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Amélie Olaiz (translated by Toshiya Kamei)

The Eternal Idol

My mouth feels dry. I lick my chapped lips, but I can't work up enough saliva to moisten them. I bite my lips until they hurt, and my hardened skin shivers.

I walk down the street. I pass in front of Les Invalides, awed once again by that golden dome and the grandeur of the man-made constructions. Les Invalides. It's ironic that the Musée Rodin is located on one side. Riddled with beings that spring up out of stones, so human, so invalid. The avenues feel longer than what I'm used to, and I speed up my pace under the merciless sun that drains fluids from my body.

When I reach the green gate, a small sign reminds me that museums are closed on Mondays. I lean my forehead against the door, and my face feels refreshed. How could I forget that? I feel the wood veneer moving. The door is open. I feel you and go in without giving a thought to risks. A garden, the stone house, the Hôtel Biron, the Musée Rodin. Open for me.

A series of windows in the rooms makes the place a space of light. I wander, enthralled by the spectacle of the sculptures. I hear the clicks of my heels alternating with the pounding of my emotional heart. I'm an intruder in the jungle of sensations. Uncomfortable, I take off my shoes to avoid making noise, to avoid waking the stone sculpted in man and woman living a timeless passion. I take a deep breath to quell my fears. Fears petrified in my lower abdomen and chiseled with desire.

I stop in front of a sculpture of hands carved in marble. La Cathédrale. The provocative brush of the fingertips is the emissary of the subtle touch. And I remember old caresses, the softest ones, the tenderest ones. The deepest ones. I stare, for several minutes, unable to regain control of my eyes. Anchored in marble, I don't allow thoughts to slip away. The touch. How many lovers does a woman have in her life? It's difficult to know because the woman neither brags nor fesses up. How many of them caress with mastery? And the memory of your subtle caress returns surpassing my impartiality. Too hot, so many knotted sculptures ask me to show my skin, I take off my clothes, carelessly.

Naked in front of the sculpture Le Baiser, I remember how many times I have wished to make your kiss everlasting, and I wonder if the marble lovers still enjoy the kiss they have maintained for a century. But something tells me that the stone also grows weary of the routine. And I doubt it, because I think the secret is not in the material that makes them up but in the mind that inhabits them, and I wonder what is the ideal mental state to live like this. I stick my body to the marble. It's pleasant to feel the coldness of the stone and the force of the artist.

My head, which is supposed to be in charge, turns to move forward. I go up the stairs. I'm thinking about love just before stepping in the room of the Porte de l'Enfer. Can love be the gate of hell? I feel the urge to possess the other. Overwhelming urgency, which eats away peace and dreams. The loss of the beloved. The pain of the most vulnerable. Hell. I don't want to go through the gate, or even think about it, not now. I retrace my steps. In the circular room I open the window. I can see the bronze Le Penseur in the garden. Empty of thoughts, I watch him for a few seconds.

The statues are playing inside. Thinking too much, I succumb to the transparency the artist has achieved in Jeux de Nymphes. Two tears roll down my cheek. I must go on.

A small door is ajar, letting a dazzling sensation in. I walk up another staircase. The wooden stairs creak and complain as I trod on them. I step into a room that's off limits to visitors. The light from the window illuminates you completely, only you, as you prepare plaster. A few steps before I reach you, you turn as you feel my presence while I shake yours. Your gaze travels over the length of my body. I blush, and you feel embarrassed to be clothed before my nakedness. You take off your clothes gracefully, almost all at once. Now we're both naked. Your gaze acquires this brightness that chains me. I know you're up to something. You know I'll play your game. You put your hands in the plaster, and you draw lines from my shoulders to the tips of my toes with two fingers of each hand. A white grid tightens further with each line, and bars make the body a prisoner of desire. I dip my whole arms into the plaster. When I pull them out of the container, I remember the white hands. The subtle touch. I imitate La Cathédrale in front of you. You hug me, and I start a dance of fingers, palms, and back, sliding down your back. I pull away and step closer. I draw spirals on your chest until the lines close to make a whole human white. More plaster, more caresses. Our skin will burn. It's not the plaster, it's the passion that burns, you say. Your hands lift me in the air and place me on the modeling platform as an object of your creation, leaving me seated with my legs folded under me. You kneel on the floor and bury your head between my breasts. I combed my fingers through your hair and caress you, wanting to keep you in my chest. I thank life with my body. Something stops, goes back, and without knowing how or why, we know that another dimension absorbs us. We can communicate without words. Circumstances, space, and we are the same entity without limitations of body, or object, or art, or time, or words that can name what happens. We want to stay like this, keeping the creative pleasure forever. Footsteps break our silence. We remain frozen when we hear the small door creak open.

Motionless, we don't even blink. You put your finger over my mouth, now completely dry. Silence. We don't even breathe. Maybe the intruder mistakes us for a sculpture and leaves right away. He stares at us, surrounds us, and admires us. It's the spectator who closes the circle of creation.

Paralyzed by a creative spell, we live together like this. They call us lovers who defy time. We are desire: L'Éternelle idole.

➥ Olaiz Bio

➥ Kamei Bio