The marital bed
February 11, 2009 § Leave a comment
It is one o’clock at night: Agnés and Paul are undressing. If they were asked to describe their partner’s motions at such times, they would be embarrassed. For a long time now they haven’t been looking at each other. Disconnected, their instrument of memory fails to record anything of those common nighttime moments that precede lying down in the marital bed.
The marital bed: the altar of marriage; and when one says altar, one implies sacrifice. Here one of them sacrifices for the other: both have trouble falling asleep, and their partner’s noisy breathing wakes them, so they wriggle toward the edge of the bed, leaving a broad space down the middle; they pretend to be sound asleep in the hope of making sleep easier for their partner, who will then be able to turn from side to side without disturbing the other. Unfortunately, the partner does not make use of this opportunity because he too (and for the same reason) pretends to be asleep and fears to budge.
Not being able to fall asleep and not allowing oneself to move: the marital bed.
– excerpt taken from the novel “Immortality” by Milan Kundera