Helen DeWitt

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Liberace talked on and on and on. Gradually as we drank more drinks Liberace talked more and more and more and asked more and more if he was boring me, and as a result it seemed less and less possible to leave, because if he wasn't boring me why would I want to leave?

Then I thought, there must be some other way not to listen to all this, and of course there was a way. Surely Liberace had brought me back here to pick me up. It would be rude to put a hand over his mouth, but if I were to put my mouth on his mouth this would stop him talking just as well without being rude. His eyes were large, a clear glass green, rimmed with black like the eyes of a nocturnal animal; it seemed as though, if I only kissed him, not only would I not have to listen to him, but I would somehow be closer to the animal with these beautiful eyes.

He said something, and paused, and before he could say anything else I kissed him and there was a sudden, wonderful silence. It was silent except for the silly little laugh of Liberace, but once he had laughed it was over whereas there was no end to his conversation.

I was still drunk, and I was still trying to think of things I could do without being unpardonably rude. Well, I thought, I could sleep with him without being rude, and so I responded in a suitable manner as he unbuttond the buttons of my dress.

This was a terrible mistake.

 

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