Thirty four minutes


A drugged fuelled orgy in the suburbs of olde Londinium, coke and thighs, whiskey neat and neon poles and some other guy’s wife; it ended with a punch in the face followed swiftly by oblivion.

I awoke eventually, as we all do, stretched out, legs akimbo with nothing but my modesty concealed. Some kind stranger had taken pity on my naked member and draped my loin with a rather small pamphlet advising me on the merits of Hare Krishna.

There were, I must admit, a few moments of confusion. Nevertheless I realised soon that I’d been delivered by fortune, good or bad, I wasn’t sure, onto a beach in the onetime Portuguese settlement of Goa, India. I said to myself, ‘not again.’

It was early morning; daylight kept its promise to return, the translucent half moon made a slow but noble retreat in its wake. Luckily few souls were in sight; a handful of fishermen, who’d seen it all before, busied themselves with nets and ropes. Along the shoreline a troop of saffron robed, bearded hippy types glided with ease above the surface of the sand; silently and with reverence they paid me no heed, I was not on their plane, nowhere near it. Transcendence was not something I wished to master; in that moment I’d have exchanged the power to overcome the limitations of my physical existence for a set of dustbin lids; or a pair of trousers.

As far as I could make out through the grog and the smog of my rattled brain, the residues of excessive cocaine and alcohol consumption, I had but two choices. One was to seek help by attracting the attention of one or all of the fishermen. The second was to paint myself red and yellow, tie a brick to my penis and make out to be a Sadhu in mid rapture. I chose the first option; retrospectively I wonder how different my life would have turned out if I gone for option two!

As it happened there was a third option thrust upon me. How intricate a tapestry does fate weave? While considering my choices; glancing around for a brick and wondering what cocktail Lord Krishna drank last night to make himself blue; a young woman dropped a pancha in my lap.

Dressed in a silver blue sari, her long dark hair oiled and glistening in the early morning sun, she was, undoubtedly, a picture of beauty. The woman, without stopping or breaking her elegant stride, giggled and gave me a boisterous wink…a boisterous wink? And walked on by.

I struggled quickly into my loin cloth, all the while watching this vision of beauty, my saviour walk barefoot through the sand towards a hut further along the beach. She helped me once, would she be kind enough to help me again? I needed to find a phone, a place to sleep and something to eat. I ran like an oversized orang-utan in a sack race, desperately trying to keep my loin cloth from unravelling. Despite my various impediments I was pleased to be making ground when, from nowhere, I felt the heat of a beast upon me.

A bullock, obviously disturbed by my intrusion, and fully aware of his rights and sacred status, decided to charge at this thin white orang-utan in a nappy. At the same time as the bull mistook me for a matador I managed to finally secure my pancha, giving me the chance to sprint unhindered through the cool, soft sand. The bullock, head lowered, nostrils flaring and red eyed came bearing down upon my starboard side…he missed me by a cow’s lick, skidded, reset his sights and…. I was over the barrier and into the hut. I looked back, breathless, panting, toxins weeping from every pore and smiled a crooked smile. The bull strutted in triumph; he’d shown off the intruder, won the battle and looked around for praise or prize.

As did I.

Between watching the bull being all macho, and trying to catch my breath someone placed a warm hand on my arm.

My body swam in her caress; my soul felt purged, cleansed of chaos and my fears forever banished. I could live with her touch forever; pure, feminine and compassionate. Something sexual, I can’t deny it, stirred in me too.

I was no stranger to falling in love, it happened to me all the time, I’m a love junkie, and it takes, according to my research, thirty four minutes to fall in love, as long as all the ingredients are in place.

First you need the pheromones, an ancient and wizened chemical secretion, which has evolved in humans to tell shit from Shinola. Check. Next, hot on Pheromone’s heels; we have the norepinephrine and dopamine twins, two sweaty, dizzy, crazy happy, fools. Check. Aunty Oxytocin, a cuddly hormone had to be in the vicinity, or does she appear later? I’m not sure. Anyhow for the sake of the narrative I was primed and ready to go.

Thirty four minutes seemed like a ridiculously long time now, but I’m a stickler for protocol. Once the chemicals have kicked in you must first talk openly and honestly for thirty minutes. Reveal your deepest feelings, your desires and regrets then stare into each other’s eyes for the remaining four minutes. That’s my recipe for falling in love, take it or leave it.

She beckoned, with a slender hand, for me to follow her into the deepest part of the hut and I followed. There I saw a wrinkled old couple sitting together on a straw mat, yes, I thought, that could be us one day.

My saviour led me gently toward the wrinkly couple and sat down, she suggested, again without words, for me to follow suit. The old couple prepared and cooked samosa in a small pot of oil over a meagre flame, the flame performed remarkably well. For a while my hunger got the better of me and I ate like a bullfighter, enjoying every mouthful, every crumb.

That touch again.

I looked at her long dark hair, her deep brown eyes, her olive skin, neither native nor settler but an attractive melange. Her figure slim, her breasts pert beneath the silver sari, her neck slender and her Adam’s apple……..insert the sound of a needle sliding off a vinyl record here… what was up with the apple?

‘What’s your name?’ I asked tentatively, expecting to hear her say Derek or Dave for some reason. She ran her painted nails along her throat, glanced at the earth packed floor, sighed a heavy sigh and said in a deep voice ‘Loretta.’

To my shame I ran, but could not escape.

A few days later, my liver all but restored to its juvenile state, my wallet, bought with cash successfully transferred from my Swiss bank account, bulging, I decided to take a walk on the wild side.

