Westphallia

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
Francis West, a rather-wealthy, rather-intelligent college man pursuing his PhD soon finds himself pursuing a rather-voluptuous, rather-mysterious psychologist. Will Francis court her without losing his head?

Submitted: February 17, 2012

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Submitted: February 17, 2012

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How despondent!  La vida, la muerte, of a loveless male mantis.  Pray as he might, you know—and I know—his fate is to be prey.  It is love—is it love?—that preys upon his feeble soul, the lovely voluptuous female.  Lust: marriage...titles...kisses—these things mean not a thing to her.  Carnal desires drive him to his doom—and he cannot resist.  Her dance—elegant, courteous—entrances him, entices him.  What a microscope may spot as malcreated, a mantis finds mateable.  Closer, closer he enters.  Their eyes barely lock before their bodies intertwine.  Climax—brief as it may be—fills the male with lowly indulgence.  And she devours his head!  Delectable.  From his exoskeleton, fluids secrete;  his body—immovable, incomplete—remains, rotting on the leaf, carnage for on-goers to examine.  I, too, became carnage.  And Lilith Rose, my mantis.
Perhaps what makes it all the more agonizing are the longer lifespans of humans.
October evening, the first time I met her, I was browsing the Historical-Biographical section at Redux, an antique bookstore, like any other Friday.  After skimming through Burton[1] and Clay[2], I sighted the book I had been searching for—Erasmus’ In Praise of Follies, literature I had not dwelled upon depuis ma jeunesse[3].  It was then that a lady—no older than thirty, no younger than twenty—strutted towards the section.  Strutted.  Her legs, slender, slightly tanned, certainly epitomized such a verb.  Her right hand firmly gripped Cicero’s Works, a strawberry smoothie in her left.  Her legs, stilted upon glossy heels supported her precariously: gracelessly, she stumbled, a breath away from me.
“Oh, I’m so sorry!” she lamented, the smoothie she spilt splattered over my Armani suit and—far less preferably—the book in my hand.  Yet her smile, her teeth—like ivory keys—erased the irritable mess over me.  “Please, please sir, here.”  She searched her Hugo Boss handbag and handed me a handkerchief embroidered;  I wiped the smoothie off my shirt.  Alas, my white suit was still stained, but her redress reduced my ire, nearly to the point of content[4].  “Oh, is that Erasmus?”
Despite the higher-class constituency of Redux, it bewildered me a blond as beauteous as she would read—even comprehend—the likes of a 16th century humanist.  Bewildered.  Rather, it filled me with a sense—ominously optimistic—that I was not the only human well-read upon humanist literature.  “Yes, it is.  I had not picked up this gem since my high-school years.”
“It’s a shame you haven’t read it in so long.  I remember reading it my sophomore year.  The manner in which Erasmus consistently satires aspects of the Catholic Church, in the ways one would expect Lucian[5] to do humors and irks me so.  Even the Greek title made me laugh[6].”
“The classical Greek allusions certainly put a smile on my face—”
“—the way Folly presents herself as a goddess, but happens to be the offspring of Pluto.  Absolutely, incredulously brilliant.  ‘You'll find nothing frolic or fortunate that it owes not to me.  Ah, that single line is so imprinted in my mind.”
“Ironic a man with such godly intellect was considered a humanist, is it not?”
She giggled nervously.  “Certainly is.”
“Oh,” the realisation of my rudeness struck me, “my name is Francis Marie West.”
She smiled.  “Interesting one would be named after Voltaire’s vrai nom[7].  My name is Lillith, Lillith Montesquieu Rose.  Neither my surname or first name bears importance,” she shared.  Quickly, she glanced to the clock behind me.  “Oh, oh my.  I must be leaving now.  I’m so sorry about the smoothie!”
“It’s quite alright, I was planning on purchasing the book regardless.”
She exited the store, my eyes reluctantly fixated to her bronzed backside: the risqué regality of her dress would instill envy, even in Antoinette.  Montesquieu.  I would not expect one to be christened with the last name of a French pornographer[8].
Every time I envisioned her—her slim silhouette, infinite mind—rapture wrapped around me.  Infatuation?  Doubts burrowed into me.
March morning, the second time we fatefully encountered, I visited a local Starbucks, diametrically opposed to Redux, writing-slash-revising my distressing doctoral thesis.  One may consider a thesis a story if they please: a structured, methodical story in which every syllable serves a purpose, absent of the superfluous gibberish one would expect of an American narrative.  It was the common Starbucks: mahogany and olive color scheme, the melusine[9] logo plastered upon every corner, the many other feeble souls who have failed to finish a story erratically typing it up when the calendar claims it’s too late.  
After finishing the seventeenth page, I looked up.
“Remember me?” the woman asked.  Lillith, legs crossed, seated in front of me, ignited my adrenaline.  Her vein-less hands clutched a cappuccino; the aroma of coffee beans—leisurely work—relapsed me into torpidity.
“Please don’t spill that on me,” I smiled, to ensure she would not be offended.
“Once.  At a book store.  Months ago.”
“History repeats itself.”
“Cliché.”
“True, perhaps. So true it’s the core of every historical thesis.”
“History is the core of every historical thesis, you say?”
“The notion that history repeats itself is.  Knaves and royalty alike befall upon that execrable notion.”
“And as we speak...you are writing this?” She peered over my shoulder.  My Macbook, not to her dismay, displayed a dissertation in progress.  “Something akin to Turner[10]?”
I chuckled.  “Turner?  No, Frederick Jackson Turner is nothing compared to the likes of Foner, and I always try to be like Foner.  Regardless, it’s an analysis of the Catholic Church’s role in sovereignty, particularly the Peace[11] of Westphalia.”
