Winter. Mating behaviour in fish and humans

My long pearl, aquamarine and sapphire earrings are dancing along my bare neckline, highlighting my red lipstick – a murder scene under merciless stage lights. The piles of soft snow in front surround four human standing statues stooping and then rising again slowly, their barely perceptible moves forcing us to squint and speak in low voices.

I panic when I can’t find my phone and go back to the cloak room to search for it desperately in the pockets of my coat. “Thank you!” I tell the lady holding my coat, but I’m actually talking to God again, wiping the shiny sweat drops off my forehead. Communication or the illusion of it is reestablished.  My white phone, matching the snow on the stage is back, clutched by my graceful hand.

“Hey, wait a minute. Sit here and talk to me. Say something. I am your woman.” this drunk middle aged blonde shouts to this confused man dragging his feet through the white snow.

To put it very shortly, they have an affair in his hotel. They’re both married. “Very married”, she says. His wife calls several times. Eventually he is told there’s no need for him to return home anymore. He’s got two kids, too.  “Do you love me?” the middle aged blonde asks. “Yes”, he answers hesitantly. “Very much?” she insists. “Yes”, he retorts. “You have to go home, you’ll be very unhappy here.”

All this time, this other couple, a younger and somehow ‘cleaner’, more authentic one, lacking the hesitations and attachments of the other one, are showing us what’s really going on, their real interactions. And I’m thinking we need that. A double showing people what’s really going on inside while we’re struggling for words or gestures. Too few of us ever take the time to look beyond hesitations, preconceptions, fears and pretexts.

I straighten up and my white pearls are softly bumping against my skin, my collarbones pushing from under the black blouse like dolphins pushing their backs from below the surface of the blue water.  The sapphires and aquamarines lend my neck that watery feeling and if the tip of a tongue were tasting my skin right now I’m sure it’d pick up a faint salty trace.

Their love making is a swim through the piles of snow, a flight, a plunge into a white ocean, a conversation among muscles and bones and sweat. And in the morning it becomes nothing but a memory. For him. She completely forgets about it. So the next day their interaction puts on a clumsy gown over jerky moves.

Today I stumble upon this info about the way angler fish mate. In the depth of the ocean, so vast and dark, when a male picks up the pheromones of a female, he follows them as she’s flashing “her bioluminescent lure”. When he finds her, he bites a hole into her belly and he latches on and gradually their bodies fuse and their blood vessels join together, so the male starts taking all his nutrients from the female’s body. Therefore, the male does not swim on his own anymore, nor does he feed on his own or even see with his own eyes. And the organs that he no longer needs atrophy to the point that he becomes nothing more than a lump hanging from the body of the female, being fed by her body and providing sperm for her to spawn. They become one.

For us, people, that is gross and scary. We do not want that. So why do we still lament that we do not have that? We do not really want such fusion. And yet we look for someone to complete us, help us become whole. We look for someone to give up entirely who they are so that together we can become someone new. Someone to give us a good reason to finally commit suicide. Leave behind everything we used to be. Don’t we? So that we can start fresh. A totally new life.

We never find that because we do not really want that. None of us do. What we really should be looking for is to start a new life, if that is what our hearts say, regardless of our partnership status. And if someone does come along, I’m sure neither of us wants one to bite a whole into the other’s body and crawl inside, lose organs and identity and just provide something that’s missing. But rather to swim side by side. For as long as we share a common direction, similar rhythm and are good company for each other during the journey.

And so, by the end of the play, when the audience, struck by the freezing winter cold, are hesitant in showering the performers with their painful applause, my red lips promise to stop running and stop hunting illusions. Or confirmations, for that matter. They finally know their worth.

PS Reflections written on a tango playlist background and caused by attending “Winter” last night, written by Jon Fosse – a dance show on at the Nottara theater in Bucharest, directed by Mihai Maniutiu and choreographed by Andreea Gavriliu.