironically Saint Paul was the first real liberator of gentile women in the villages and cities along the coast of the Mediterranean.

I identify with the great sisterhood of Hellenic and Hebraic women. The paradigm of heterosexual marriage was not the essential defining attribute or the inexorable destiny of the female mythological and historical figures who populated the crowded and dazzling galaxy of heroines and goddesses who carried the torch of hope for all womankind. Mythos and Logos becomes welded together into the great narrative of women breaking the chains of chattel slavery and bondage under the patriarchical regime of men. Again I am comfortable in my nakedness under the Mediterranean sun, minimally dressed up in the sartorial symbols constitutive of being in drag, in a conscious parody of masculinity and femininity, wearing only sheer stockings and shining stilettos, my double edged sword sheathed in its scabbard fixed to my leather suspender, strapped over my shoulder I carry a quiver of arrows, and in my right hand I carry a bow, my lips painted bright red with lipstick. I am all things Greek. I am Penelope weaving, I am the maid servant from Thrace, I am Demeter the great mother, I am Diotima of Mantinea the woman who is wise in matters of the erotic, including love and sex, I am Hestia the maker and sustainer of the home. I am at home in my Hellenic sisterhood.

I am now reading Kate’s Henry Miller book. It is a bulky volume of a book.

I am not like Val in Henry Miller’s Sextus who can only speak of his prick. Instead I am the alpha female Hyena with powerful jaws capable of great violence, and a giant clitoris that is constantly erect, on the brink of an orgasmic eruption. All males quiver in submission, trembling they cower before me, I mount each one of them with impunity to show off my dominance as the female, the great matriarch. They cower castrated before me as my clitoris hangs heavy between my legs.

Under the Mediterranean sun I have become black and lovely. Now I am a Hebraic woman. The patriarchy lays decapitated in passive supine repose, now laying headless at my sandaled feet.

Judith cut off Holophernes’ head whereas, contrary to the Book of Esther, the story of Esther in the writings of the Zohar paints a different picture. It would seem that in the story between the lines of the Bible and the Zohar, Esther had laid with Ahasuerus, using sex to acquire benefits for herself. In contrast to Esther, Queen Vashti refusing to debase herself before Ahasuerus even though he was her husband, emerges in the Book of Esther as the real heroine. According to the Mĕgillāh which is read during Purim, Esther was one of the four most beautiful women, and the four women of surpassing beauty were Sarah, Rahab, Abigail and Esther. On her way to Ahasuerus’ bed Esther recited Psalm 22 in which she referred to herself as the ‘hind of the morning’, meaning that her vagina was tight and narrow, and would remain tight and narrow for the pleasure of Ahasuerus every time he mounted and penetrated her with his sword. On each occasion that Ahasuerus had sex with Esther it was like fucking a virgin for the first time. If a certain mitzvot should never be transgressed then why did Esther enjoy sex with a non-believing heathen rather than choosing martyrdom? The ‘Tractate Sanhedrin’ recommends that the betrothed girl should rather be slain than ravaged by a heathen. Well such are the paradoxes that emerge in the creative weaving of Mythos and Logos that goes into the creation of literary fiction. And is this not what literature should wrestle with in its narration of things, in its struggle to say something of ultimate significance about something. Can any serious literary endeavour escape from addressing things of ultimate concern, can it escape the reach of Mythos and Logos and still be able to say something about something? To say something significant about something involves a transubstantiation because all meaning represents the incarnation of the Word of God, the Logos. This is my body, this is my blood, eat and drink ye all of it.

In terms of the Hebraic I am Judith, I am Deborah, I am Tamara dressed as a harlot on the dark side of road. I am Ruth bathed and perfumed and in my wedding dress I lay at the feet of Boaz, waiting to seduce him. I am bathed in the sun of the Mediterranean. My skin is dark, I have been touched with a tar brush stroke of miscegenation. Kate knowing eyes tease me with every glance at the secret hidden in my glistening body.

