in the Cathedral (I)
Horace P. Hightower
for Episodes: No.
1, No. 2, No.
3, No. 4, No.
tedious unfulfilling means of employment are good for something
after all: they inspire -- nay, force -- one to seek excitement,
make up for wasted time. Yes, indeed, I'm an optimist -- I always
insist on seeing the positive in the midst of dreariness -- always
insist on turning dead-end emotional situations to my advantage
-- always insist on bringing myself into direct contact with the
thrilling and unexpected, regardless of what social influences
seek to steer me clear of such. But talk is cheap; it's easy to
boast; many are those who spout like convictions without ever
acting upon them. And so I'll provide an example of how I compensate
for the repetitious boredom of the means by which I make a living
-- it's up to you, dear reader, to decide whether I'm justified
in believing myself to be an authentic devotee of the risky and
of all, some preliminary information: I work the third shift at
a law firm in New York, Monday through Thursday nights -- it hardly
matters what I do -- all that matters is that I loathe it -- nay,
that I'm far past loathing it, emotionally numbed at the very
thought of it, too jaded to take the trouble to ridicule and mock
it. Often there is little to do, occasionally it's fairly frenetic:
it makes little difference to me: the moment I stroll through
the door of the place I want to do nothing but absently stare
glaze-eyed at nothing whatsoever in the stagnant, vacuous, dead,
poorly circulated air; no matter what I'm assigned to do this
blank-stare feeling stays with me; it doesn't depart until I exit
the following morning.
allow me to describe my latest exploit: Friday morning last, after
my usual four days of legal servitude, I was turned loose -- as
I always am at that point in the week -- for three uninterrupted
days of whatever-I-please. Certainly I was sleep deprived, excessively
hungry, and frazzled; but there was little point in dwelling upon
such -- bothering to be conscious of such: far more pronounced
was delight at the prospect of being off work for three days.
Delight? Ha! An almost manic variety of joy immediately began
to well up within me -- outright bouncing-off-the-buildings giddiness
overcame me -- warm tingly springtime feelings (although it was
midwinter) of impatience forcefully surged!
to do? Where to go? I hopped the 5 train to Grand Central, strolled
to 5th Avenue, proceeded north with the bracing December wind
whipping my flushed face, reinforcing my feelings of recklessness,
thirst for release. Soon I was at 50th Street, heading for the
entrance of St. Patrick's Cathedral, stepping within: the flames
of offering candles danced before my eyes, the vaulted ceiling
drew my gaze upwards, the stained glass windows surrounded me
with cheerful colors, the altar shimmered gold at the far side
of the pews. More than pleased, I advanced down the center aisle
between the pews towards the altar until a dozen or so rows away.
I crossed myself, kneeled, took a seat, leaned over the back of
the pew in front, spread my arms across it, closed my eyes, surrendered
to the renewing quietude of prayer. I prayed for the fortitude
to withstand emotional extremes; for the ability to be sincere
with my friends, laugh at my enemies; for the will to always rise
above pettiness, perceive and appreciate beauty; for continued
fascination with the mere fact of being alive! Twenty minutes
-- forty minutes -- sixty minutes -- who knows how many? -- passed:
I felt myself funneling down into a reserve of inner serenity,
quivering before the majesty of the Unknown: warm lassitude overcame
me, I may have dozed...
I returned to myself and glanced about, it was with a new set
of serenely robust senses: one would've thought I'd had a deep
drawn out sleep, partaken of a large succulent meal. I quickly
-- eagerly -- stood, crossed myself, advanced to the alcoves dedicated
to the Saints at the side of the Cathedral, commenced to wander
from one to the next while under the influence of a different
sort of hunger than that which craves mere food.
length I found myself facing a life-sized marble statue of an
attractive female Saint: she was on her back on the ground, arms
and legs flung out at her sides, wavy hair streaming in every
direction; her head was tossed back, her eyes were half closed,
an expression of rapture suffused her face. The beauty of her
face, slender symmetry of her body, commenced to have an effect
on me: her lissome curves were lapping at my eyes, slipping into
my nerves, racing up and down my spine, bringing on silent gasps
of yearning! It was suddenly as if she was alive; as if she was
slowly turning her head from side to side, quivering from head
to toe; as if she was steadily emerging from a daze brought on
by unrestrained indulgence of desire, beginning to thirst for
another dose! Yes, certainly she was caressing herself in an effort
to calm down, stop shaking with desire; certainly she was doing
her best to stay one step ahead of the lust-hunger which was burning
her up! And it was then that I became aware my hand had strayed
into my pants -- that I'd somehow climbed over the short enclosing
fence without anyone being aware of it -- that I was within the
alcove, leaning against the wall, doing my best to calm down,
bring on at least a state of semi-satiation! Damn! I couldn't
stop -- her curves were absolutely pounding in my temples -- tight
hot tingles were demanding to be attended to -- I had to follow
through despite the perils of discovery!
suffice to say I eventually emerged from the alcove in a state
best described as itchy bliss: serenity intermingled with the
knowledge one's senses are still highly inflammable, prone to
get taut and strident sometime soon. One of my favorite frames
of mind, actually; and I didn't hesitate to savor it while returning
to the pews, seeming to take far longer than was warranted (the
church not being crowded) to locate a place to sit. Suddenly I
paused: the sun had apparently risen far enough to finally strike
the stained glass windows directly -- either that, or obstructing
clouds in the sky outside had scudded out of the way; whatever
the case, I was now surrounded by bright scarlet, emerald, and
turquoise light of an almost hallucinatory vividness -- a sight
which all but robbed me of breath, had me standing stun-eyed,
on account of its otherworldly beauty. Around and around I turned,
not quite certain of what I was looking for or wished to do...
Installment: Sextasy in the Cathedral (II) -- fantasy
becomes flesh -- the statue of the lissome Saint comes alive in
the person of a woman kneeling in devout prayer -- the flowing
folds of this woman's sable coat veil our mutual stimulation activities
within the august walls of the cathedral -- finally, I receive
holy communion in the back seat of a cab.
for Episodes: No.
1, No. 2, No.
3, No. 4, No.
in the Cathedral (I)
© 2001 Sliptongue, Inc.