#HowlWrites Feature: Catherine Texier

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Photo credit: Bruce Benderson


The Guitarist

By Catherine Texier

He asked for a picture of her the day before Christmas. Which he didn’t observe. Later it occurred to her – raised the perfect Catholic girl, dressed in blue as an infant in honor of the Virgin Mary, mass every Sunday, confession every week, confirmation, first communion, patent leather Mary-Janes and Peter Pan collars – that sending suggestive pictures of herself to a Jew on Christmas Eve at the time when baby Jesus was about to be born, was tantamount to a sacrilege. The kind of sacrilege Catholics have always been fond of, from the Marquis de Sade to Bataille, in a kind of reversal of purity into its opposite.

She was going to leave for a work trip a couple of days later. There would be a couple of dressed-up events. She tried on a long black dress with a jersey top and a sheer, chiffon skirt, which discreetly revealed the shadows of the legs. And the one made of leopard-print silk that she had worn at Juliet’s wedding a year before.

Then she slipped on the corset. She had bought it in Paris after her divorce, in her merry-widowed days. It had cost her an arm and a leg, but it was one of those iconic purchases that were intended to celebrate her newfound sexual freedom. That, and a silver snake ring. The ring was long lost. But the corset had only been worn a few times. And twelve years later it was still in a drawer of her dresser. It was as though it had been waiting for him all these years.

She took snapshots of herself in the mirror wearing the corset, the garters pulling on the nylons – a half-open robe thrown on top. She would send them to him on New Year’s Eve as a surprise. The pictures came out blurry. She liked the blurriness for the same reason she liked the other pictures without her face. And the way the robe was partially obscuring part of the corset and stockings. It was the suggestion, the fantasy she was after. She clicked and clicked, deleting the bad shots, getting off on the pure pleasure of offering herself to his desire.

She didn’t expect what a turn-on it would be to take the pictures for him. Especially as she knew what use he would make of them.

She sent him two pictures.

Love it! he texted back. Where’s your face?

She had framed the shot from her high-heeled lace-up boots to the top of her thighs, with only a few inches of bare skin showing above the black stockings.

I liked the mystery of it, she answered. But she also didn’t trust the medium. So maybe she didn’t trust him. Or the nebulous situation they were in. Or how her face would come off with the iPhone camera in natural lightning. At 60, she didn’t photograph as well as she used to.

Did you enjoy the pics, she asked him the next day, Christmas day.


It was almost as good as having had him in her bed that night.


Catherine Texier’s Bio:

Catherine Texier is the author of six novels, including Victorine (Elle Magazine’s 2004 Best Novel of the Year) and her latest, Russian Lessons. Her memoir Breakup was an international bestseller. She is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Award and two New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowships.



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