“Interesting.  Although it does not surprise me that you would seek a degree in such a field.”
“Shouldn’t.  And you?  What do you pursue?”
“Psychology,” she blushed. “I’m about as Kinsean as you are Keynesian[12].  Although I do doubt the reliability of  his data, I still believe most perceived abnormalities are normal....I received my PhD last May.”
Our conversation continued.  A sense of pathetic ecstasy assaulted me: she, unlike all other women, spoke my language.  Skéfti?ke sta elli?niká, allá[13] spoke in English yet embrassée en français[14]; ella habló en la lengua romantica, filosófica[15].
“I’ve never really thought much of Madison to be honest,” I told her.  “Perhaps it’s the nullification theories that bother me most.  When you join a union, you comply with the rules...you can’t simply neutralize an action by a higher body based on ideological disagreement.”
“I disagree,” she stated.  Although I lacked extensive communication with females, I knew the rule: never state you dislike something or else her opinion will slay yours mercilessly.  I will solemnly spare readers the brunt broadside of her counter[16].  “Do you not ever feel overwhelmed?”
“Overwhelmed by what?”
“History...such an expansive thing.  And writing a thesis in the social sciences is certainly a bother.”
“A fun bother.”
“A bother nonetheless,” she smirked.  Glancing at the watch, once again she realized... “Oh my!  I’m going to be an hour late!  This is not good!  This is not good!  But wait, before I leave...” she took a pen from her handbag and scribbled numbers onto a napkin, then handed it to me.  “Here.  This is my number.  Feel free to call.”
With a flash of her flawless enamels, she left.  It instilled uneasiness in me not knowing to where she was venturing.  That uneasiness was neutralized by the sense of accomplishment I had in obtaining her number, despite not requesting it.  Of course, as a psychologist, she would know that I would want it.
Naturally, she knew I would call her.
Our telephonic, circadian conversations were lengthy to the point I could not continue any other activities throughout the day—no reading Erasmus, no writing a thesis.  Despite my timid delivery, she accepted my request for a date at La Mante[17] (the most opulent restaurant I could name).
Head to toe in Armani, I drove my covertible to pick her up for the evening. Her house was a forestial retreat reminiscent of Falling Waters: as sleek, as luxurious as her[18].  Although the phrase “my jaw dropped” is banal, it truly felt as though my mandible unhinged the moment my eyes were graced with her figure.  She was too resplendent, too recherché, and it forced me to consider why she did not utterly reject the rendezvous.
“Hello, Francis,” she greeted as she entered the car.  Her black dress parted at a lower ‘V’, her hair, radiantly gold, flowed freely in the wind as we drove to La Mante, and her eyes, jades upon a crystalline display, hypnotized me, robbed me of thought.  The inky indigo smears across the sky contrasted against her svelte physique.  At night, when the noctilucent cumuli brushed upon a cobalt canvas, I felt more relaxed.  Insomniacs, seen as heretics, are society’s true intellectuals: at night, life—all its beauty, all its women—flourish.
The sense of arriving at La Mante was parallel to a duo of celebrities gracing the red carpet at an extravagant movie theatre debut, for me at least.  For her, it was casual, like a lawyer entering a meeting, there to discuss daily business.  We entered, sitting on the baroque-styled mahogany seats farthest from the windows.  I ordered the caviar, she ordered some sort of exorbitant fish fillet and a bottle of Chteau Margaux.
She spoke, “I’m thoroughly impressed, the lengths you go to for a woman.”
Sometimes, the softest of compliments hide the hardest of edges.  “Thank you,” I responded.  I would not normally do such a thing (females, the demon wallets fear) for a women, but I could not resist the manner in which she enticed me.  I could not distinguish whether it was her physical being (slim, sensuous) or her spiritual being (expansive, sharp) that called me.  Or perhaps a third being, like the center of a Venn diagram—a synthesis—a woman that escaped both physical and emotional definition.
Our order arrived, carried upon silver platters.  I poured her the wine.
“Darling, when is your thesis due?”
“May, the 28th.  In all honesty, it’s becoming rather dire.  I have yet to write most of it.”
“It’s April, dear.  You certainly shouldn’t procrastinate.”
“It’s not procrastination, Lilith...it’s more distraction,” I corrected, avoiding to state it was often her that prevented me from carrying out the Sisyphean undertaking of historical writing.
“What’s the distraction?”
I shifted the conversation onto the subject of cats and how cute they are.  Perhaps not the most brilliant idea, but a successful one.  We continued speaking;  I continued to man my distaste of caviar.
“...so I believe we should have a toast,” she spoke.
“A toast mid-dinner?”
“Your point being?” 
I looked at her.  “Very well then.”
We raised our crystal chalices and clinked them together, a transient unification.  “Toast!” we exclaimed in unison.
“Ah!” she sighed.  The very moment we toasted, her soft fingers lost grip and released the lucid goblet upon the velvet carpet, cleavaging into jagged shards of glass, staining the white, blemishless floor a dreary black.  I sighed as she apologized.  “I’m so, so sorry!”
“It’s...fine.  I’ll just ask for a waiter.”
A waiter arrived to sweep the debris off the floor.  “This isn’t the first time...” he murmured grudgingly.  I wondered if sweeping women’s mistakes every day would make one misogynistic.
She glanced at her wrist-watch—I foresaw her words.  “My, my...it’s getting late,” she said.  Then, proved my prediction apocryphal.  “Perhaps...we should venture to my residence?”
“I don’t know which I prefer more: your offer or your diction,” I smiled and accepted.
 
