The intestine is three kilometers long, coiled in your stomach is three kilometers of tubing (I exaggerate. Maybe. Maybe not. I don’t know, look it up). Food has to worm its way out past a dozen “car wash” stations where it is sprayed and “secreted” upon. And it must undergo various metamorphoses – metamorfeces – before it can be expelled. So, it is no wonder that somewhere along the way things can go horribly wrong. Usually, I’m what you call a “Bangladesh-type” (flash-floods and landslides), but since Belgrade –
but this is not what I want to talk to you about. Yesterday was 27 degrees. It has been upwards of 25 for the past week. In Holland this means something. Women – previously unseen, undetected women – have been coming out by the thousands. Dressed down, legs bare, open back, tanned shoulders, cleavage and toes. It’s a banquet! I start in the train in the morning with the same book, the same page, the same paragraph – When the world was a forest of pines... – and then SHE sits across from me, crosses her legs, squishes her flip-flop between her toes and avoids my eye studiously. Quickly an I-pod, book or magazine emerges and she is no longer “available for questions”. It doesn’t matter, though, it doesn’t matter who’s sitting across from me and whether she’s nice to me or not, because they all have something. Even when they don’t, they have something. They have fine fingers, funny fiddly fingers, pearlish nails, freckles on their hands and arms, baby fat around their shoulders, a collarbone like a sandy ridge, or a long beautiful neck strung with beads, or they talk funny, in little fruity tidbits, or they run their hands through their hair like they’re on boat off Capri, or they just breathe nicely, softly, regularly, the same air I breathe, or, or, or (Holy mother of God!) it is simply their smell – not cosmetic, but human – that is completely inebriating! Serbian, Italian, Dutch, German alike, it is an endless lexicon of detail, as long as this damn book I will never finish – when the world was a forest of pines...One day they will recognize me. Not as the Apollo they all seek, but as their greatest, their most devoted fan... all of them, these women of the world!