I am also a Hellenic maiden. I am Sappho from the island of Lesbo gazing at my sisters as they bath in cool streams. And in the case of the Greek goddess Hestia, the word sustainer used to describe what she does is a deeply theological term. God is the ultimate sustainer of all things. And in Italy the sound of church bells reminds the faithful of Mass.


Sitting naked on the hotel bed in Rome I am beautifully tanned, dark as a berry, and my hair which shimmers in the Mediterranean sun is now glossy, long and shines raven black after Kate has brushed it. Kate is in a state of saintly rapture. As a devout Catholic she joyfully confesses that to really find God one has to come to Rome. Saint Paul came to Rome, Saint Peter came to Rome. We are in the City of Saints. She reminds me that we are in the Eternal City, we breathe with every breath the Vatican’s heavy presence. Kate speaking passionately in a tone filled with missionary zeal, confiding urgently that every true believer eventually takes the road to Rome even if it is only metaphorically. Finished with my hair she tells me to stand up. Kate has become my mother, my sister, my best girlfriend, my lover. Obediently like her slave, I stand up and she applies creams and lotions to my naked body. Rubbing in the creamy lotions, her hands caressing every crevice, every curve, and every hollow of my body, she brings me to a state of pleasant arousal. She mutters like a mother that I have been exposed to too much sun, and I tell her that I have never been sunburnt in my all life. She whispers that she has never felt such a beautiful smooth silky skin in all her life. I burst out laughing. Now standing behind me she puts her arms around me and she pulls me tightly against her body, I feel her hands caressing and fondling my breasts while rubbing in the lotion. She feels my arousal in my erect nipples. She rubs my swollen and engorged vulva and my clitoris which is now fully erect has popped out of its hood and waits in eager readiness for her mouth, for her tongue. She kisses the back of my neck and nibbles my ear lobes. Her hand slips down again to my vulva which has now become moist. She forces me down onto the bed, while lying on my back she is all over me with her mouth and she makes love to me while the warm morning sun shines down on us through the open window, and the bustling sounds of the Eternal City filter into our small modest hotel room, and the Cathedral bells ring for morning Mass.

Inside the cathedral it is always cool. I have lost count of all the cathedrals that we have visited in Spain, the south of France and now in Italy. I have lost count of the number of candles that we lit at the feet of the Virgin Mary. I now also whisper before the Blessed Virgin who has also become my Mother: ‘Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of death. Amen’.

What pathos: ‘pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of death’. At the hour of our death Mother Mary will meet us and point to us Jesus, to our Lord, the God who died on a Roman Cross on Golgotha and rose on the third day and left Jerusalem on foot to meet up with the disciples on a beach in Galilee.

I think I am going to become a Catholic. As an Anglican I am halfway there.


Dear reader you have been my faithful companion on a long and tortuous journey. Male or female I view you dearest reader as my romantic partner. We have got this far together. On a quiet day when the wind blows in a particular direction I can hear the flow of traffic in Rome like the coming and going of the tides or like the distant sounds of crashing surf. After making love with Kate I fall asleep thinking about artificial intelligence and machine existence in which sex and desire no longer feature in that timeless state of machine existence. The absence of sex and desire is the essential feature of timelessness or immortality, and that idea goes all the way back to Parmenides’ poetic critique of Hesiod’s Theogony. Beyond time, beyond becoming and beyond sexuality we have immortality. In Rome, the Eternal City, shadowless the day becomes night and the night fades imperceptivity into day disappearing in plain sight. Late at night in the unremitting glare of the tungsten100 watt light bulb hanging from the ceiling in our hotel room, lying naked close together, we read before we sleep. While in Spain and also on the French Riviera with the break of each dawn I woke up hearing the distant sounds of surf rushing up the beach. The echo of the percussion of the rolling swells reminded me that I was still on the shores of the Mediterranean. I have bought a note book and I am keeping my journal, early each morning before our mandatory run I write notes, my mind is fresh, the recollections of yesterday I rework in my mind before jotting them down like Penelope reworks her tapestry each day. What I have woven during the day I unweave at night in my sleep. I hide my journal from Kate in its secret compartment in my suitcase. Having finished reading ‘Sexus’ which I read late into the night, the only English book I could find in Rome was an English translation of Plato’s drama or book called the ‘Phaedo’ with the dialogue scenes set within the walls of a prison cell, where Socrates has been left to languish on the shores of infinity with nothing else to do other than to drink his cup of hemlock. I did not realize that Socrates had a wife, which he had hastily removed from his prison cell because he could not stand the aggravation of her weeping. Oh the poor woman!