‘A alma abandonada’ sat with a decadent sprawl, tumbling haphazardly (I wouldn’t want to suggest drunkenly) onto the beach. The bar glimmered in the light of the moon, tea candles and spliffs. Rave music, pumped from speakers the size of cars, spoke to the primitive self, the inner primate. The scent of latrines faded with the heat of the day and gave way to cinnamon, sea salt, lemon juice, body oil, marijuana and lust.

I ordered a beer and decided to stay a while. I looked around me, plenty of vacant students void of complexity, a few honeymooners clinging to their ‘cool’ clung to fruity cocktails they weren’t sure whether to drink or eat. A misplaced train spotter, complete with notepad and anorak wandered aimlessly through a mysterious labyrinth of unknown yearning; and some hookers were draping fat middle aged German laps.

My eye tends to rove, flitters and flutters, settles a while and roves once more, my eye has a mind of its own. My eye ignored the young, the young rarely have much to say, and the newlyweds bored me, too inclusive, too impenetrable, so my eye, despite its reluctance, was left with the spectacle of hooker/client interplay. I ordered another beer, scored some weed, made a brief but heartfelt apology to my liver and settled down for the show.

Oh but then…. I hadn’t noticed her to begin with, she was dressed like a cheap hooker, she was a cheap hooker! No Sari now, Loretta had gone western with her leather mini skirt and fishnet stockings, her cropped white shirt and red stilettos. But there she was sitting on a fat middle-aged German lap, sipping his whiskey and running her fingers through his thinning hair.

Was it Jealousy I felt?

I had to be honest with myself.

Honesty sits in the locust position, perfectly at ease in a crowded room sandwiched somewhere between conceit and self-esteem. Honesty doesn’t shout, it doesn’t demand attention or wave a whopping great flag. Rather she (I’ve decided honesty is definitely feminine) waits calmly for you to find her, sometimes she is never found; hence the yoga thing. Patience is a virtue. Transcendence can only be achieved with honesty.

Was I jealous? Honestly…yes I was. It made my blood boil; it boiled for two reasons operating independently of each other. Reason one…no there can be no order. One reason was repulsion; I felt repulsed at the kind of man who found it acceptable to pay for sex with any woman. But for this man to think that a woman as beautiful as Loretta enjoyed it, that she did it for fun? Ok I’m aware that hookers pretend to enjoy it and their clients know that they are pretending but even so, come on!

The other reason was how could humanity allow this to happen? Loretta obviously possessed no other choice in life but to shag Bi curious holiday-makers. That was the stark reality. Shagging a lady boy is a halfway house for a sex tourist, a stepping stone towards the full moon. And for the lady boy, a means to an end, I few more dollars towards another nip and tuck!

My heart went out to Loretta, it actually burst though my rib cage and flew through the warm night air; no other heart has ever done that.

I watched and wondered why I cared, why did I suddenly care? I’m someone who habitually gave less than a shit. You know that scenario where someone (we’ll call him Burt) holds a gun to your head and makes you chose between you and your spouse? I wouldn’t miss a beat. It’s always the same guy in these imaginings, I feel sorry for Burt, he’s been miscast, poorly treated and a cliché for two long, nevertheless altruism is dead, everyone knows that.

Bigotry is beyond me, intolerance is ignorance, I felt ashamed of my behaviour, and my response to Loretta’s condition’ was cowardly. I understood how difficult it might be to end up physically male and psychologically, emotionally, spiritually female. It’s just that, despite my conviction in an open mind; it turned out to be only ajar.

Her mind will not be swayed on this, she is female but her body says otherwise. Everything, even what she sees in the reflection of a broken mirror, is a lie. Take a moment to think about that, all the physical evidence, everything you are ever told by anyone is a fucking lie. How do you deal with that? How do you even begin to contemplate a happy ending?


Author’s note (this interruption is brought to you courtesy of Cagewriter)

Gender Dysphoria for many individuals can be a lifelong prison sentence, fifty percent of which die by their own hand before the time they reach thirty years old. Shunned by family and misunderstood by society. They are tortured by depression, self loathing and crippled by medical bills; no one would choose to be Gender Dysphoric. No one does, Gender Dysphoria begins in the womb and is believed to be caused by either an imbalance in the release of hormones or the presence of hormone mimicking chemicals; and occurs during moments of stress to the mother. More transvestites are born during or directly after times of war, conflict or great deprivation.

In India Hijra people are exiled by their families and local communities, they are considered shameful, abhorrent creatures that are often despised. Isolated they must find refuge in an uncaring, hostile world. With no rights a Hijra is nothing more than a ghost. A ghost considered to be good luck on your wedding day, but not actually allowed to marry because ghosts don’t actually exist!

The End

Then something happened. Newlywed husbands desperately fought the urge to stare as Loretta jumped up; the German’s fat lap was suddenly vacant, his whiskey now on his shirt. Loretta looked upset; I could see shouting, if you know what I mean? I couldn’t hear them, but it didn’t look pleasant. I admired her balls, err grit, sass, tenacity. Then her client grabbed her groin and laughed a big German laugh, she slapped him in reply, and he continued to laugh.

I stood up, standing up felt noble, standing up meant defiance, boldness, chivalry and giving a shit! Giving a shit felt right. She walked away, she never ran, I followed in a heartbeat. I found her on the shoreline gazing out at the ocean; I sat next to her and started the clock, thirty four minutes….

About CageWriter

Englishman Living in France with my wife and bilingual son. I'm a struggling writer as in I struggle to write even though I feel it's my calling. I get easily side tracked, this blog being a case in point!
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