To be a man, watched by women. It must be entirely strange. To have them watching him all the time. To have them wondering, What’s he going to do next? To have them flinch when he moves, even if it’s a harmless enough move, to reach for an ashtray perhaps. To have them sizing him up. To have them thinking, he can’t do it, he won’t do, he’ll have to do, this last as if he were a garment, out of style or shoddy, which must nevertheless be put on because there’s nothing else available.
To have them putting him on, trying him on, trying him out, while he himself puts them on, like a sock over a foot, onto the stub of himself, his extra, sensitive thumb, his tentacle, his delicate stalked slug’s eye, which extrudes, expands, winces, and shrivels back into himself when touched wrongly, grows big again, bulging a little at the tip, travelling forward as if along a leaf, into them, avid for vision. To achieve vision in this way, this journey into a darkness that is composed of women, a woman, who can see in darkness while he himself strains blindly forward.
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She watches him from within. We’re all watching him. It’s one thing we can really do, and it’s not for nothing: if he were to falter, fail or die, what would become of us? No wonder he’s like a boot, hard on the outside, giving shape to a pulp of tenderfoot. That’s just a wish. I’ve been watching him for some time and he’s given no evidence, of softness.
But watch out, Commander, I tell him in my head. I’ve got my eye on you. One false move and I’m dead.