Under the spell of Rome I often found myself wondering about existence beyond the body, beyond the material, beyond the physical. Why else believe in the resurrection of the dead. There were times I found myself praying to God and realized that deep down I was a true believer and I could not understand why Father Francis Digby let it all go so easily. In Rome on our last day in Italy Kate made the sign of the cross in the Sistine Chapel. Following the graceful movement of her hand I too signed myself with the sign of the cross and Kate looked at me in askance surprise and I too wondered for what reason I had never signed myself before with the sign of the cross. I was still only half-way to becoming a Catholic.

Kate had beautiful hands, her fingers were elegant, whenever we laid together her fingers found their home in my vagina where they explored the familiar spaces unseen. She crooked her fingers and pressed them towards my pubic bone against the base of my clitoris while her tongue caressed the swollen protruding hemisphere that had emerged shining with the lustre of a large pink pearl from its bed of soft folds, at the same time she began to move her fingers inside me, overwhelmed with intense and uncontrollable excitement my pelvis rose, my vulva with unremitting urgency pressing, pushing and thrusting against her lips, my thighs spread wide apart, my feet and calves writhing on the sheets, my toes curled, my chest heaved, my arms splayed out and my ears filled with the most unbelievable voluptuous moans as I gave myself over like an animal once to more to the depths of a bottomless orgasm. Kate also in a heighted state of excitement brought herself to a climax with her left hand between her thighs she rubbed, stroked and fingered herself while bent down over me. Cuddling in each other’s arms, awash with tenderness and lips pressed together in soft kisses, breathing in her fragrance, with her moist silky skin against mine we fell asleep naked in our embrace.


It was a hot Sunday afternoon when we arrived at the Gare du Nord in Paris from Zurich. Like a child I kept on asking Kate if could we go up the Eiffel Tower after sun set. She agreed but only after having an afternoon nap. At the station I bought a French phrase book, a street map of Paris and a Paris tourist guidebook. I was now equipped to conquer Paris. From the station our taxi dropped us off in the Latin Quarter by the Hotel du Levant Paris in the Rue de la Harpe.

While Kate had her nap I decided to go for a walk. It was with some reluctance that she allowed me to go. It was the first sign of her wanting to cling to me and control me. She was hoping that we would take a nap together like we had often done so far and afterwards feeling fresh and amorous we would make love, shower, get dressed and go out until past midnight. She had got into a routine of how we would spent our days and nights. She tried to plan everything to death on what we were going to do next. So it was a relief to be alone for a while and free to do what I felt like doing, without having to second guess what Kate had in mind. Going down the lift I flipped through pages of the tour guidebook. Getting out of the lift I continued to browse through the guide while walking through the foyer to the glass hotel entrance/exit door. The name of Sartre and a café called Les Deux Magots caught my eye. I had finished reading Nausea and I had become an instant fan of Jean-Paul Sartre. From Rue de la Harpe I walked to the intersection with the Boulevard Saint-Germain and within minutes I was standing on the pavement outside Les Deux Magots. The tourist guide book said that not only Sartre, but also Simone de Beauvoir, Earnest Hemingway, Albert Camus, Pablo Picasso, James Joyce, Bertolt Brecht and James Baldwin among many others had frequented the now famous café as their chosen rendezvous and place of literary labour. In the bright light of a Parisian summer it felt as if I was standing on holy ground.


