We were sitting in the warehouse waiting for Kadeřábek. From the church on the square came the sound of the organ and the wailing of the old women:

Joyously we greeet thee,
Mother of Our Loooooord …

I tried to imagine Marie in her May dress, which was dark blue with a pattern of white flowers on it, and with a blue ribbon tied around her hair so that it cascaded down her back like a waterfall of gold. When she first showed up in school with her hair that way, Lexa told me a ponytail was a phallic symbol. According to him, it meant that my chances with Marie, which had up till then been practically non-existent, were about to improve. But I hadn’t yet read Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis (I was in line for it after Lexa, who’d borrowed it from someone’s library) so I asked, naïvely, what a phallic symbol was. Lexa guffawed out loud, the teacher interpreted this as a deliberate disruption of his maths class, and a chain reaction took place, the climax of which came when Lexa was asked about integrals, as much a mystery to him as they were to me: both of them – teacher and student – maintained a three-minute silence, then Lexa received an ‘F’ and an official reprimand, noted in the record book, for disturbing the class.

During break, Lexa explained phallic symbol.


Poland
Beirut Diary