Heart in 12 parts

Simon Tegala leaned his back against the wall of the American Embassy and held her against him. It was an electrical event. Small voltages spread through their limbs. She said, Honey, that was a test burn. She heard his heart sounds: lub dup lub dup lub dup. She noted they were fifth in the queue for visas. Naomi was the Newton of atomic kissing; erotic radioactivity buzzed through her blackberry lips. They had been told to produce proof of identity in triplicate. Driving license, passport and a household bill. Naomi would not let Simon Tegala see the photograph in her passport. She said, Stop looking for me. I am here standing next to you listening to your heart sounds. He knew that her lips were the only country he wanted to be in.

Simon Tegala decided to throw the I Ching to discover if Naomi loved him. At that moment the phone rang. While his father’s voice disappeared into his answering machine Naomi walked into his apartment carrying something for supper wrapped in wax paper. When she asked him why he was so quiet and what he was thinking about, he said SHAKING. My father has Parkinson’s disease. They salted the chicken and cooked it in its own sweet juices while the phone rang again. His father’s voice said AMERICA and then it said DID YOU GET YOUR VISA and then he said other words which upset Simon Tegala. DON’T LIVE FAR AWAY. Naomi pointed to a red felt hat that hung on the coat hook in Simon Tegala’s kitchen. He told her it was a fez and she told him it was a chechia. What is a chechia, her boyfriend wanted to know. It’s a fez, she replied. And then she said, shall we go and visit your father and take him a cake?

Later, Naomi said to Simon Tegala, I want you to touch my body in the following order:
3. My ear
5. My belly
Simon Tegala’s heart is a biomachine beating hard and fast as he searches for the missing numbers.


Simon Tegala’s Heart In 12 Parts In Deborah Levy, Black Vodka, Bloomsbury USA (June 10, 2014)

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