COMPETING WITH MARIA BRAUN

‘The Kiss V’ [1964] Roy Lichtenstein

Surely Maria had the same opinion about marriage as I did. I’m not talking about Maria Braun, the one whose marriage lasted one day and one night. The Maria I want to tell you about is another: I used to see this from the balcony of my house, during my sleepless nights.

She and her boyfriend gave each other the sweetest and most erotic kisses that I have ever seen in my life. Between them there was chemistry, but also physics and mathematics. I say mathematics because since she met him she became a lover of money, a being attached to earthly things.

Together, apart from delicious kisses, they prepared exquisite biscuits and cakes. They sold clothes: she was feminine and he was T-shirts. He taught classes in Technical Drawing and she in Childcare. I say that there was physics between them because one stormy day she indignantly climbed on the roof and wanted to take a high voltage cable in her hands.

Another reason I mention mathematics is because he religiously arrived at five to eight, at which time he drank an espresso; from eight to nine they practiced the lessons they would give at the high school the next day; from nine to ten they watched The Lady in Pink; from ten to eleven they watched one of the best Venezuelan comedies of the day, Roberta — and from eleven to one they locked themselves in a room that was down the alley.

The gossip was he gave her classes in Palmistry and Graphology, but I leaned towards Astrology because some mornings she’d tell me, “Last night I saw the stars.”

It must have been a spectacular sensation. The interesting thing is that when he proposed to her, she went to Spain to buy her trousseau. That happened on July 8th 1977 — and since that date she has not returned. There was much speculation by people on the block, but the fact is she never returned. Not even to see her ex-boyfriend.

After several years she sent me a letter in which she wrote: “I decided not to get married.”

“I do not have the temperament to be imprisoned with a man, when I can’t be sure I will love him for the rest of my days. If he’d asked me to be his concubine, that would have been a different matter — but not marriage. Marriage is the tomb of love. There is no contract that transforms people more.

“The love relationship becomes a domestic matter — and I do not want my life to be a domestic matter.”

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Psychiatrist & Writer — Writing and meditating at the intersection of psychiatry, philosophy, Buddhism and the arts. More information at www.lidaprypchan.com

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Lida Prypchan

Lida Prypchan

Psychiatrist & Writer — Writing and meditating at the intersection of psychiatry, philosophy, Buddhism and the arts. More information at www.lidaprypchan.com

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