The Seasons
by Alexander Laurence

"Where was I," he said to himself. surely not a place that he knew or was familiar with. The man was thirty years old. He had been walking for days, lost. Was it the green fields of Oregon? He did not know. He was not always the best person for names and places. He was wandering in the hills. Darkness came and went, came and went....

Before then, the last person. he remembered talking with a woman who studied Art History at Skidmore College. They talked about Renaissance painting and especially the work of David. He did not know where this college was, except that it was on the east coast somewhere. Some college town?

Temperature, the experience of. warm, then it got cold. For a few days. It was summer. Really, he did not pay much attention to the weather. He could not experience it in a vacuum. There was no weather to him. There was no sense of the clothes he was wearing. He was comfortable. He remembered: "it was summer." It might have been winter.

The green fields. the fields gave way to tall trees and mountains. The wind blew. He saw a stream. A rocky beach. The idea of a city had not existed in his mind for some time. He was in nature, interacting with nature. Leaves falling in the water. On the ground. Magnolia trees. These leaves will disappear....

The water that he drank. he walked up to the edge of the stream and knelt. He washed his face in the cold water. He drank the green water. He heard a voice in his mind that maybe this was not a good idea, drinking the water. Thirst was affecting him. He had walked many hours.

The sky and the stars. he slept and he dreamt. Near a stone and a tree, his body rested. Still, he heard the stream flow all night. He woke up during the night. He looked up.

The stream flowed. the red waters turned green as he stared into his reflection. At a distance, cold waters reflected the sun a thousand times. Still red waters where he finally saw the moon.

The house. a paper house. White with bamboo corners. Supports. Square in the midst of the forest. As he climbed up the mountains, he started to see it better. A small house between two mountains. The stream had led him to it. Once again, he stopped and listened to the sound of the waters. Swirling.

He had a hallucination of the house. it was really a house made of bricks and mortar. Red bricks, and it resembled a castle. On top of one of the towers, he saw a woman with blond hair. Her hair visible from a balcony, her hair windblown.

No bricks, no woman. the house was made of wood. Two boys ran up to this house with a torch each in their hands. They lit it on fire. All three of them, the man and the two boys, watched it burn. After a minute or so, the paper house appeared again in place of the smoke and ashes. The man rubbed his eyes. The smoke remained in the air above the house.

Before the house was a beautiful garden. roses, gardenias, chrysanthemums, petunias, heliotropes, tulips, gladiolus, and lilies. A bee landed on the petal of a lily. Red roses, white roses, and pink roses. The smell of mint.

He plucked. he took a tulip and brought it to his nose and tasted and smelled it. He thought of the ocean. He remembered fires that never ended. He remembered legs kicking violently. He picked up a rose. He looked at the rose: it changed colors in his hand. The sun disappeared. Flowers closed. He put it down.

A Japanese woman at the door of the white paper house. as he reached the door of the house, a woman appeared. She was about thirty years old, and dressed like a Geisha. She smiled. She had red lips. She said nothing and took his hands. They walked inside the house.

The frame of the door. as he entered the house, he ran into the frame. Pound! He cut his hand accidentally. He started to bleed. He wiped his hand on the front door. After a minute, blood seemed to be everywhere. It would not stop. He hit his hand against the wall to stop the bleeding. The Geisha looked at the red door. She took his hand again and took him to the first room.

The red door.

The first room. a fireplace. The fire had just been started. He remembered that he saw some black smoke coming from the chimney. The fire reminded him of grease.

The photographs on the wall. in that room there were three photographs in gold frames of the family. In the first one, there were two older adults, a man and a woman, wrinkled faces. In the second photograph to the right of the first one was a portrait of the Geisha and a younger girl with blond hair. In the third picture were two boys slightly older than the girl in the second portrait. The Geisha talked about the history of her family.

The girl with the blond hair. the Geisha made the man believe that this girl was her daughter. "But you do not have blond hair" he said. She explained to him that "my first husband had blond hair like you." The man did not have blond hair.

The second room was the bedroom of the two boys. one side of the room had a globe, maps, charts, things to do with science. The other side of the room had books of poetry and literature. In the room, also, were two beds at each wall facing one another. The man peered out a window to the back of the house where he saw a large forest. Coming out of the forest he saw the two boys. They were about fifteen years old and had dark hair. They were singing some folk songs. "At the edge, that's where we stand...."

The third room was that of the daughter with blond hair. in this room, on the walls, there were many paintings. Some Japanese prints. Dealing with Buddhist themes. Some others were oil paintings that were realistic portrayals. The Geisha talked about each one and told him what they meant.

