Story by Roman Payne: “Le Papillon de Vingt-Quatre Heures”

Le Papillon de Vingt-Quatre Heures

 

By Roman Payne

 

CHAPTER I

 

Ô, Muse of the Heart’s Passion,

let me relive my Love’s memory,

to remember her body, so brave and so free.

and the sound of my Wanderess singing to me,

and the scent of my Wanderess sleeping by me,

Ô, sing, sweet Muse, my soliloquy![1]

 

WHEN I TOUCHED HER BODY, I believed she was God.  In the curves of her form I found the birth of Man, the creation of the world, and the origin of all life.

She was Woman and I was Man; and our bodies lay naked on the bed, panting like two beaten and worn animals after a battle.  Our passionate combat had lasted for two beautiful days and nights in that wasted bedroom of hers on the rue de Turbigo in Paris.  During forty hours we made love, ceasing only momentarily to drink the necessary water and eat when our bodies required it; as our sexual battle exhausted our fuel supplies and our organs needed to be replenished to continue their feast.

It was still dark when we finished.  Four o’clock at the end of a night in spring, and Mademoiselle d’Odessa and I finally surrendered to the fatigue of our flesh; and feeling comfort in our nourished sexual appetites, we lay entwined to let sweet  sleep overtake us.  As we lay, we caressed each other languidly on the bed: thighs and limbs, taught abdomens, my hard chest, her soft breasts.  She said, “Look…” and pointed from her petite “lit de jeune fille,[2] across her bedroom to where a moth was flying upwards and bouncing off the yellow plaster.

Un papillon de vingt-quatre heures[3],” she told me.

I had never heard of a twenty-four-hour moth before and I asked her about it.  She said she once read a curious book about moths and butterflies and explained to me with great certainty that the species of moth on her wall had a lifespan of exactly twenty-four hours—that it had been born to her house for only one day and one night, so as to fly and to reproduce before dying.  She went on to talk of this moth and I was thoroughly enchanted.  I stroked her wonderful tummy as I watched that curious twenty-four hour moth; and what I did above all was to admire the luck of that creature.

“Why is it lucky?!” she asked, pounding me on the chest.

“Because,” I told her, “billions of its kind are born every season to live out their short lives in an empty basement or attic somewhere, down in the métro, or in a bank, or a ceramic factory or in a preschool.  But this lucky devil has lived every moment of its life in the aura of our naked bodies… two passionate human beings making love.”

She kissed me.  “I adore you.”

“I mean, can you imagine a creature who spends his entire life watching pornography?!”

I laughed through my nose at what I’d just said, but she just frowned and slapped my cheek.  She then rolled over and went to sleep, the funny girl.  I was so enlivened and inspired by our two days of lovemaking, however, that I thought of sleep as a great waste of time at that moment.  I had to write!  For writing is the only way to come down euphorically from love-making of such splendour and grandeur.

(If you want to read more, write to the author by clicking here)

 

FOOTNOTES

[1] Ô, MUSE […] MY SOLILOQUY:  As Payne is so greatly inspired by Homer, he begins this book, like some of his other books and stories, with a “Proem.”  A proem contains the introductory lines of a Homeric epic where the writer invokes the Muse to ask for the inspiration to write the epic. The mortal writer then reciprocates payment to the Muse in return for this inspiration by giving all credit to the Muse for having (literally) written the book for him or her. In the Iliad, the first line reads: ‘Rage—Goddess, sing the rage of Peleus’ son Achilles.’ In the Odyssey, Homer writes: ‘Sing in me, Muse, and through me tell the story of the man.’ Likewise, Payne’s first line, ‘Ô, sing me, sweet Muse, my soliloquy’ implies that his soliloquy [this novel] was conceived not by him, but by his Muse. [Editor]

[2] LIT DE JEUNE FILLE: (fr) ‘Young girl’s bed.’ The childhood bed of a women that is often preserved in its juvenile form in her parent’s house after she is grown.

[3] UN PAPILLON DE VINGT-QUATRES HEURES: (fr) ‘A 24-hour butterfly’ is the literal translation. This is a play on the term ‘papillon de nuit’ (‘butterfly of the night,’ which is a moth. It is interesting (and disturbing) how living things are degraded when we add the suffix ‘of the night.’  A butterfly becomes a moth. And while a ‘girl’ is valuable. A ‘girl of the night’ is shameful. Why is it so dishonorable to be nocturnal? Cannot some prefer the moon to the sun? [Payne]

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“The Love of Europa” (Novel) Prologue

PROLOGUE

WHEN I TOUCHED HER BODY, I believed she was God.  In the curves of her form I found the birth of Man, the creation of the world, and the origin of all life.

She was Woman and I was Man.  Our bodies lay naked on the bed, panting like two beaten and worn animals.  Our bedroom resembled a battlefield.  Our passionate combat had lasted two days: forty-hours of straight love-making where we ceased only momentarily every so often to drink the necessary water and to eat, for our sexual exercise exhausted our fuel supplies.

Now, when the sunlight of another morning flooded the room to bake our bodies that were blown, expired and intertwined on the sheets, I thought to leave her to sleep so that I could begin again my work, which I had put off since she and I reunited.  Ah, happy I was to be at my desk this day!, for beautiful writing comes easily following a love-night with one’s Muse; and writing is the only way I have found to joyfully come down from sexual euphoria.

I kissed her earlobe and tasted the salt left over from our passion; and enjoying the taste infinitely, I kissed it once again, and then one time again; but this renewed affection of mine stirred the tired girl who began to purr with enjoyment, but she needed her sleep.  And so, I dragged myself from this most perfect of beings on this holiest of mornings and went to my desk at the windows overlooking the smoky souks and bazaars of Marrakech and set ink to paper.

What to write?  Our sensual battle had been so intense—so musical—that this morning commanded poetry instead of prose: verses to honor the divine female sleeping near me.  Thus, I drafted out the following lines…

 

The Wine of a Woman

Ô, the wine of a woman

from heaven is sent,

more perfect than all

that a man can invent.

Well, she came to my bed

and she begged me with sighs

not to tempt her towards passion

nor actions unwise.

I told her I’d spare her

and kissed her closed eyes,

then unbraided her body

of its clothing disguise

While our bodies were nude

bathed in candlelight fine

I devoured her mouth,

tender lips divine;

and I drank through her thighs

her feminine wine.

 

Ô, the wine of a woman

from heaven is sent,

more perfect than all

that a man can invent.

 

…And being very satisfied with what I had written, I decided I was ready now to move on to “heroic prose,” which is what I give you now in the following novel.  I hesitate on the title.  For now, I will call it The Love of Europa: The Story of a Wanderer and Wanderess.

Nocturne N°2 (Introduction)

I wrote Nocturne N°3 during one night that lasted seventeen hours—one of those long nights in winter when the sun barely rises in the day.  It is a nocturnal ode to my Muse who slept through all seventeen hours of the night, during which time I wrote franticly, passionately; for even the memory of cradling her in my arms is pure euphoria.  And all that I ask out of life is that it be constant and unending euphoria.  And so I write.  Now if you love this book unconditionally, then I will love you unconditionally.  If, however, you think this book needs a proper edit to be good, remember that I wrote it in a spree—one nocturnal, hypomanic spree—and stopped the moment my Muse woke up.  For loving her is another type of poetry.

                

     (Nocturne N°2 Coming soon)