The-Man-on-the-Other-Side-of-the-Wall in India: Not A Love Story

The-Man-on-the-Other-Side-of-the-Wall in India: Not A Love Story

I met The-Man-on-the-Other-Side-of-the-Wall on my first evening in India. We were sitting on the edge of a well. The well was home to a community of frogs that spent their days on top of one another mating or trying to jump out. They were always unsuccessful in the latter. He told me a story about a snake that discovered the bevy and slid over the wall and into the stagnant water. But the snake was a greedy snake and tried to make off with two frogs between his jaws. But with two frogs the snake could not get back over the wall and kept slipping and falling, until he had to spit one frog out.

We were staying at a school the color of a ripe peach, on the outskirts of Bangalore. The school was run by an Indian social justice activist and the children weren’t allowed to play cricket because it was the game of the colonizers. I was there interviewing the children for a project. He was finishing a dissertation and read books like Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Black Face/White Mask and talked about “objective material realities.” I spent most of my time with him feeling stupid because I didn’t speak his jargon.

Coffee was only served a few times a week in a thimble size cups, alcohol was banned and I missed both equally depending on the time of day.

Above the classrooms were bedrooms. He and I slept next door to one another. The walls were made from cinder blocks and painted white. They were solid, but not high enough to reach the ceiling, and there was a five-foot gap between the top of the wall and the tin roof. At night he threw crumpled notes over the wall to see if I was awake. I always was, because the mattress was hard and it hurt my bones.

He invited me go traveling with him and two friends who were flying out from Chicago. They were going to Kerala and then up to Mumbai. I said I’d go.

Enter The-Hindu-Goddess-of-Teeth-and-Hair, who one day came rumbling through the surrounding village to the school on her metallic blue Harley Davidson. She had come to volunteer by planting trees. The-Hindu-Goddess-of-Teeth-and-Hair lived in a high rise in Bangalore and was worshiped far and wide for her exceptional locks that cascaded over her shoulders, bouncing and shining past normalcy, and her disarmingly white, perfectly aligned teeth. While planting bamboo shoots she offered advice on our trip and while watering them, he invited her to join.

I spent most of my time with him feeling stupid because I didn’t speak his jargon.

When I wasn’t feeling stupid because I didn’t understand objective material realities, I was craving coffee and alcohol. Coffee was only served a few times a week in a thimble size cups, alcohol was banned and I missed both equally depending on the time of day. On our last night at the school, The-Man-on-the-Other-Side-of-the-Wall retrieved a bottle of wine from his bag. Delighted, I settled into his room to share it.

Sip. Swallow. Pass.
Sip. Swallow. Sip. Pass.
Sip. Swallow. Pass.

He moved from the floor to sit on the bed. I followed the bottle.

Sip. Swallow. Pass. Kiss.
Sip. Swallow. Pass. Kiss. Kiss.
Sip. Swallow. Pass. Kiss.

He pulled the mosquito net over us. Outside I could hear the security guard tapping a stick to ward off scorpions as he walked the grounds.

Kiss. Breath. Kiss.
Kiss. Kiss. Breath. Touch.
Kiss. Breath. Kiss.

Yet, this is not a love story.

At dinner he sat with his foot over mine under the table and I thought the sleeping arrangements might have been a cultural misunderstanding

In the morning we set out for Kerala. The-Hindu-Goddess-of-Teeth- and-Hair drove and navigated. She had arranged all accommodation. He sat in the passenger seat and remarked on her driving skills. The two American friends sat in the two middle seats. I was in the back.

By evening we reached the hotel. It was a collection of huts, with thatched roofs, high in the green hills, surrounded by tea plantations. When the room keys were dispersed, I was surprised that the two Americans were together on the other side of the resort, I was alone, and The-Man-on-the-Other-Side-of-the-Wall and the Hindu-Goddess-of-Teeth-and-Hair were together, next door to me.

At dinner he sat with his foot over mine under the table and I thought the sleeping arrangements might have been a cultural misunderstanding, until later when through the open bathroom window came the unmistakable sound of the Hindu-Goddess-of-Teeth-and-Hair’s orgasm.

In the morning there was knock on the door, followed by his hands on my hips.

Kiss. Breath. Kiss. Push. Away.

“The walls are very thin,” I said.

“You could have joined in,” he said smiling, “and gave her kissing lessons.”

At breakfast, The-Hindu-Goddess-of-Teeth-and-Hair was grinning like the cat that got both the cream and the canary. The-Man-on-the-Other-Side-of-the-Wall sat beside her. Under the table, he slid his foot over mine, and then began talking about the importance of feminism and not objectifying women.

 

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About Dominique Sinagra

5 thoughts on “The-Man-on-the-Other-Side-of-the-Wall in India: Not A Love Story

  1. Avatar
    Lisa
    May 30, 2014
    Reply

    Love your writing style and the story! Perfect length and final sentence! Keep writing 🙂

  2. Caitlin
    Caitlin
    May 28, 2014
    Reply

    Forget the guy, your writing is beautiful

    • Anna
      Anna
      May 28, 2014
      Reply

      This was was written beautifully. It’s unfortunate that the ending couldn’t match that beauty.

  3. Avatar
    Elen
    May 28, 2014
    Reply

    Great piece!

    • Avatar
      Dominique
      May 28, 2014
      Reply

      Thank you very much!

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