Selene, the astrologer


Selene was a world famous astrologer.  She’d written dozens of books about astrology, and roundly despised every writer of newspaper and magazine horoscopes.

“Morons!” she’d say.  “Charlatans who lower the discourse of astrology!”  She used the word “discourse” a lot more than I had a taste for.

I met Selene when she was leading an astrology tour in Northern India.  She liked me because I didn’t know when I was born—so she was occasionally surprised by something I did.  One night, as we began to make love, she told me that it was not a propitious time for her to have an orgasm, but she’d still sleep with me for my benefit.

“Oh, come off it,” I said.  “You can’t possibly read in the stars whether you’re going to have an orgasm.”
“Sure I can,” she said.  “I’ve been doing it for years; the stars are never wrong.”

Unable to conceal my annoyance, I explained that it was a self-fulfilling prophecy.  “You think you can’t—so you don’t.  The stars march their heavenly paths like the army of unalterable law, but the human heart will always stray—if you have half an imagination.  That’s part of what makes it so special.”

We were staying in an old hotel room in Jaipur.   As we lay back on the bed, the ceiling fan traced slow circles.  We could smell the spices from the kitchens in the street mingled with the urine-stench from outdoor urinals, but we couldn’t see the stars.  Too much pollution.  We kissed deeply and slowly for a minute, but I wasn’t feeling the urge anymore.

“Forget it,” I said, putting my shirt back on.  “I’ve made love to women who haven’t gotten off before—but at least I thought they might.” And I left.  I haven’t seen Selene since.  Maybe some day I will, I don’t know. You’d have to ask her.

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