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2 July 2001
Dan's prepared to make sacrifices.

Zeugo means "I join together". Zeugma is the thing joined.

That was the hundredth time we have made love. Counting the three times, two early on and one when you came back a day late from that weeklong conference in Leiden, when it was over almost before it started. Definitely not counting that one time when it actually was over before it started, which you were very kind about. And not counting the one time last week when you said that it didn't feel right, and asked me to stop.

You were teary and jittery all that night, and couldn't really explain why. Finally you dropped into a performative slumber, all fits and starts and muttered words in your native language. I was exhausted from the humming nervous tension of sharing a room with your anxiety, but I still stayed up for most of the night, watching you sleep, playing the guardian of your rest.

Zeugma also means a yoke, something, which joins together two animals. Like the lines that cross on your wrists.

Praxis is the act of doing. Pragma is the thing that has been done. The deed.

I don't know quite why, after three months, our languages are still so alien. Without boasting, I always had a gift for foreign tongues, and the sheer number you speak suggests the same. But, if anything, your English gets worse week by week, showing utter contempt for your adopted country, and my Swedish, always non-existent, has hardly lifted itself from the tomb and walked.

Medieval Latin, Ancient Greek, and the little guttural noises you make when you come. Lying, soaked in sweat on a disgusting, overheated June night. Body shrieking with the sudden and overwhelming sensation that the sheets underneath you are made of ground glass and honey. Then having to reach over to the nightstand and scribble down a couple of practice sentences before you can work out how to say how good that was, and ask if you would like a glass of water. It isn't natural.

Water is doable, love is doable. Yoghurt, - not. Every neologistic time we must explain the concept at length to one another, then settle on a word to use for it, usually an unwieldy compound. I don't know why, but just sticking a definite article and a mutable ending on the end of an English noun never seemed to work - you always forgot it, and the next time I tried it would peer up through your heavy blonde fringe, your mouth moving imperceptibly. Trying to remember an address, or a phone number you used to dial every other day two or three years ago. Same thing with me and Swedish. Generally, it makes sense that we avoid any topic involving concepts from later than about 1400. It seems to work peculiarly well.

Amor means love. Error means a mistake. It also means wandering

which is what you do more and more, scissoring your legs out of bed, pulling on yesterday's clothes. Pulling a hand through that unruly bed-hair that, after fifteen minutes asleep, makes light of the hundred brushstrokes you lavish on it every night. If you wake me, you tell me you are going for a run, and usually the next thing I feel is you slipping, night-air cooled and naked, back into the bed however much later. I'm lucky - I sleep heavily and rush back to Morpheus like a guilty lover.

But then, on the occasional night, I wake with your leaving, and cannot sink back beneath the surface. I read. I make tea, and I wait for you to come home. I've been doing this more and more. You take three, four hours to make it, and the moment you arrive you shoo me back to bed. I'm lost as soon as my head rests on your shoulder.

Euphemen means to pray. It also means to keep silent.

I don't think you are having an affair, unless it's a very hurried one. But I do wonder what you are doing on those greying predawns. Something else I have noticed. When you go out in the rain, you come back with perfect, bone-dry hair.

I won't ask. I won't ask yet. Chances are it doesn't translate.

And that's not all. Your eyes are getting darker - blue through green to hazel - and your skin paler. You tell me that between the fog and the rain London gets less sun than your hometown, far to the north. Warmer, but darker. So you're losing your tan. I don't know whether you believe it or not. You're turning the colour of those chicken-white cicatrices that trace a perfectly white, perfectly smooth X across the upturned skin of your inner wrists. You tell me you used to wrap things around them, but you always looked like Morten Harket, or a heavy metal singer. Heavy metal is siderion, something made of meteoric iron. I can't shake the feeling that it isn't the right word, but I know what you mean.

I ask you why the crossing-over shape. You smile with one side of your mouth, tell me to ask the one who made them, never tell me anything more.

