An arabian night

"Idat Rubinstein and Vaslav Nijinski" by George Barbier (1913)

"Idat Rubinstein and Vaslav Nijinski" by George Barbier (1913)

[In Scheherezade’s head] 

I'm not in love, so don't forget it
It's just a silly phase I'm going through
And just because I call you up
Don't get me wrong, don't think you've got it made
I'm not in love, no-no
(It's because...)

“Tell me a story” said the dusky, spicy, mysterious maiden from the East. We’ll call her al-‘Uzzá. Her multi-coloured brown eyes reflect minarets, rose water and turkish delight; on the stereo, Natacha Atlas’s Ana Hina conjures images of geometrically patterned mosques, the Alhambra, wise men smoking from Hookahs drinking Sage tea; magic carpets and Kalashnikovs. Turban-topped urbane males, females hide in veils.

And so, Scheherezade began. Our hero Jane, a young girl of 9, or maybe 10, lived in a large English country house. Mistreated by her wicked stepmother (they are always wicked), abused by her cousins; locked up in her dead uncle’s room for a crime, a misdemeanour, that she didn’t commit. Injustice abounds, unrestrained.

“That’s shocking” gasps al-‘Uzzá, as she lets her long, luxurious jet black hair fall.

Jane was packed off to a school, a dreadful, dismal, loveless place. Cold hearted, cold heated, cold and distant teachers, owned by a cold, cruel, heartless, self-righteous and hypocritical tyrant who publicly tried to shame Jane by forcefully telling the other poor girls that she was a heathen, a liar who said prayers to Bramha and who knelt before Juggernaut; crimes, heresies beyond the pale in the barking mad mind of Brocklehurst.  

“tzzzz, religion” hissed al-‘Uzzá. Fingers flow through her flowing black mane and she purrs, like one of her five sacred cats. Scheherezade moves closer and they both admire the table, a single slab of elm, from the heart of the tree, their hearts now beating faster, closer...

The story continues: Jane was shown kindness by one of the girls, Helen, with stunning curling long red hair, and they became fast friends. One of Jane’s natural gifts was that of the artist and she offered to draw Helen’s portrait, for which Helen had to take off her bonnet. The sun made Helen’s ruby fleece positively sparkle, and Jane set to. Alas for them both as Brocklehurst made an ill-timed entrance and spied the bonnetless Helen; her punishment for this outrage? Her head to be shawn. Jane staunchly defended her friend and ended up also being cut short.

Shortly after this Helen died of typhus.

“No!” exclaims al-‘Uzzá.

Jane however survived.

I like to see you, but then again
That doesn't mean you mean that much to me
So if I call you, don't make a fuss
Don't tell your friends about the two of us
I'm not in love, no-no
(It's because...)

The first kiss. Tentative. Exploratory. Tender. Bodies become entwined, free of their day to day covering. Flesh on flesh, goosebumps and tingles. Voluptuous curves, ample breast beneath which passion stirs. Firm, manly chest beneath which passion stirs. Gentle hands on white heat, lost in that special place, the promise of paradise not far away....

“Hmmmm.....aaaah.....” She bites. From the hifi, the beat of a derbooka is interwoven with the clack clack clack of qarqaba, in turn overlaid with the pulse of tan-tan playing a duet with a western bass guitar’s Middle Eastern riff. 

(Be quiet, big boys don't cry)
(Big boys don't cry)
(Big boys don't cry)
(Big boys don't cry)
(Big boys don't cry)
(Big boys don't cry)
(Big boys don't cry)

Jane left childhood behind, and the dreadful school too, and found herself as Governess to a young girl Adele, ward of Rochester at his Gothic manor Thornfield. One day Jane went for a walk and helped a horseman who she saw fall from his horse. On her return to Thornfield, Jane discovered that the horseman was in fact her employer, Mr. Edward Rochester, an ugly, moody yet wonderful, passionate, Byronic, and charismatic gentleman nearly twenty years older than she...

“Passionate’s good” murmurs al-‘Uzzá. A khallool, that most ancient of instruments, fills the air with its haunting sound, its slow gentle melody counterpoints the faster rhythm of the bass percussion. The female virtuoso singer’s voice rises, ululating with elaborately ornamented notes, a melismatic meandering across her vocal plane, an ancient style of singing known, appropriately, to drive audiences into ecstasy...

This music is in complete contrast to that which Jane taught Adele on the piano, continued Scheherezade. Whilst pupil and student got on well, there was a frisson of attraction between Rochester and Jane, and they spent a lot of time together. One evening however Jane heard a strange unsettling laugh in the house, a laugh with a hint of madness and later, she rescued Rochester from a fire, a fire which seemed to have had no obvious cause.  Rochester’s relationship with Jane flourished and he proposed marriage to her, a proposition to which she readily agreed...

I keep your picture upon the wall
It hides a nasty stain that's lyin' there
So don't you ask me to give it back
I know you know it doesn't mean that much to me
I'm not in love, no-no
(It's because...)

Her hands are everywhere, exploring every nook and cranny. His hands are everywhere, exploring every nook and cranny. Two bodies became one in perfect union, a single kiss is felt on every square inch of both cream and cinnamon skin; necks are nipped, backs are scratched, the world melts away, all that exists are two lovers lost and oblivious, working their way to a climax of oblivion.

Ooh, you'll wait a long time for me
Ooh, you'll wait a long time

This marriage cannot take place! Rochester is already married! It was true. Previously he had been tricked into marrying a mad woman, and it was she, on one of her escapes from her locked room at the house, that had created the fire, and it was her maniacal laughter that Jane had heard form time to time. Devastated and distraught, Jane ran away, ending up at her cousins where she recuperated. 

Ooh, you'll wait a long time for me
Ooh, you'll wait a long time

By one of those twists of fate that happen in a Bronte novel, it is whilst dear Jane recovered from her ordeal at Thornfield that she learned that she was the sole beneficiary of her long lost Uncle’s will, a soothing and medicinal fortune of some £20,000. She was on the verge of accepting an offer of marriage from StJohn, her cousin, when she thought she heard the voice of Rochester calling her to him; she naturally dashed back to Thornfield only to find nought but blackened remains, a hollow shell, the result of a tragic fire set by the then deceased and equally blackened Mrs Rochester.

“Oh my...” whispers al-‘Uzzá. “This is truly a tale fit for Shahryār”.

Although Rochester himself lost a hand and his sight in the fire, and he was afraid of rejection, Jane readily accepted him as he was because, pointed out Scheherezade, Jane believed that the best thing that you can do is to find a person who loves you for exactly what you are; good mood, bad mood, ugly, pretty, handsome... the right person will still think the sun shines out of your ass. That’s the kind of person that’s worth sticking with.

I'm not in love, so don't forget it
It's just a silly phase I'm going through
And just because I call you up
Don't get me wrong, don't think you've got it made, ooh

The cock crows. The sun, a bright warm orange orb heats the earth, banishing the unnoticed cool of the night. In the gentle morning light, he is as exotically pale to her as she is exotically dark to him, entangled and naked they bask in the afterglow, at peace, relaxed, lanquidly looking forward to a lazy loving day.

I'm not in love, I'm not in love...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Song lyrics I’m not in Love by 10cc

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Juno written by Diablo Cody