The woman moves to a nearby bookshelf and returns with a large hardcover book, about 11 inches tall and 20 inches wide. “Please, come sit with me--- over here, and we will look through it.” She directs the young man to the love-seat. The small piece of furniture forces the two close together. He feel the softness and warmth of her hip press against him. She opens the book on the table before them and says, “Ms. Tuan was Korean. This book published in Seoul in 2010.” He notices the book is a work of art, both in its embossed red leather binding, and the interior cream-colored pages. Various images of Ms. Tuan, beginning in her twenties and ending somewhere in middle age, are curious combinations of photography and watercolor. He cannot tell exactly how the images were created. Along the side of each page, usually in red calligraphy, are descriptions and explanations in Korean script.
He notices most of the concert images show Ms. Tuan in chamber music settings, with an audience of no more than ten to twenty people. Often the interiors seem to be large rooms within large homes, perhaps house-concerts given for wealthy friends or patrons. Wealthy Asians. He specifically notices the lack of European or American faces like his own. The pages also include examples of music manuscripts, perhaps favorite pieces of Ms. Tuan. Familiar piano-music staves are augmented with thick black lines, above and below the staves. Unusual symbols rest on the lines. He asks about these symbols, and the woman replies, “The text says those symbols indicate which knobs and levers to use, and how far to turn the knobs, left or right.” She adds, “ I have no idea what language those symbols come from, or what if they are simply some obscure musical notation. The book does not say. Ms. Tuan seemed to understand the symbols perfectly, adjusting the knobs and levers often during most pieces of music.”
After closing the book, conversation appears to lull. Both people wishing for the visit to continue, but not knowing what to say. They attempt to continue the conversation about the shared experience at the party or concert, but fail to get beyond a sentence or two. As a voyeuristic listener, I felt embarrassed for them, clearly they were attracted to each other, but at a loss for words. I wish to jump into the scene, or perhaps speak in the commanding voice of God: “Kiss her, you idiot!” Even so, I am glad for my incapacity to intrude on their privacy. I continue to watch and listen.
Rising to leave, the young man presses close to the woman, smelling her delicate fragrance of jasmine, feeling the warmth of her breasts against his arm. He leans close and kisses her cheek, savoring the intensity of moment. Seated again, his hands close for one second around the soft curves of her hips. And he pulls immediately away. The woman startled, rises abruptly moving several feet away, confused, perhaps offended. The man now entirely incapable to judge her mood, his own mind being in torment, a crashing wave of joy, his heart pounding.
Now in the middle of the room, with four or five feet between them, halfway to the front door. The woman's white silk shawl had fallen from her shoulders, revealing naked breasts. Two firm, tan quivering breasts with brown nipples fully erect make coherent conversation impossible for both people.
He had no idea her breasts had been naked under her shawl during the entire visit! He stares helplessly at her erect nipples. Unfortunately, unconsciously he has drifted too close, almost touching her nipples. Unconsciously, her open left hand now brushes a nude breast, and the woman gasps. She repels quickly away, scowling, covering herself with her shawl, glaring at the man, in anger or disgust, as if he had deliberately offended her or assaulted her. Her vagina is wet. She had not planned for her vagina to be wet.
The young man stammers out a few quiet words, “I am so sorry. I... I really didn't mean to... Oh, God. I need to go. Please excuse me. I must leave now.” He rushes to the front door, his hand turning the door handle. The woman rushes to him. Stops abruptly four feet way, trembling. In a whisper she says, “Please, Thomas, stay for dinner. Please.”
Turning to face her, his arms hang limp at his sides, Thomas looks directly into her desperate eyes. Ten seconds pass in complete silence, only the sound of their panting breaths and pounding hearts. Then, without any warning, the woman bursts into laughter. She can no longer contain her nervous, joyful laughter. The crisis has passed. Thomas also laughs. The crisis has passed for him as well. They have no idea how they got here. Or what to do next. Or what the future holds for them. The only know the present moment and it present joy. They are both grown-ups. The woman's wet vagina no longer frightens her. The man now knows he has not offended the woman, and he is free to enjoy the closeness of her dark erect nipples.
She had never intended to see Thomas after their brief conversation, after the string quartet concert. She had never thought to invite him to dinner. Now, the idea simply burst into her mind and out her mouth before she could contain it. She could not contain her laughing, her joyful exultation, emotions she believed were long dead inside her, passions she had not felt for over twenty years. There he stood, in her house, in her living room, laughing with her, a cultured young composer, and all her joy bursting forth in those few words, “Please, Thomas, stay for dinner.”