A day after my last exam and a few days before I left for the overseas trip I went home to Hotazel. At dinner it was just mom, dad and myself at the table. It was then that she raised the issue that the most money had been spent on me. My holiday the year before to the Bazaruto Archipelago had cost a fortune and now my trip to Europe was also costing a fortune. My dad just smiled at me when my mom was not looking. I did write a long letter of thanks to my parents from Spain and I sent it to them by airmail, I also sent Elsabe and Malcolm postcards almost every day. This did help a bit to salve my feelings of guilt.


Now a year later after my Vilanculos trip I am standing outside the Les Deux Magots in the Latin Quarter of Paris, I am nineteen years old and I am in a love relationship with a woman in her thirties her who is also one of my lecturers, lecturing mycology and crytogamic botany. Once again I felt highly educated and very worldly in a wanton fashion especially after reading Nausea, The Thief’s Journal, and Henry Miller’s Sexus, and also because of the fact that I was being fucked by Kate day and night at almost every opportunity. I don’t think that any girl in existence has ever had as many orgasms as I have experienced on a daily basis while being on holiday with Kate. Having perpetual sex had become a way of life it seemed. Henry Miller’s Val has nothing on us and we don’t even have pricks.

Paris was another universe compared to the innocence of turquoise seas, palms tree and the white beaches of Santa Carolina Island. Vilanculos and the Bazaruto Archipelago was a holiday of beautiful innocence and perfect purity. Now light years away from Santa Carolina I was alone, less innocent and less pure, on the streets of Paris for a few hours on a glorious summer’s afternoon while Kate was getting her beauty sleep. Compared to last year when I was still a very young and naïve first year student I have now become a young woman of the world, experienced in the ways of the world and the female body thanks to Kate’s prodigious appetite for sex.

I sit down at one of the tables on the sidewalk and quickly open my French phrase book. I open the book by the section on ordering beverages in a restaurant, and I read as fast as I can through the different ordering options:

Waiter!... Garçon! ( garhsawn!)

I’d like…je voudrias ( zhuh voo-dray)

A white coffee…un café au lait ( uñ ka-fay oh lay)

The waiter arrives at my table, he sees the map of Paris and notices my French phrase book. Obviously I am a tourist, but a very young tanned and sexy tourist with nice legs and a nice sensual body, and a pretty face, long glossy dark hair and bright red lipstick lips. I am one of those very feminine lipstick lesbians, but he does not know that.

I smile the most flirtatious Parisian smile and say as sweetly as possible:

‘Je voudrias un café au lait….’

His face breaks into the most beatific smile. It is the first time in my life that I have ever flirted with a man.


Kate has made me her confidant. After we have made love we lie in each other’s arms. She is vulnerable, she tells me that I am so young and beautiful, and she confesses that she loves me with all her heart and cares for me deeply. She wants to hear that I love her too, and so I tell her that I love her. I do love her. I have ‘feelings’ for her and I care for her. At the same I also wondered whether one day I will be like her clinging desperately to the body of a younger woman as I too began to feel my fading youthfulness slipping away with the creeping onset of the autumn of my own life. Kate spoke a lot about her struggles with her career ambitions. She was a senior lecturer and had submitted in her ad hominem application for promotion to become an associate professor.


I hear the percussion of high heels. I turn and see an attractive woman possibly in her late thirties wearing a summers dress. She sits down by the table across from me. After she has ordered coffee she lights up a cigarette, she draws and exhales, we exchange curious glances, our eyes remain fixed on each other and I smile spontaneously at her, she returns my smile and cocks a questioning eyebrow at me as my smiling gaze remains fixed on her face. We both know that we are queer. She quickly sizes up the situation, seeing the French phrase book and the map of Paris. She asks me in perfect but French accented English.

‘Are you on holiday in Paris?’

‘Yes,’ I answer.

‘Where are you from?’

‘I am from South Africa.’

