The Erotic Études Opus VI

Étude VI - Abed

Étude I - Ludwig (I)

My attention was drawn to the slight feeling of warm fingers resting on my shoulder, and gradually moving toward my arm, and down, drifting lazily, pleasantly along the back of my arm, around my elbow, slowly moving, off my arm and over the bone of my hip and downward. As it paused, I turned, stirring slightly at the movement of the hand, my head turning, seeking, toward his face...

And woke. I was alone, now fully awake, slightly confused, and half-aroused by the dream of Gisbert's caressing hand on my naked flesh. The sense of a presence next to me in my bed, persisted, faintly but definitely, and I sighed, as the dream of him faded into a less perfect memory, and once again a pang of sadness struck me with the force of a blow beneath my ribs, followed rapidly by a pounding headache caused by excessive drinking the night before.

The sun was high. I had overslept, again. With no one to wake me or prepare the coffee, I felt adrift, aimless, and unwilling to wake with the rising sun, as I did at other times when I had a roommate or companion. There was no one now: Emil, who had practically driven me out of Leipzig with his scorn; Reuter, who had tended me during my last months of depression before leaving Leipzig, and now resituated in N?rnburg with a new practice and no time even for letters; and now this latest, Gisbert, who had asked me to find a new accommodation after my return from Italy.

It was an unhappy reunion. He would not come with me, despite my begging, and securing enough money for his passage to Milan; and this, I could not quite comprehend. And before leaving, he also refused my advances, even though we would not see one another for two months. And so I felt justified, while away, to explore the entertainments that were offered me. But fleeing into the stressful months of my lonesome Italian holiday would not cure the pain in my chest. I rose, barely able to find my clothes and pull them on before an early fall chill touched my bare skin and caused me to shiver from head to toe. Somehow, the chill set off an even deeper, more profound sadness, and I collapsed back onto my pillow, weeping.

My timing was unfortunate. Lying half dressed, trousers around my knees, face wet with weeping, I was ill prepared for the housekeeper, who had already managed to catch me abed twice in a single week. Perhaps thinking me ill, she did not pause at the door as she usually did but hurried to my side, and placed a hand on my shoulder.

"Herr Schumann, what is wrong?" she asked, her voice little more than a whisper. The hand on my shoulder, which drifted down my arm, with the uncanny caress I had felt in my dream, caused me to startle, and I turned toward the hand, which reached over and touched the tears on my cheek, as though to staunch them. I looked up at the face, which frowned down at me in my misery.

"Nothing, Frau Stenzl. Feeling sorry for myself. Too hard to get dressed in the morning," I laughed wryly at my disheveled, undressed condition.

"Nonsense!" she said, and reached with either hand for my collar, and I caught them before she managed to fasten the buttons.

"No, please. I'd rather just lie here as I am."

"Certainly not!" she objected, and exerted some force to pull away from my grasp, but another idea had been introduced by the brief caress on my shoulder, and I tugged her toward me, and she lost her balance, but not before I had placed a solid kiss upon her mouth. She sat back up, blushing. "I suppose I deserved that, for coming into the bedroom of a man who is undressed." She straightened up then, and rose, casting a doubtful look upon me. "Herr Schumann, I think it's time you got dressed." And she turned and retreated to the kitchen, closing the door modestly behind her.

With a sigh, I put myself together, smoothed out my wrinkles, found my cigarette case and frock coat, and prepared to meet the day.

•   •   •   •


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The Erotic Etudes Index

[ I ]   [ II ]   [ III ]   [ IV ]   [ V ]   [ VI ]   [ VII ]   [ VIII ]   [ IX ]
[ X ]   [ XI ]   [ XII ]   [ XIII ]   [ XIV ]   [ XV ]   [ XVI ]   [ XVII ]   [ XVIII ]

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