Sex on Thursday, death on Friday

We’re doing sex on Thursday. Yes I’m excited too. It’s medieval sex. I’ve been excited since it was announced last week.

Sex on Thursday, perhaps it could be the title for a tweeted version of Sex in the City, quick and dirty, and all over by Friday.

See you for sex on Thursday. It’s a got a ring to it. I can’t help saying it. I want to say it everyone even those who don’t attend the lectures.

But my uncle died on Friday and now I’m thinking I’d like to go to the funeral, which means missing sex on Thursday.

Sex or death that’s the choice I have to make.

Not the direct experience of death or sex of course, it’s not my death or my sex. At least I don’t think there are any live demos for sex on Thursday. Besides I don’t think I’d be putting up my hand for an opportunity for medieval sex in the lecture theatre, though the professor does have a certain appeal.

Perhaps there’s always a tension between sex and death, pulling and tugging us through life, and that’s why it’s hard to decide.


Now there’s a pause, as if my mind is blank and I don’t know what to say about this, or how to think about it, as if my mind can’t reach around these two ends to find itself. There’s only a ringing silence in here, calling me to wait. As if I have to wait for something to emerge, some understanding that’s coming, a shadow in the distance that I can’t make out yet. Like when you get the hint of a smell on the air and your skin tingles with remembering but you can’t name it, it reminds you of something, a lingering-wanting. Perhaps that’s the sex part, because it seems like a distant memory at the moment.

So maybe I will put up my hand for the live demo after all and see if I can get that fragrance back.

See how the mind tries to distract with silliness and feigned hilarity, mine does anyway. Perhaps you have a more disciplined mind that goes where you tell it. Instead of this random peripatetic wondering mind that leads me on a merry chase like a frightened virgin – just to flirt with the medieval sex theme.

I try to pull it back onto the track of deeper thinking, seeking something meaningful, wise even, to grab onto, about this pull between sex and death.


Still nothing comes.

I wait

and wait again.

The heavy weight of silence bends and bows my mind.


Well I haven’t come up with much, just words and meandering thoughts.

Sex is the hairy edge of life, and death so final, and somewhere in between is living. But that’s not much help in reaching my decision.

Both sex and death, hold mysteries hiding in dark places, strange secret odours that pull between the body and the soul-spirit-living-essence part of who we are, that departs at death. Perhaps it dies, perhaps transcends to that heavenly realm that so many people seem sure of, perhaps descends into darkness or oblivion, or is reborn. Who can say, not I?

Sex I know better than death, because I’ve had direct experience, I’ve never been dead yet, as far as I know. Though sex, as I said, is now more a faded memory, than the bright new toy it once was, like a favourite old coat you once wore for the thrill of feeling its lining against your skin, and a comfortable smell you’d hold close that opened you up, piercing your soul. But now the forgotten coat is moth eaten and smells like one of those op-shop coats because it’s so long since you’ve pulled it on. But you’re not ready to give it up just yet.

You’ve worn other coats instead, prettier and more fashionable. Then you pick it up and sniff the nostalgia in it. There’s a used tissue in the pocket and a theatre stub from some show you can’t remember, faded now, the writing blurred. And memories roll back in as a quiet tide at dawn.


The question lives in me while I knuckle my mind to the page to get my pending essays done. It bubbles slowly beneath the surface of my mind that way a pot of spaghetti sauce bubbles soft and rich and slow, all the juices and flavours boiling together.

Sex bolts ahead. I look up. Sex it is. I’ll stay for sex.

Back to the essay.

Now death leaps out in front, a full length ahead, a forked tail curling behind in the wind of rush. I’ll go for death.

Faces of cousins, and uncles, and white-headed aunts, parade through my unconscious. Clamouring over sex towards death. Yes it’s these people, who knew my childhood like that first skin of summer apricots, and bruised knees from climbing the willow tree, and snotty nosed ragged breath in my chest. It’s not death calling but the whole life of my family, old and new and turning over on itself and renewing itself, yet never forgetting what came before. The small footed stories climbing into soft pillows of dreamy rememberings.

Now sex, as new life, and death, the leaving, start to race to the finish line together, neck and neck, nose-to-nose. I can’t tell them apart. The cousins are cheering from the sidelines and the old aunts smile fondly as if we are still children playing in the dam. Because those shared memories of life and love and pain are thick in our skins and in the smiling sad eyes we bring to bury our dead. It helps us bear the leaving ache that death imprints onto the flesh. Yes family and cousins make life and death easier to bear.

But death always wins in the end, though perhaps when death presses in close we come to remember life and what we value most.

As for the sex, maybe I can request a private lesson with the professor, or take up that old coat, smelling of moth-balls and wear it out into the bright day. And let its warmth caress me through my body’s remembering, and see what happens next.





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