She is surprised. She asks if I would like to have another coffee. I join her at her table. I feel my knees pressing against her knees, she does not move her knees away. We talk and her hand soon covers my hand. She asks if I like sex and tell her I love having sex. We go to her flat which is in the Latin Quarter close to the Sorbonne, close to our hotel. In her flat I explain that I don’t have much time because my family expects back soon for supper. We make love. She wants to use a dildo on me, I resist explaining that I don’t want a dildo in my vagina or anus. She understands. I feel her fingers slipping into my vagina and also probing into my anus. Afterwards we lie naked on her bed. She lights up a cigarette and we speak. She is a writer and a journalist. I tell her that I am a student and I am studying to be a zoologist. I also tell her about my new found interest in Sartre and Genet. She laughs good-naturedly and then tells me bluntly that Sartre is now passé, he is a senile old man, and that no one thinks much of him anymore. She explains that there is a new generation of philosophers, and she rattles off the names of Althusser, Foucault, Derrida, and Deleuze. She asks if I am a Marxist. Without thinking I say yes and she chuckles. You are such as a sweet girl she tells me. She then says: ‘I suppose you going to tell me that you are also a Communist’. Again I say yes without knowing why, and she laughs, her eyes are dancing with humour.

‘You are a sweet, innocent and pure girl, do not ever change, the world can only become a better place with people like you.’

She then held me tightly in her arms and whispered in my ear saying that she wished we could be lovers forever.

‘You better be going, my partner will soon be coming home from work,’ she says, releasing me and getting up from the bed she slips on a night gown.

It was seven-o-clock when I left her flat. When I got back to the hotel Kate was in a state. She was extremely angry, verging on the brink of hysteria. We had our first serious fight.

‘Where have you been, I was worried sick, I am responsible for you, and why do you smell of cigarettes?’

I shouted back at her: ‘We always just do what you want to do and you never ask me what I would like to do. Everything revolves you and what you want.’

‘You know that that is not true! Tell me now what you would like to do for the rest of our holiday.’

She then burst into tears, sitting down on the edge of bed she began to sob. I sat down next to her and put arm around her shoulders and kissed her on the neck and cheek. I felt bad and said that I loved her.

‘I love you too,’ she answered as she turned and embraced me tightly.

‘I love you so much,’ she repeated, as she pressed her hot tear soaked cheek against mine.

It is still our very first day in Paris and the day shows no promise of ever ending, in spite of all of what has already happened to me. After a quick shower and a fresh change of clothes we step out into the streets of a city that were still bathed in golden sunlight. In the space of two hours I have made love to two women before the sun has even set. Paris the city of lights and the city of love seems to have lived up to its reputation. And neither of the two will ever know of the existence of the other unless we bump into her. I hope not, but I would like to see her again, the French woman. Her name is Monique Brouillet. Was I going to fall in love with Monique before nightfall descended on Paris?

We debate whether to have supper now or later. Kate is careful to let me decide what we should do. We are both famished, I think it would be good idea if we eat first before walking along the Seine to the Eiffel Tower. I open the Paris tourist book. I suggest we go to the Café de Flore. What if Monique happened to turn up at the Café de Flore? Kate meet Monique. Monique meet Kate. Who I am? What kind of person am I? I am a mystery even to myself.


Journal entry.

Dear reader you may feel inclined to judge me harshly regarding my infidelities with Kate. Have I not expressed strong views on the foundations of morality and responsibility as something that concerns the conscience? Have I not hinted that morality or moral action or moral agency is actually caused by the awakening of conscience when gazing upon the face of the Other? I do not wish to excuse myself. I did feel bad at the time given the facts of the situation. In a way I did betray Kate. I can imagine just how shocked she would have been if she knew what I had done behind her back while she was napping.


You may think that I have no conscience, that I have been sluttish and immoral.


