"Did you know that official time is not true solar time?" I ask, nonchalantly sipping my whiskey, pushing my glasses straight up my nose and putting on a mysterious grin. Even as I walked into the gray bar of the Novotel at Heathrow Airport, her long legs ran into my eye like the waving of a red flag on a gaur. Her blonde locks flapped with every tap of her stiletto heels on the wooden floor. Her yellow aura shone gold on the gray interior in which my pot-bellied colleagues hung puffily in brown seats. Through her, the painful memory of the dull congress day faded and my anticipation for the night revived. Her tight suit displayed lechery and the name tag on her left breast betrayed that she was addressing a conference for venture fund managers.
She yawned, but did not look sleepy. It's ten-thirty at night. Not solar time. That one is sleeping.
"People use a fictitious sun, called the mean sun, for the definition," I say. "This fictitious sun they make move at constant speed throughout the year."
A reddish-haired accountant with a striped suit plotted to score her attention by doing Joey Tribbiani's "How are you doing?"-move, but she shot him down with no chance. A broad-shouldered youngster with dreadlocks and a Rolex, rolled his conquest tanks ahead, but ran roughshod over her impregnable fortress. Like a German in Russia. She took a seat on the stool next to mine and allowed me to shift my stool, sat closer to her and offered her a glass of Chardonnay. Also a second and a third. She smelled my Johnnie Walker Blue Label and whispered that whiskey gets her drunk very quickly. She winked at the redheaded administrator, smiled at the Rolex man and, peering unblinkingly into my eyes, said that this day had not yet brought her what she expected of it.
Not only that, but she confessed to have studied economics. Because everyone brags about the size of their investment fund, how many portfolio companies they sold to suckers and how many dollars it brought them. Dollars and euros. Because everyone is blathering on about how many bathrooms their penthouse has. That they count how many toilets they own and rent out, cumulatively, and that their ski vacations with private jets cost ordinary people's annual salaries. Only one leg. Then you still have to fly back. Another year's wages wasted. That all anyone is doing, is collecting money and that that collection is never big enough. She wanted to be a real scientist, like me. Because that's what I am. An academic, escaped from the laboratory for a while. She dreamed of pursuing true insights, she wanted to seek deeper views, discover the world experimentally, and experience unplanned daredevilry. Brimming with theoretical ambitions. Did she know how limited the shelf life of scientific theories is? Did she think in the morning when smearing her cheeks with clouds of foundation, gaping at the lushness and splendor, that Mother Nature bestowed on her, that time is the greatest enemy? And yet relative? Her words did not fascinate me, her appetizing lips that broke them out all the more. I yearned to grasp her model head, to caress her blondness, to love her, to minnow her dreams, to kiss her and consume her display, to devour her. What a picture. A paradigm runaway from the shooting of Miss Universe's swimsuit special, or from Calvin Klein's catwalk. Too bad about the Adidas stripes in her eyebrows. Had she fallen? Due to a scar, no hair left? Or did she shave this flaw in herself to emphasize her perfection?
Her perfume makes me dream of sultry nights on African beaches and underwater pools full of blue-green, black-yellow and orange-white coral fish. We stare at the underwater creatures, laugh at their ridiculous color choices, feast on lobster legs, suck spoonfuls of caviar and sip Dom Pérignon. I drum on her thigh, she beckons the waiter and wordlessly orders the next bottle of champagne. She shifts a little so that my fingers drum higher and get warmer. The idea that everything revolves around a fictional sun, I find fitting. It's how you tell your story, how you describe it and cram it full of fragrant and colorful details, add believable specifics, and meticulously lay it all out on a consistent timeline, that makes whether your gibberish is labeled true, or dismissed as fictional. And by the by, you don't want to fall through.
The dreary hotel music bothers me. It hinders my flow and doesn't fit my conquering mission. I search for a deejay. Has this joint not, of course. The Novotel is not The Shard. And this bar is not a skylounge. Otherwise, I put a fifty-pound flap in the good man's hand and ordered him to plop some of Prince on his turntable. "Good choice, sir," he then said winking and handed me back the banknote. Was on his playlist anyway. Little Red Corvette. And Let's go crazy. Don't forget to live now. In this life. It's all we have. It seems to be. She coughs. In her blue eyes shines how I will carry them to my suite: in the hallway she walks behind, when I open the room door for her, she walks ahead. A goddess like a true sun.
