The Lion

Why do we need anything else to happen? Joseph is sleeping with young Julie, Bruno is in the arms of Ann. They’re all happier than they were before – Julie at being taken seriously as a scribbler, Joseph at resembling a lover. Ann is pleased to let her cynical mask slip, Bruno is able to express the tenderness which is his sole residue of sexual feeling.

During the day, perhaps, as Ann and Julie continue their duties as guardians of the tenement, Bruno and Joseph talk, or take promenades through the streets, watching the busy life of the space wheel. In the evening they eat together, and talk of music, and love, and their past lives, and food, and all the other pleasures of human existence.

But it’s not enough, alas. You need more. Don’t forget that, while Joseph and Ann and Julie are all happily sleeping in one another’s arms [a difficult feat that, I’ve always found – so much easier to roll over and establish your own microclimate without reference to your companion’s breathing and body temperature], Bruno is lying awake. He cannot sleep. All he can do is combine and recombine the observations of his day into some kind of order.

You see, now, why his emotions have been so impoverished. It would not be long before he went mad under such circumstances if he were still an ordinary man. In effect, he has been driven mad artificially by the treatment he has received. He is conscious of himself, and of his difference from the others, but he does not long to sleep. If he did it would be intolerable.

Does he love Ann? She is, after all, entirely loveable, and is clearly very fond of him. He does, but with affection rather than passion. He enjoys having sex with her, but it is not an essential component of his love. We can define that other love almost in terms of what Bruno does not feel. He is not jealous of Ann; he does not mistrust her; he is not suddenly enflamed by a small gesture, a word, a crease of the lip. He is not critical or laudatory of her body and her appearance. He does not plan for the future, worry about his or her degree of commitment. Her sexual submissiveness to him is something he enjoys but does not require – just as he was prepared earlier on to play the part of submissive to her. There would have to be some internal resistance to overcome for this to turn into true sensuality.

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