But the operative word here is ‘cause’. The expression on the face of the Other causes the awakening of conscience and having gazed upon the face of the Other we feel compelled to act responsibly as moral agents to uphold what is good and true and beautiful. Was it uncontrollable lust or was it curiosity that drove me into Monique’s bed? Was it a lapse of conscience? I don’t think it was mere lust or desire. Ok then, I do admit that I did find Monique desirable, I did feel the awakening of desire, I did entertain the prospect of what it would it feel like to be with her in bed. Maybe she could sense it. Maybe my face was filled with unmistakable lasciviousness. Women don’t feel lust. It is men that lust after women. In a way I was acting out of curiosity and not lust. I did not give in to desire. I just felt like having sex. I was in the mood for a sexual encounter and wanted to be fondled, kissed and caressed and brought to an exquisite climax by a beautiful and interesting woman. I also wanted to feel what it was like for me to make love to this woman who was a perfect stranger in a strange city. I was ready for adventure. And I suppose I was hot. I was a bitch.

But still, as I write these journal entries I cannot help thinking about the operative words that are key to understanding the drama, or in other words the dramatic event which took place one afternoon in Paris, and the two specific words that I happen to be thinking of are ‘cause’ and ‘effect’ and the role they play, a role in explicating the relationship between consciousness and the body or the mind and the body. My act of adventurous infidelity with Monique was a mind-body problem that needed to be solved. Other thoughts begin to intrude, I must also write them done. There is the issue of empathy, empathy can be viewed as a faculty, the faculty which makes the experience of conscience possible. The experience of empathy and conscience are themselves forms of consciousness. And still more thoughts intrude themselves into my mind, new thoughts which I know are somehow all interconnected with the drama of my little Paris adventure.


Also in terms of the mind-body problem I can say for sure from my own experiences that many women enjoy being touched, felt, ‘fingered’, fondled, kissed and caressed by a woman. I love being brought to a climax. A woman’s body is designed for pleasure, it is superbly adapted for the physical experience of pleasure, ecstasy and orgasm, and it is for this purpose that the entire body of a woman, every part of her anatomy has been adapted, adapted to experience erotic pleasure and in this sense a woman’s body is the perfect sex organ, it is erotic in its entirety from head to foot, especially for a woman who happens to be a lipstick lesbian like myself. A woman, and especially a queer woman, is the full and perfect embodiment of a sexual being, of an erotic being, of a being seeking erotic pleasure and ecstasy.


In his Theogony, Hesiod expounded on the myth of Pandora. It was through Pandora that the race of women brought both sex and death into world of men. Pandora the first woman was not born she was crafted from mud by Hephaestus the master craftsman of the gods. The unborn Pandora came alive from clay, from matter as it were, as an artefact, as an artistically created artefact, shaped into a sensual being who was not supposed to become an erotic body for mere sexual reproduction. Before Pandora there was peace and harmony on earth among men. But then Prometheus stole the fire from the gods, an act more audacious than the building of the Tower of Babel, and Hephaestus was instructed to make Pandora the instrument for the punishment of Man. With the coming of Pandora humankind became divided into two races, divided into two different kinds of separate beings, men and women. And sexuality had entered the world through the agency and being of women, it was this which also brought about an asymmetry into the world of conscious beings, resulting in the difference between the self and the Other, creating a rupture between the self and the Other. The asymmetry of sexuality resulted in the dualism of identity and difference which in turn transformed humans into a divided beings, and the estranged ‘self’ as a consequence of this event could only become self-identical with the Other through LESBIANISM. So while Man represents mankind women represent only their own sex and it was through this self-recognition, this self-representation, this self-mirroring in the face of the Other, that women overcome the dualism of self and Other, and the dualism of identity and difference, and the dualism of being and difference. Difference vanished in women with the being of women becoming self-identical to itself through the recognition of self in the mirror of the Other. And so, only women can fully know the body of women, especially when it comes to the pleasure of sex. For men the women’s body as an artistic creation from the formlessness of mud remains forever a terra incognita. As terra incognita it can only be ploughed by men like the conquered and domesticated earth and sown with seed or semen. This is how men punish women for dividing humanity into male and female. Men punish women by penetrating their bodies with their swords, filling their vaginas with ejaculum, just as the husbandman tears the earth open with his plough in order to sow the seed, and the earth like the woman’s body lays supine and spread out in passive repose ready for the husbandman to do his work.

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