The Circus Orgasmist
Luis Molina Lora
Translated by: Trish Van Bolderen
Artwork by Anonymous
Simulating pleasure is in some cases a matter of survival, in others, emotional suicide, and in the most innocent of cases, nonsense. This rhetoric transcends what Andrea learned in her late teens: that you have to keep guys happy, satisfied, quiet, fulfilled, and hypnotized by sex, which, when administered wisely, could reward you handsomely for all your hard work. Andrea’s reasons were sincere, despite the circus act she staged each time a guy screwed her. She thought that her sighs, her smooth-talk and her carefully coordinated convulsions would be enough to ensure her partner’s satisfaction and to found, sustain and secure a happy relationship. And she was right, in part. By spinning yarns and acting out soap operas, she endured ten years of marriage, sprouted two children, and successfully sidestepped the common course of taking a lover.
Andrea was happy, had a successful husband, two healthy kids and a crap job that allowed her to pay for some of her personal expenses, luxury items. The tiring daily routine of two mischievous children, a demanding husband and pressure from a job that was as irritating as it was trivial had driven Andrea to discover another purpose for the very theatrics that had once helped her land a husband: getting him out of her hair. Finishing the whole thing off with three dramatic screams, leaving him to believe he was the best lover on the East Coast. It worked every time.
No one doubted that Andrea’s home housed a successful partnership. After all, they both had a job, they had two family cars, a house of their own, two teenagers who were about to start university, and a stable emotional life based on an intense, though shaky and one-sided, sexual dynamic.
When their youngest left home, Andrea suddenly felt she had lost several years of her life. Finding herself alone forced her to rethink her own happiness, starting with the pleasures she hadn’t been able to give herself for so many years. Among them, switching careers, finding a better job, having liposuction on her belly and buttocks, and taking full advantage of the loving communion between her and her husband. Without saying a word to him, Andrea set out to remedy the mistakes that arise when the dominoes of circumstance outstrip wisdom on the path of everyday decision-making. Going back to university wasn’t feasible; finding a new job right away wouldn’t be so easy without another degree, even if it were just a technical one; the liposuction was only a matter of picking a date since she’d already saved up the money; and the issue of honest, face-to-face sex was only a matter of time since now there were just her and the husband she had managed to catch, and there was no pressure from the absent children. This was her time, she told herself. Nearly twenty years spent satisfying others and neglecting her own pleasure. She’d start by setting aside the circus act, the elaborate fiction, the theatrics, the drama and the fake moaning in order to devote herself to feeling and to letting her mouth express what can’t be communicated with the body—the stuff that escapes through one’s lips without thoughts intervening.
That same weekend after dinner, instead of watching a family movie, they locked themselves in the bedroom as if they still lived in a crowded house. After the first few moments of work, her husband felt something wasn’t quite right, like something had changed her. He kept on with the familiar recipe of kissing her here, touching her there, uttering magic words, holding off. After several minutes of the usual intense genital stimulus, minus the colourful results, he finally asked, “What’s wrong?” She abandoned the plan she had devised of gathering up small details, moments of tension, and high points in hopes of later letting herself go (like when she sometimes played with herself), because it would be impossible that day, with the clock’s pendulum swinging back and forth, asking her what the hell was going on. To avoid elaborate and rather slippery explanations, she chose instead to stage yet another carnival, sparklers and all, full of the flavours, Alka Seltzers and colours that ended up fooling him as well. It worked every time. The next day, she tried again. But with the same results: “What’s going on? Is it early menopause?” He wasn’t joking. “It’s just that I can’t stop thinking about the liposuction,” she lied.
Despite the initial disconnect, Andrea didn’t give up on the idea of resetting the path. But not because she was more concerned with her husband than with herself; it’s that she was starting to believe that enjoying the sexual pleasure she’d been depriving herself of could, in itself, be as gratifying as pleasing her partner. Two weeks later and still caught in the gentle but indecipherable waves, Andrea received an anonymous note informing her of a mistress.
And since one bad decision always leads to another, the wife didn’t have the slightest doubt that what she needed to do now was restore the good that had been lost. So that same day, with neither reproach nor her husband’s consent, Andrea drove four stakes into the house and stretched out the largest and most colourful big top anyone had ever seen.
Luis Molina Lora was born in Colombia. He has a B.A. in Literature from the Universidad del Valle (Cali) and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Spanish from the University of Ottawa. He has co-authored the novel La sucursal del cielo and co-edited the anthologies Retrato de una nube and Las imposturas de eros.
Trish Van Bolderen holds a B.F.A in Dance and an M.A. in Translation, and is researching self-translation practices in Canada for her doctorate at the University of Ottawa. She has organized events for the Literary Translators’ Association of Canada (LTAC) and translates works from French and Spanish into English.