A short fragment from “The Training of Joy”
“His reply sounded dry and sharp, like a blow of a katana. He brutally shut down all the feelings I had developed for him over the few days we spent together. My soul was frozen as if he had thrown me into a frozen lake. In my mind, I saw him take me in his arms and toss me on the ice which cracks and I fall into the deep, and then I swim back to the surface with my hair wet, with a desperate stare, holding on to the sharp edges of the broken ice, while the cold liquid under the thick layer of ice slows down my bloodstream and paralyzes my senses. The image I had was unexpectedly clear. I saw the lake, the woods around it, I heard the loud sounds of the birds of prey, the wolves’ howl from the invisible meadows behind the tall trees, I could smell the frost in my nostrils and I felt the cold air penetrating my lungs, and my body was paralyzing, second by second, until I could not move my fingers, which had become purple. My mind went crazy, like following an order. What if Tenam was a charlatan? He was not the first one I met. All my life I met men who hunted the fortunes of women, but my assets were embarrassingly impoverished. A car and a few thousand euros left in my account after saving as much as I could, living at the airfield, in Victor’s hangar.
With a supreme effort I detached myself from my chair and went to the sink where I turned on the hot water, letting it flow through my fingers which I still felt frozen, following the imagination that triggered a real physical reaction and I began to wash the dishes in silence, slowly, while I was trying to make a conscious effort not to think about Tenam. It was difficult to focus, as a result of the mental shock Tenam’s request subjected me and gradually, by imposing my will on the inner language, I accepted Victor’s arrival as auspicious and I shall go back to Bucharest with him. I was planning on solving things between us and asking him to help me once again with school and accommodation. While I was cleaning the kitchen, Tenam watched me without saying a word. I was just as silent and I avoided having eye contact with him. All my love, all my sexual desire had faded and I analyzed how stupid I had been. After I finished the work in the kitchen, I had to face the next moment. I had to say something and, above all, I had to sleep somewhere. No way was I going to sleep with him.”