Most recent Lux Lotus interview subject Evi Labropoulou has officially gone above and beyond by translating a section of her forthcoming novel, All the Apples, into English just for us at Lux Lotus! How lucky we are.
All the Apples by Evi Labropoulou
Maybe it was her hippy hair that dried in spiraled, waterproof curls, from the seawater that was still on them, maybe it was the fact that an hour ago she was rolling on the sand naked, her thighs wide open to the minimal grains. Maybe it was that under the short dress she was wearing nothing but seasalt - yeah, she would rather attribute it there. In any case, when he spoke to her she felt unhesitating.
It happened in somebody's home, on somebody's birthday. The guy had assembled several people he knew and thrown them together. Those two, however, he had forgotten to introduce to each other.
He said, placing a glass of wine next to her, that she looked like a sunflower in her yellow dress, that she reminded him of the sea and the fervid summer, and that it was refreshing at last to see some color – contrary to the other women, she thought, who wore black.
She wore a yellow, Seventies dress, loose on the hips and at the waist. Her dress already made her feel permeable due to her tan, exposed limbs.
She told him that yellow was considered the color of jealousy and deceit, and that - owing to it's detectability - it foretells trouble. In Egypt and in Burma, alas, it symbolises bereavement.
"I am sorry," he apologised "if I sounded romantic".
She hid the fact that she had been watching him for hours. That she was constantly aware of his body language, his dark, longish hair that somehow matched her dress. That she had glimpsed the way his cigarette hovered on the edge of his fingertips, like a diver about to dive. That he seemed to her unavailable and deeply immersed in conversation with a couple. That the wife -or girlfriend- of the man, who had his hand around her, had been devouring him with her eyes. The woman wore an olive-green dress with a low-cut decolletage and high heels on magnificent calves that, crossed and hyper, were challenging his with small, hungry movements. Or rather, her whole body invited him -this minor sun of the party- while her husband was clutching her waist proprietarily. Yes, that woman, let us call her Maroon, looked enchanted, she looked as if she wished he would throw her to the floor and immediately take her. So, when he headed to the buffet, she followed him like a puppy.
She wondered whether he would approach, if he would talk to her, if she would ever turn him away from Maroon's territory. Thus, when he finally strode toward her she felt a sweet agitation, as if she were soup being stirred in a pot: that he was walking up to her in order to suck her.
She thought to herself that it was the dress: that it made her feel vulnerable and audacious.
He stood next to her eager for the sound of her voice. It was husky and childish, as he had imagined.
They talked about Johny Cash and Pulp. About Bjorg, who was in at that moment - he said he disliked her completely. They discussed the tastier pasta dish -they agreed on cannelloni. And then The Platform, by Michel Houellebecq, that they had both read, and therefore the need of fantasy in the Western World too.
He became totally absorbed in the way her lips synchronised with her raspy voice, so he asked her,"What do you think about sex?" He lit another cigarette while awaiting her answer.
She suddenly wanted to smoke like a maniac.
"I like it more or less" she replied, meaning she liked it occasionally with some people. "Everyone likes it."
"This is a common misconception" he disagreed, "everyone certainly doesn't. Many are totally bored by it, they do it because they have to. But i truly enjoy it," he confessed in a natural manner.
"I have a friend", she said, "who is totally into it."
"I too am totally into it", he blurted.
"Like, many partners and kinky stuff?" she asked excited.
"Tell you what… In the next five minutes you may ask me whatever."
"Okay, have you practiced SM or orgies? And what about animals, or men… do men excite you?"
"My god, you get to the point."
"Well, what about men?" she insisted.
"Ah, there, you see? You 've got your taboos. How about children?"
"Children are definitely a turn off, they ask too many questions".
"I am not a child", she laughed, "I am probably older than you are - do you like older women?" she laughed again, insecurely. "So, what about when you have a girlfriend?"
"I can be faithful", he declared and opened a fresh packet. He felt he had already revealed too much, which was somewhat awkward.
"Any fuck buddies?" she asked, still extremely curious.
"My darling, your minutes are up. No fuck buddies." And then he changed the subject deliberately, by saying, "Name your movies".
"Wings of Desire, Casablanca, Lost Highway, Henry & June, Wild at Heart, Blade Runner" she blurted.
"What did Sailor sing to Lula at Wild at heart?" he asked her, excited.
"Love me tender", she said, "of course, Love me tender".
"Oh, I could easily do that", he replied.
The next day, after work, she shaved her vagina. She attempted something geometrical, like a heart or a triangle, a matter to which she payed great attention. Then she spread body cream up to her toe nails. She scrubbed her face, and while at it, killed some blackheads. She scrubbed her arse too, by the way. She felt it with a finger, found it sleek as a petal, and she imagined his fingers feeling likewise. She had patrolled the shops for some useless apparel, something gravely important in the manicure procedure. She finally painted her nails in black varnish.
She hadn't painted her nails since kindergarten.
He buried his hands in his pockets. He had to do it, as once again he had this urge to put her in his pockets and keep her. He found a crumpled aluminium foil there and handed it to her, uneasily.
She held it as if it were a bomb. "What is this?"
"Spinach pie. My grandmother's."
She examined the piece at a glance, it sucked altogether: the filling too thick, full of spinach, the chunks of cheese thick as matchboxes. Her own grandmother's pie had been delicate, elegant, crispy and famous in town – alas, not ever again to be eaten. A tear rolled down her cheek, thick like the filling. Wow, she thought, is this how its gonna be now, crying over spinach pies?
With great satisfaction he deduced she was still crazy about him.
"How about you;" she asked as if she didn’t care deeply.
"I am good", he said with a silly prepubescent grin. "Have you seen Mario Testino's latest shot? It was awesome."
She pushed her trolley away from her, toward the milk section. "You hurt me", she fired, and then she followed her trolley.
He stalked her and they met again at the counter. She saw he was looking at her like he wanted to eat her: like the profiteroles he had placed in his trolley. Profiteroles full of preservatives, false sweetness and artificial colors, just like her.
"I was hurt too", he said, "if this makes you feel better. But you had a boyfriend, if I recall" he was very stern now, "and you still have him." The word 'boyfriend' he spat out, like a plum pit.
Yes your highness, she thought, I still have him.
He suddenly seemed to her ridiculously righteous.