Essay 9: The Language of Love

Find the complete essay here

"They met at a pre-war garden party, or on the deck of an ocean liner. It was just the two of them and the spray of the sea air. Inside, a whole party where everyone is drinking and waltzing across the waxed ballroom floor. The floor under the dancers’ feet rocks with the movement of the waves in a way that is like to make you vomit, but the dancers do not mind. They are too busy talking, talking, talking. About? Nothing, of course. We are reminded of the tiresome first girlfriend. The older woman is married to a callous bon vivant who doesn’t love her, and the young man knows all this without having to ask. The best thing about the older woman, in fact, is that she doesn’t want him to ask. She puts her elegant hand over his mouth, in fact, and says, “Don’t speak, please.”

The young man is always going to the house of the older woman and she is Wordlessly opening the door for him. She is just standing there in a silk dressing gown with an unreadable expression on her face. They don’t talk and the man can’t even read her face, but they have an understanding which surpasses speech. This extends to a tacit agreement that talking is for the weak. They are making ferocious love in every part of the house. The older woman is wearing suspenders and you will not believe the calm compassion with which she guides him inside of her. Still no talking, ever. He is in love with her bony articulated shins, the shining diamonds of her kneecaps."