: Vishnu Sleeping on the Cosmic Ocean :

an excerpt by Alan Cheuse


Gary felt young, he felt old, he felt full of beans (Mexican jumping? he thought that’s where that old expression came from, he knew that much), he, actually, felt a little tired, because last night they had stayed up in the hotel room—nice big place, she knew how to spend her money—until the end of the second late night show and, for whatever reason only then began fooling around and then went at it with a steadiness and certainty neither of them could have faked. This girl—woman! Yeah, he knew he should think of her as a woman, at least refer to her as a woman not a girl—she never talked down to him despite the age difference, though he might (under oath) have to admit that ever since he had walked into the classroom and saw her standing there at the whiteboard—he was late, but she didn’t even register his entrance for a number of minutes, that’s how cool and steady she was from the start—he saw her as an older … chick … ah, the word eased out of hi, the way you might ease out a belch in polite company—to use a polite metaphor as opposed to a vulgar one (a difference he had begun to notice—she helped!—in discussions in that course he had taken with her), not as shocking but more effective is the way she had put it. He knew she was just using him, but he was loving being used, right?