Children of the Albatross
a curiosity. His honesty, his
immediate, childlike instinct about people, both infuriated and interested
them. They tampered with him. They wanted to impose their beliefs on him, teach
him, possess him. But the boy could sense their falsities, their treacheries,
their self-interest. He belonged to his dream. He gave his whole faith only to
the man who promised to take him back to his home and to his mother. And this
man betrayed him, delivered him to his enemies. Just before his death he had
met a woman, who had not dared to love him because he was so young, who had
stifled her feeling. If she had dared he might have escaped his fate.”
    “Why didn’t she dare?” asked Paul.
    “She saw only the obstacle,” said Djuna. “Most
people see only the obstacle, and are stopped by it.”
    (No harm can befall you now, Paul, no harm can
befall you. You have been set free. You made a good beginning. You were loved
by the first object of your desire. Your first desire was answered. I made such
a bad beginning! I began with a closed door. This harmed me, but you at least
began with fulfillment. You were not hurt. You were not denied. I am the only
one in danger. For that is all I am allowed to give you, a good beginning, and
then I must surrender you.)
    They sat and waited for the father.
    Lawrence left them. The suspense made him
uneasy.
    Paul was teaching Djuna how to eat rice with
chopsticks.
    Then he carefully cleaned them and was holding
them now as they talked as if they were puppets representing a Balinese shadow
theater of the thoughts neither one dared to formulate. They sat and waited for
the father.
    Paul was holding the chopsticks like impudent
puppets, gesticulating, then he playfully unfastened the first button of her blouse
with them, deftly, and they laughed together.
    “It’s time for the ballet,” said Djuna. “Your
father is evidently not coming, or he would be here already.”
    She saw the illumination of desire light his
face.
    “Wait, Djuna.” He unfastened the second button,
and the third.
    Then he laid his head on her breast and said:
“Let’s not go anywhere tonight. Let’s stay here.”
    Paul despised small and shallow waves. He was
drawn to a vastness whic corresponded to his boundless dreams. He must possess
the world in some big way, rule a large kingdom, expand in some absolute
leadership.
    He felt himself king as a child feels king,
over kingdoms uncharted by ordinary men. He would not have the ordinary, the
known. Only the vast, the unknown could satisfy him.
    Djuna was a woman with echoes plunging into an
endless past he could never explore completely. When he tasted her he tasted a
suffering which had borne a fragrance, a fragrance which made deeper grooves.
It was enough that he sensed the dark forests of experience, the unnamed
rivers, the enigmatic mountains, the rich mines under the ground, the
overflowing caves of secret knowledges. A vast ground for an intrepid
adventurer.
    Above all she was his “ocean,” as he wrote her.
“When a man takes a woman to himself he possesses the sea.”
    The waves, the enormous waves of a woman’s
love!
    She was a sea whose passions could rise
sometimes into larger waves than he felt capable of facing!
    Much as he loved danger, the unknown, the vast,
he felt too the need of taking flight, to put distance and space between
himself and the ocean for fear of being submerged!
    Flight: into silence, into a kind of
invisibility by which he could be sitting there on the floor while yet creating
an impression of absence, able to disappear into a book, a drawing, into the
music he listened to.
    She was gazing at his little finger and the
extreme fragility and sensitiveness of it astonished her.
    (He is the transparent child.)
    Before this transparent finger so artfully
carved, sensitively wrought, boned, which alighted on objects with a touch of
air and magic, at the marvel of it, the ephemeral quality of it, a wave of
passion would mount within her and

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