Sextasy in the Cathedral (I)

by Horace P. Hightower

Click for Episodes: No. 1, No. 2, No. 3, No. 4, No. 5

Dull 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 unpredictable.

First 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.

But 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!

What 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...

When 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.

At 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!

Well, 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...


Next 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.

Click for Episodes: No. 1, No. 2, No. 3, No. 4, No. 5

Sextasy in the Cathedral (I)
© 2001 Sliptongue, Inc.





Home | Fiction | Illustrations | Epigrams | Romans
Liaisons for Laughs | Random Frivolity | Weblog
| Hightower's Antics | Reviews
Pawtawnee Chronicles
| Poetry | Fiction Archives

| About |
| Submissions | Links

Copyright 2001-2011 Sliptongue
unless otherwise noted. / All rights reserved. Reproduction
of material, in whole or in part, from any Sliptongue pages without
written permission is strictly prohibited.