 
The repetitiveness of every day after that night never bothered me.  Perhaps recession into the familiar is beautiful solely for the fact it is familiar.  “Butterflies in my stomach” is equally a cliche statement, but I doubted my ability to find a better expression for the feeling:  love, love, love, love, love, love.  I loved Lillith Montesquieu Rose.
Thinking of her, I recalled a Harvard study revealing men have two deciding preferences in a woman: her appearance and her ability to converse.  Lilith Rose certainly exemplified both—her rarity was that of the moon in daylight.  My attraction to those twin qualities only further proved how average I was.  I consistently felt the need to demonstrate the utmost intelligence, the highest brow when her voice vibrated in my cochlea.  I knew I fell short, yet she remained unbothered.
I had forgotten entirely about my writing.  It languished upon the pixel-point display, an electronic ink-stained document reminding me of my depressingly procrastinating ways.  Typing the damned dissertation became too much a drudgery; I disregarded it entirely, focusing every nerve cell unto Lillith Rose.  Regardless, incoming research was sparse, so nothing notable surfaced in my e-mail.  If only I was writing Lillith as my thesis, then there would be a novel flourishing upon my desktop.
Were we a relationship, item, pair, couple?  We were less the aforementioned and more a concept: a fleeting connection of idealism, an illucid thought solidified through human beings.  That is to say, Lillith Rose represented more than a body—she anthropomorphized an idea I sought.
It was May 28th I decided to form a surprise visit to her home.  As any gentleman would, I purchased a bouquet of roses, that fragrant flower used to express feelings of affection.  The sky anguished in a cadet grey overcast as I drove to her house.  Raindrops.  Although I despised driving in the downpour, I convinced myself it could only bolster the romanticism.  The hour long drive melted into a brief minute the moment I began to fantasize over her.  Finally, I arrived and peered at her distant window.
I stood there.  If the drizzle wouldn’t drown me, my despondency would.  Standing several metres from her house, I could still see her fluid figure.  My tears amalgamated with the rain.  My clutch broke, releasing the fresh, innocent roses onto the cold and cracked concrete.
Right next to her were two youthful children, hugging her.  A man—a man was right by her side, kissing her on her soft, glossy lips.
Lillith Rose devoured my mind,
Lillith Rose devoured my heart.
 