"The true sun is not regular," I say, "sometimes she walks ahead, then she walks behind. And although the shortest day of the year is three days ago, ..." I pause for dramatic effect, as everyone does. Making it clear that although I am mysterious, scientific and learned, I can still be accessibly familiar. Like a long-unseen friend from another period of life, after fifteen minutes of tattling, feels familiar again, spreading safety. I tap my index finger next to my glass on the bar, peer into her bosom, and glint enigmatically. If you concentrate well, sometimes glittering becomes showing off and shining. For light is vibration, just as thoughts vibrate and emotions oscillate. It comes down to finding the right frequency, holding it, and radiating it. I say: "Today is even more special!"
Her frown relaxes and she smiles with relief that I don't keep reciting. That it's becoming more concrete. More manageable. She strokes her fingers along her cheek, over her nose to her hair, rolls a lock into a spiral and releases the spiral. The lock springs back to its original position as if there never was a spiral. A fictional spiral. Like my sun. And her sun time. She drinks her glass empty. I order a fourth white wine. The warmth of her leg glows through my pants. A drop of sweat rolls down my back. Showering together first, or does that destroy spontaneity? Does a shower slow down true lust, and does reason ram the adventure? Because thinking shatters passion. Joey Tribbiani and bookkeeper take turns ogling her and me. Shattered by passion.
In the corner of the bar, a biker chick with a green crest bangs her fist hard on a pinball machine. I'm startled by the siren that screams out the game jumping on tilt. What is this lowlife doing in this airport hotel bar? A disturbing element in my perfectly set scene: scientist scores model by promising her the world in London. But this doesn't have to be a perturbation. I can use it to my advantage. I point at the piece of miscreant. "There's a lollygag escaped from the loony bin," I whisper in her ear. I blow gently on her earlobe. Works every time. The earlobe is too often underestimated. A great starting point for nibbling, sucking and as a landing strip for sweet words and naughty fantasies. My conquest smiles enigmatically, exposing her white teeth. Bingo! This little bird has a winner.
"Right today," I say, "right now true time equals fictional time!" I hop on my stool like an eager toddler and take her hands in mine to cheer together, celebrate together. As an affirmation of the uniqueness of this moment, to magnify its greatness. For true greatness depends on complete wisdom. We act as we do because we are what we are: biological beings in the fall. In the fall of the sun and its time. In contrast to the colossal amount of spiritual greatness required to love The Human, so minuscule is required to love her. Goes naturally. I squeeze her goddess hands. Her skin is jovially warm and velvety. A sparkle shines in a silver ring on her right hand. Not a wedding ring. Checked earlier. Maybe engaged? Ah well, promised is not bought yet.
"Only today is everything real," I say like a child on St. Nicholas Day, at the top of the stairs, waiting to be allowed down, elated to discover what goodies the good man smuggled down the chimney. Gingerbread, chocolate and a box of tangerines? Or is it that new toy? That toy you had wanted for so long? The one you lay awake on every night and then, finally after counting many sheep, dreamed of?
In the seas that display her eyes, traghetto gondolas cruise past islands of green where seals flap and enjoy the evening sun. I melt. This feminine specimen is no conquest, no temporary intake, no one-night material. I squeeze her hands even tighter and watch her say yes in a cathedral adorned with white lilies and purple orchids, the priest declaring us woman and man and all her model friends in the front row sobbing with swaying cleavage, weeping mascara to rubble and ranting that she used up all the luck to strike me. They implore the universe that it is up to them now, that it may serve them with a bright husband, a ravishing love for life, a partner until death do us part, and beyond, of course, for true happiness must last forever. Infinity as a sacred goal, even though it has no real value and is no number, no amount of time.
The pinball girl clad in a Hells' Angels shirt stomps up to us, slips between our bar stools and whips our hands loose. Substantially tattooed arms like an adult anaconda, a heavy nose ring and a metal eyebrow bar, the manly woman growls menacingly.
"Thanks for feeding my sweetheart wine, little professor," says the biker woman, and sticks her tongue deep in the throat of the love of my life.
A sin of true time.