…That night we barely closed our eyes. We kissed through the night, and the bitterness of our saliva filled the room. Our bed drifted in the boundless sea like a lonely island in imminent danger. We took refuge in each other’s love. When the heart breaks there’s a crackling sound, very light and very fine, like the splintering of wood fibers… (Wei Hui – Shanghai Baby)
Probably what she appreciates most when they are together is the uncertainty of their physical relationship. Each time they meet each other, it seems as if there was a wall between them. Not that they consciously want this barrier to be there, it is just natural. They keep a certain distance between them. A kind of decency, timidity. Not fake, not invented. It is not because they are beyond desires or mutual attraction, they always start the evening with conversations about new books, new movies. Not small talks either. They don’t want to rush each other into some kind of awkward behaviors. Yet they are not prude or shy. They are just calm and serene. They seem to enjoy these moments and to catch up with the time which has kept them apart. Real time however is suspended. The air is peaceful and benign, yet something enigmatic and beyond comprehension is there. If one looks at the scene from the outside, like a movie, one probably would think that the physical part could never happen. The probability that they would kiss or even hold hands is almost none. Their instincts might be animal, they could hardly guess their own feelings and desires in front of each other acting the way they act. The woman seems to be intrigued by it. She never knows what is going on in his head. He never says something sexually provocative or ambiguous, they don’t seek to seduce each other. He smiles from time to time and speaks to her in a slow rhythm, with a gentle voice. Calm he is, as usual. When is this icy wall between them going to break? Nobody knows. Only they have the key to the enigma.
Sometimes when she stands up, grabs a book at the bookshelves, shows it to him, then he kisses her hand, the one holding the book.
Sometimes when she goes to the kitchen, boiling water for a pot of tea, then he kisses her, from behind, in her neck.
Sometimes they kiss each other goodbye, late at night, then they decide to spend the night together.
They seem to manage their ardor differently. That’s all. And they never know why.