I used to think that I was an angel. I awoke under a Cercis tree in early spring, and I sat there for a long while, unconcerned about worldly things. It never dawned on me to wonder how long I had been there. Some men take a lifetime to arrive in that place, sitting beneath a tree, with no earthly desires. I only knew that I had started there.
I became a guest of an elderly man who had many animals and many possessions. His name was Hillel. He told me all about his blessings. I didn't understand, and so he taught me his faith.
Later he sent me away, but from what he had taught me, I decided that I might be an angel. I wasn't of the world of men, and if I was from the heaven that Hillel told me about, that made me an angel. It was my first perspective, taken from learning their faith – a collection of stories based on the teachings of Judaism.
This was the holy land. Holy my ass.
These days, I hear people debating about whether God was "different" back then, the way the Old Testament says He was angry, and spent His days punishing the wicked. I don't know, but from what I saw, they deserved it. Not just the Jews. Everyone.
Not that I'm so sure about God anymore, or even angels. But wickedness I'm sure of.
You see, I began to feel it. I started with very little desire. I don't even think I ate food for a long while. I was more detached from my own body. My awareness was of the oneness of everything, and the first place I felt hunger was when I saw it in the eyes of others.
It began a fascination that led me to learn about their appetites, not only for food, but for beautiful things made of gold and silk, for excitement, for status and for sex. In trading my ascetic existence for one driven by human desires, I first became aware of perversity. It was my deliberate decision to turn away from that which was good.
Since then, to be perfectly honest, I've been a freeloader. Not like I was at first – a contemplative wanderer who took company with those who offered it, and spoke of simple things. No. I began to take what wasn't mine, and it started to feel as if those appetites were truly my own.
To manipulate those desires was easy for me, and I began to feel it necessary over time. In this last century, there was a time when I desperately wanted to leave continental Europe.
There was a girl name Elyse. She was an artist, and I was sharing in her fascination, even fuelling it – with desperate needs borrowed from other artists I had known over time. It was a need to create beauty. That desire was so intense that she could barely manage to keep her hands from shaking with excitement as she painted.
When the most dangerous of times came, I twisted her in another direction. There was a town administrator named Pascal. He was married, but still needed to be loved.
I am normally very careful to avoid that one – the need for love. You see, whatever I touch in others, I've found, I develop an appetite for myself. I can always fill an appetite for fine food and material things. Sex is just as easy. With these desires, people can fill themselves, but shortly the appetite comes again. I'll always be able to find someone just a little bit desirous, and then pull it in any direction I want. But love – is much more troublesome.
This was, as I wrote before, what I felt to be a necessity. I planted in Pascal the idea that he could be truly loved by a woman, but only if he were to show compassion to her and her family. He was already attracted to Elyse. He knew her art, and had always seen her as unobtainable – too virtuous for the likes of him. Now that she was in harm's way it would be different, I convinced him without a word. A moment of eye contact was all it took.
As for Elyse, she didn't need too much adjustment. She loved me, something that I wouldn't allow her to tell me at the time. So she pretended I was her brother. Pascal used his connections, both legitimate and not, to make sure I was safely out of France. She stayed with Pascal, of course, trading her love for my freedom. I'm not sure if either of them believed she would be safe to stay behind, but she did.
I moved on, trying hard not to indulge it – that desire to be loved that I had nurtured in Pascal, and now was present in me.
That was over fifty years ago. Since then, more from habit now than anything, I've been reluctant to call myself a Jew. The question actually doesn't come up that often. The people I trade with – we have just a few things in common. I can spend an entire winter at Whistler, skiing all day, sharing food and drinks in the evening, and each evening find another soul to share sexual desires with, and still, it's rare that anyone really wants to know much about me.
"So where are you from?" the young woman asked me. Her parents, who I had been playing with for a couple of weeks, feigned curiosity about the answer.
"Israel," I told her.
"Really, what's it like?" she asked. She was interested, even excited. That was unexpected. People hardly ever genuinely listen.
"I've been gone a long time. It's probably different now."
"I'd love to go there someday, just to see where it all happened."
"Where it all happened?" I asked. I guess I knew what she meant, but I was intrigued by her. I wanted to hear her voice some more.
"You know. Where Jesus was born and died."
"Oh. I wasn't there for that," I stated. She took it as a joke.
Her name was Loela.
"Short for Delores?" I asked her.
Her mother answered. " No. Just Loela. I took it from a baby name book. It sounded pretty."
She was only there for the weekends, back from the University. So I knew I wouldn't have much time to work on her before she went back. Fortunately, I thought, it doesn't take much. There was a light touch, to see what she desired. Then, when I found her appetites, I twisted them in my direction. All of this was done in a momentary connection of our eyes.
To my surprise, and I was hardly ever surprised by people anymore, she didn't come to me that night.
I saw her before she left, and I knew I'd had my effect. She was shaken. She'd probably passed the night sleepless. She blushed when she saw me. She stole a kiss on my cheek before she left. I touched her mind again, and it was burning with the desire I had suggested. That's the way it seems to work. Elegant. I find that place where her desires live, and make a suggestion. I seed just an image or two. Then they become her own, spinning away in her head until she can't deny them a chance to become real.
Except that she had denied them.
I was living as a guest in their house, Paul and Tina. Tina was the mom. Paul was the stepfather. I found them on craigslist, looking for a threesome. I had shared enough pleasure with them that they invited me to stay, with family and friends accepting me as an interior designer for their ongoing renovations. The house was in Squamish, some distance from design consultants in Vancouver, so it made some manner of sense. It didn't matter. Most people tended to accept what I said as truth in any case.
Loela's self restraint on the weekend left me in an unusual position. I wasn't accustomed to denial and, as mentioned, when I manipulate these things, I can't help but take them into myself.
This one was a simple desire, so far as mine go these days. I liked her voice. I liked the look of her lips when she spoke. I wanted to see those lips pleasuring me. I transferred that desire to her mind.
This line of desire was somewhat reflexive now, given on to me from a gardener I had known in Venice. He had loved the voice of the lady of the house. I met her, and was not immediately moved by her voice. Perhaps it was my unfamiliarity with the language. My fascination with human desire tempted me, however, to understand him. The lady was not difficult. And he was right, in the end, that her lips were wonderful.
So now, when I appreciate a voice, it's not long before I appreciate the lips as well.
Since Loela had denied herself, and it would be a week before she visited again, I took it instead from her mother. I shouldn't have expected that it would satisfy me. She had please me that way before, after all. Only this time, it was without her husband, which signaled a bit of a betrayal. Still, it was not enough.
Loela's little sister Emily was my next attempt at a surrogate. She hadn't much experience at all, which made pushing her seem too simple a challenge. So I transferred in a fantasy I had found in others. This idea was little more extreme in nature, which would be more difficult for her to ask for overtly.
Emily found her way to my room easily enough, and that she was inviting a sexual encounter was clear. But she flushed with color when it came time to speak.
"I want to try something..." she started. She was almost too nervous. I wondered how aware she was that this indecency was transplanted. It must have seemed very strange to her, this sudden desire. Or, rather, obsession. It must have seemed equally strange to Emily that she would be moved to act on it with so little consideration.
Its extreme nature came from the minds of those more experienced in the oral arts.
" ... to take it in my throat," she paused, self-conscious, but not for long. " Deep down, I mean. I want you to finish that way. Have you ... have you ever done that?"
Of course, I assured her. Perfectly normal. It takes some practice, though. I'll help you through it.
.... There is more of this story ...