The Various Permutations of Us

The patient doctor hovers over his doctor patient’s head, which is elaborately tented everywhere but the window they’ve cut through his skin and skull.  A spider’s nest of electrodes collects into a single fat cable that feeds a giant flat panel display suspended above the operating table, from which a shifting collage of images and sounds emerges.

— I’m going to start now, Dr Swann.

— I’m ready, the man on the table replies.

Leaning closer, the surgeon’s scalpel slices through his grey matter with surprising tenderness, causing him no pain at all.  The screen blinks black-bright three times, then resumes.

We waltz beneath our dendritic arbor's tangled branches, holding on to each other, ourselves, and who we were.  Flicker-flashes of feelings, brought on moment by moment, step by step, each feeling a taste, each taste a color — bittersweet violet melancholy poured over ice, mam's butter-yellow biscuits dissolved in tea, scarlet first kiss sweet spice melting on our tongues, melting us.

— Really? Dr Swann’s wife asks.

— I didn’t mean to remember her.

— But you did.

— At least you know I’ll never forget you.

— Small consolation.

The screen crackles, shows static, snaps back into focus.

Eyes across the room, green buds of possibility that taste of spring.  Running, drenched in a downpour, laughing, we duck into a doorway and kiss.  We are hot, white electricity.  Deep brown whiskey sulking followed by dandelion yellow and nasturtium orange forgiveness.

— Can you hear me? she asks.

— I can.

The starshine-bright happy surprise of a chance meeting in the middle of a workday, sweet and then bitter as we return to work instead of bed.  The shift to plum-colored contentedness, spooned like cobbler from one to another, as we spoon under a heavy comforter in winter.

— It’s over, Dr Swann.  The procedure went perfectly.

— How do you feel, honey?

— In every way possible.

All he could think of was something he’d read once in a book, ”Science is the poetry of the intellect and poetry the science of the heart’s affections.”


“It is a pity indeed to travel and not get this essential sense of landscape values. You do not need a sixth sense for it. It is there if you just close your eyes and breathe softly through your nose; you will hear the whispered message, for all landscapes ask the same question in the same whisper. ‘I am watching you — are you watching yourself in me?’ Most travelers hurry too much…the great thing is to try and travel with the eyes of the spirit wide open, and not to much factual information. To tune in, without reverence, idly — but with real inward attention. It is to be had for the feeling…you can extract the essence of a place once you know how. If you just get as still as a needle, you’ll be there.” 

Anouk Aimé joue l’envoûtante Justine, de Lawrence Durrell adapté par George Cukor. Dans les années 1930, sur une île grecque isolée, un jeune écrivain se souvient de Justine et de sa vie à Alexandrie. Un récit éblouissant, une explosion de couleurs, de matières, de sensations qu’on ne saurait trop recommander ! Connaissez-vous ce roman ? Avez-vous vu le film ?