Here is this week's chapter of my serialized comic novel "Four Bidding For Love."(Those who find absurdist humor and adult situations offensive, please read no further.)
At this critical juncture of entwined sympathies and the intimacy of repressed emotions entrusted to another, three things happened in the house on Green Street, only one of which Ross and Alexia detected.
They both heard the upstairs neighbors clump up the staircase to the third-floor flat, and their arrival caused Alexia to clear her throat and blush slightly as she felt obligated to warn Ross that he might well be awakened by the late-night amours of the couple above, who in their desperation to have a baby seemed to have hit on midnight as the best time to conceive—but only if they made a hellacious commotion during the mating.
Ross looked down at his empty plate circumspectly at this warning, and sighed that he had not shared a bed with a woman since his divorce four years earlier, and his envy for the lucky man was both unadmirable and unavoidable.
Alexia's pulse quickened at this confession, for not only was this affable man available, his romantic disappointments paralleled her own.
The second occurrence—the arrival of Robin and Kylie downstairs—passed undetected, which was the intent of the stealthy young lovers. Having enjoyed a delightful Italian dinner with Robin rather than visit Ross as she'd promised, Kylie whispered instructions to Robin to open the door as soundlessly as possible. He was happy to comply, for he hadn't even asked her to join him in his studio; she'd accompanied him without comment.
Closing the door behind them, the pair slipped off their shoes and then Robin kissed her before she could take a single breath.
"I know we agreed that if you ever came to my door, something would happen," he whispered delicately. "But that was foolish, and I just want to say how wonderful today has been with you."
In the dark, there was just enough light from the streetlamps filtering through the batik curtain to make Kylie's large soft eyes glisten. "A deal's a deal," she whispered. " I came to your door, and now the agreed upon something has to happen."
The private joke further bound the quivering young pair, and she embraced him so her lips nearly touched his ear. "Are you sure you don't need to protect me when that something happens?"
"The test result is over there," he replied. "Would you like to read it first?"
"If you don't need it, then you don't need it," she whispered, and then they rejoined their kiss. Her white dress rustled softly as it slipped to the floor, and Robin had the wildly romantic vision that this was like their wedding night; setting aside their first peculiar lovemaking, this was like their first full night together.
Unbeknownst to Robin or his lovestruck young paramour, or to the other two couples engaged in intimate conversations above them, a third event had occurred in the house on Green Street. Many prayers had been issued in the house recently; indeed, many prayers had been sent, spoken and unspoken, for many months from that address: for conception, for love, and for a healthy squalling baby.
The pixies of romantic procreation are a skeptical lot; they are not roused too easily, but once roused, they commit to the task at hand with unequalled fortitude.
After hearing the prayers emanate from this old house for so long, the pixies concluded the humans issuing the prayers were indeed sincere; and so that evening, as the sun set and the spirit world awakened, they flew in great numbers to the big house on Green Street.
Now in our feeble human imagination, all creatures of the spirit world are knowing and careful; but the spirit world is not omniscient, and many of its various inhabitants have the same flaws which humans once attributed to their old discarded gods of Olympus. The pixies are easily confused over exactly which humans issued exactly which prayer; and once committed, they are more concerned with being liberal with their magic than with its sparing application.
And so they descended on the house in force, and in short order sprinkled each of the three couples with a heavy coating of their magical dust. It was, after all, great fun to see the humans take to each other so hungrily, and to know that each was having their hearts' greatest desire fulfilled that very night. All life must be constantly renewed, and the pixies knew they were part of the Larger Scheme of Things; and since none of these human females had any offspring, it was clearly the right and proper course to answer their prayers.
Two had prayed only for love, while the third had prayed ceaselessly for conception; but the pixies had only the one magical dust, for romantic conception, and this they applied most liberally to the entire household.
The magic hit Kylie and Robin the moment the pair stepped into his studio; Ross and Alexia were doused just as Ross confessed his availability and romantic loneliness; and Janson and Dorrie were struck just as Dorrie announced that they should wait until tomorrow, as her temperature wasn't quite right. Janson announced he was tired of the scheduling which had failed so spectacularly to date, and that romance was reason enough; and as he followed through on his pronouncement Dorrie for once failed to insist that they stick-to-the-schedule.
The pixies only failure was on the second floor; for when Alexia realized she was attracted to a man she barely knew who was far from her idealized inner portrait of a life companion, she suddenly announced that she'd looked forward to a shower the entire drive home. After giving voice to her gratitude for the fine meal and wine, she left for her bathroom, leaving Ross to clean up the kitchen and wonder what, if anything, he might have said to trigger her abrupt departure from what had been a very pleasant and increasingly warm conversation.
Though Alexia was successful in rinsing the day's film of failure from her glowing skin, the pixies' magic could not be washed off. And in their annoyance with her recalcitrance, the small bathroom fairly buzzed with pixies; the moment she finished toweling herself dry, the spirit world's harbingers of romantic procreation filled the air with a glittering cloud of gold which fell on Alexia like heavy-flaked snow.
Of course Alexia was unable to see the pixies douse her again and again in a golden whirlwind; she only felt the stirrings of imagination and the relinquishing of her usual judgments. Perhaps she'd dismissed this attentive man too quickly; even if he wasn't life companion material, hadn't it been rather more than nice to have a man at her table who’d not only listened to her, but fed her extraordinarily well?
To read the previous chapters, visit the "Four Bidding For Love" home page.