But I am not one of those who needs to know everything about your past. Everybody has secrets. Between the thirteenth time and the seventieth, I slept fourteen times with one of my students. Worse, I dealt with the guilt by lowering her marks.

I can see you stirring. Another run. But not yet.

Give me a thousand kisses. Then a hundred.


Previously on upsideclown


Current clown:

18 December 2003. George writes: This List

Most recent ten:

15 December 2003. Jamie writes: Seven Songs
11 December 2003. Dan writes: Spinning Jenny
8 December 2003. Victor writes: Rock Opera
4 December 2003. Matt writes: The Mirrored Spheres of Patagonia
1 December 2003. George writes: Charm
27 November 2003. James writes: On Boxing
24 November 2003. Jamie writes: El Matador del Amor; Or, the Man who Killed Love
20 November 2003. Dan writes: Rights Management
17 November 2003. Victor writes: Walking on Yellow
13 November 2003. Matt writes: Disintermediation
(And alas we lost Neil, who last wrote Cockfosters)

Also by this clown:

11 December 2003. Dan writes: Spinning Jenny
20 November 2003. Dan writes: Rights Management
30 October 2003. Dan writes: My only goal
9 October 2003. Dan writes: The Knot
18 September 2003. Dan writes: The Engelbart Elephant
28 August 2003. Dan writes: The Amity Index
7 August 2003. Dan writes: This Sporting Life
17 July 2003. Dan writes: Touch
26 June 2003. Dan writes: Metadata
5 June 2003. Dan writes: Street Mate
15 May 2003. Dan writes: Usher's Well
24 April 2003. Dan writes: Medicamenta
3 April 2003. Dan writes: Weapons of Mass Construction
13 March 2003. Dan writes: David Sneddon, Bukake Secret Agent
20 February 2003. Dan writes: Mary Sue
30 January 2003. Dan writes: Bait and Switch
9 January 2003. Dan writes: What Never Happened
19 December 2002. Dan writes: Sermon on the Mount the Face
28 November 2002. Dan writes: Ballroom Blitz
7 November 2002. Dan writes: The Photographer
17 October 2002. Dan writes: Diaphragmatic
26 September 2002. Dan writes: A life in the day
5 September 2002. Dan writes: Different Class
15 August 2002. Dan writes: Story and sequel
25 July 2002. Dan writes: Fellatious
4 July 2002. Dan writes: Skin Mag
10 June 2002. Dan writes: The Ibizan book of the Dead
16 May 2002. Dan writes: The Sissons Situation
22 April 2002. Dan writes: UpsideClown and Out in Hollywood
28 March 2002. Dan writes: Nereus' Daughters
4 March 2002. Dan writes: Diomedes
7 February 2002. Dan writes: Text Only
14 January 2002. Dan writes: Civil Engineering
20 December 2001. Dan writes: Nativity
26 November 2001. Dan writes: The Wedding Band
1 November 2001. Dan writes: what dreans mecum?
8 October 2001. Dan writes: Stop me if you've heard this one before
13 September 2001. Dan writes: Mother of the Muses
20 August 2001. Dan writes: I say I say I say
26 July 2001. Dan writes: Bigger, Better, Brother
2 July 2001. Dan writes: Hecatomb
7 June 2001. Dan writes: Dispassionate Leave
14 May 2001. Dan writes: Small Town Boy
19 April 2001. Dan writes: Maintaining the Driving Line
26 March 2001. Dan writes: Cut and Paste
1 March 2001. Dan writes: Redemption
5 February 2001. Dan writes: Blyton the Face of the Earth
8 January 2001. Dan writes: Smoke Signals
18 December 2000. Dan writes: The Loa Depths
23 November 2000. Dan writes: The Limits of Melissa Joan Hart
30 October 2000. Dan writes: Shiftwork
5 October 2000. Dan writes: Dawson
11 September 2000. Dan writes: Testing Times
17 August 2000. Dan writes: Onanova
3 July 2000. Dan writes: Roboto il Diavolo

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