 
 
 
________________
[1]Joseph Ralph Burton (1852-1923), US Senator from Kansas, indicted in front of grand jury.
[2]Henry Clay (1777-1852), US Senator from Kentucky, known as the “Great Compromiser”.
[3]since my youth.
[4]red dress
[5]Greek philosopher/author.  Classical Greece served as an important source of Humanist concepts.
[6]Morias Enkomion, which can be translated as “In Praise of More”, a reference to both Sir Thomas More, a friend of Erasmus’ and wanting more.
[7]real name.
[8]Famed French political philosopher who wrote theories and erotic literature.  Royalties from his pornographic novels were used to financially support his mistress.
[9]Speculated to be the ‘mascot’ of Starbucks -- a half-womanly, half-serpentine figure smiling, drawing in the unwary...
[10]Historian whose thesis on the American Frontier stated that America’s Frontier created an egalitarian society.  Much of this was based on the assertion that America no longer had a frontier after the Census of 1890.
[11]series of Treaties
[12]Kinsean, referring to Alfred E. Kinsey and Keyensian in reference to John Maynard Keynes.
[13]???????? ??? ????????, ????, she thought in Greek but
[14]kissed in french
[15]she spoke in the tongue romantic, philosophical.
[16]For those (foolishly) curious souls, these were her words:
“I do not see a union as a commitment, Francis.  You’re relying on what one may call the ‘Daniel Webster Card’, that the Constitution’s statement of ‘We the People’, thoroughly means ‘We the People’, a contract between people.  This is not truly the case, as far as the founding father’s were concerned.  In the original drafts, they stated ‘We the States’,” she sipped on her cappuccino,  “largely due to their fear that not all state were going to ratify, they altered it into We the People.  Regardless, we also possess our right to revolution.  Do you believe in the State of Nature?  I do.  If Madison and Jefferson saw an egregious violation of human dignity in the Alien and Sedition Acts, do you not see their justifications?  Jefferson penned the Declaration, he was no stranger to the concept of revolution; although nullification bore a legislative, rather than populist, revolution.  Although I am no secessionist and see no reason to divorce the Union, I would feel justified in nullifying it.”  The insanity of her hand movements as she spoke knocked over the cappuccino; she attempted to pick it back up as quickly as possible.  There was something karmic (and if not karmic, prophetic) about it all, despite the fact I was forced to clean it up.
[17]the Mantis
[18]A famous building designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
 
 
 
 


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