The paintings. one, a nude woman lying in bed. Her temperament was sexual. She was lying on the bed partially nude. Before her was a young boy observing the woman. Behind his back was the woman's purse which the boy had his hand in, unseen, unknown to the woman. He was stealing money possibly. Light filtered through the shutters. Two, was a scene having to do with medieval knights and the Holy Grail, suggesting a narrative about Arthurian legend. Three, was a young blond girl standing in a river. During the night. The moon was in the sky. The river was slightly red in color.

The explanation. the Geisha told him that the first one was about a young man's sexual initiation. That the second one was about love. That the third one was about promiscuity.

The next room was a kitchen. the Geisha asked him if he was hungry. He said "yes." He sat down at a table where two older people, very much like those in the photograph, were already seated. The two elders did not speak to each other. They were all served a hot soup which the man ate his portion very quickly. The old woman spoke to the other old man "you were beautiful once, like him." She had no teeth.

The stream. he walked outside to wash his face and hands. When he finished, he saw the young daughter. She walked up to him. She greeted him and said "today's my birthday, I'm fourteen." The young girl with blond hair kissed the man. She ran inside the house.

Her lips. they tasted like strawberries.

Or maybe peaches?. mangoes, grapes, apricots, oranges....

He was not alone. the two boys had been watching him as he kissed the girl with blond hair. He ran after them as if to fight them. They ran back into the forest.

The boys light another fire. the man saw them start a fire that would soon have reached the house. He urinated on the fire. The fire was soon put out. The boys stayed in the forest.

The front door, revisited. again, he ran into the sides of the door and a big thud was heard throughout the house. The opening of the door was too small and not wide enough for him. It was easier leaving than entering.

As he entered. he entered the only room that he had not been in yet -- the bedroom. It was similar to the other rooms in that it contained everything that the other rooms had: pictures, books, maps, paintings.... As he entered the room, the Geisha was on the bed, nude, lying on her back. She was pale, white. She had smooth skin. She rose, put on a robe and then showed him some other photographs which were on her golden drawer.

The photographs of the family. the first picture was of the Geisha and the man as old people. They had aged, hair greyed, faces wrinkled. The second was a portrait of a mother and a child. The third picture was of two boys who are twins and who resembled the man.

She. took off his clothes and gave him a massage. He rested on his belly. He rested. The Geisha told him a story about a man who searches for his dead father. After a while, the man got up and also put on a robe.

The drawer. the Geisha opened up the shelves of the golden drawer which she opened with a single key which hung from a chain around her neck.

The bed of the grandparents. he stepped over to the bed where the grandparents were sleeping. He looked at the old man. His eyes were closed and they were blinking. The old man opened his eyes and said "I am dreaming." The man said "I know. Go back to sleep." The old man closed his eyes. The Geisha started to show the man things.

In the golden drawer. boxes of all shapes and sizes. A bag full of blond hair. Games. A map of the area. Dried roses. Musical bells. Herbs and incenses. Tonics. Old letters. A glass case with a severed penis.

The fire in the fireplace. the Geisha stuck the log with a poker. The fire grew. Warmness blew through the room. She begun to dance, frantically. The man watched her. He wondered about the penis in the glass case. Whose was it?

He looked out the window. fresh air was what he needed. He saw the young girl with blond hair again. She was naked. She urinated on the ground near a tree. She looked at him till she finished, then she turned around and jumped in the stream, bathing. She disappeared.

The penis severed. "what is that?" the man asked the Geisha. "That is your penis," she answered.

The answer was not satisfactory. "how can it be my penis when mine is still here attached to my body?" "It's yours," she said. "The last time that you came here, we went to bed together, and then afterwards, I cut off your penis with a knife. I kept it and put it in this glass case. It still looks the same to this day."

He does not remember....: "why is it that I still have a penis today, since you cut mine off?" he said. "Since you were gone," she said, "you grew another one."

The bed. he pulled up the green blankets to his neck. He realized that he was old. He put the severed penis over his penis and began fucking the Geisha, who had then become the old woman. He looked at her mouth, toothless. He kissed her. "My first lover had blond hair," she toldhim.

The second husband.

They embraced for a long time. years. He moved back. He pulled his penis out of her. He tried to look at her wrinkled body. He noticed that her body was that of a young girl. He looked up at her face and saw the face of the young girl with blond hair. She had green eyes. He saw the severed penis in the glass case on the golden drawer.

He slept, dreamt. in the dream the two boys were looking thorough the window at the couple in bed, fucking. The boys went inside the house and looked through the keyhole. The door was locked. They saw legs kicking violently. They saw....

The man opened his eyes. the Geisha kissed his penis. She started to suck it. He felt her teeth. She continued to suck it. He closed his eyes.

The sound of the stream flowing