Black Vodka

‘I am going home,’ she tells me. She beckons to a vacant taxi on the other side of the road and all the time the warm rain falls upon us like the tears in my dream. Her voice is gentle. Rain does that to voices. It makes them intimate and suggestive. While the taxi does a U-turn she stands behind me and presses her hands into my hump as if she is listening to it breathe. And then she takes her forefinger and traces around it, getting an exact sense of its shape. It’s the kind of thing cops do to a corpse with a piece of chalk. Now Lisa bends down and opens the door of the taxi. As she slides her long legs into the back seat, she shouts her destination to the driver.
‘Tower Bridge.’
He nods and adjusts the meter.
When she smiles I can see her sharp white teeth.
‘Look, you know that Richard is my boyfriend – but why don’t you come home with me and compare notes on those vodkas?’
I don’t need any persuading. I jump in beside her and slam the door extra hard. As the cab pulls out, Lisa leans forwards and starts to kiss me. Does she want to know more about my habits and beliefs and how I live? Or is she curious to find out if her sketch of Homo sapiens was an accurate representation of my body?
The meter is going berserk like my heartbeat while the moon drifts over the wildlife gardens of the Natural History Museum. Somewhere inside it, pressed under glass, are twelve ghost moths (Hepialus humuli), of earliest evolutionary lineage. These ghosts once flew in pastures, dropped their eggs to the ground and slept through the day. There is so much of the world to record and classify, it’s hard to know how to find a language for it. So I am going to start exactly where I am now. Life is beautiful! Vodka is black! Pears are naked! Rain is horizontal! Moths are ghosts. Only some of this is true, but you should know that this does not scare me as much as the promise of love.

Black Vodka In Deborah Levy, Black Vodka, Bloomsbury USA (June 10, 2014)

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