Ooze Sexuality

Natasha undressed by a candle’s wan flame, and saw her reflection in the murky glass of the window—her pale, thin neck, the dark braid that had fallen across her clavicle. She stood like that, in motionless languor, and suddenly it seemed to her that the room, together with the couch, the table littered with cigarette stubs, the bed on which, with open mouth, a sharp-nosed, sweaty old man slept restlessly—all this started to move, and was now floating, like the deck of a ship, into the black night. She sighed, ran a hand across her warm bare shoulder, and, transported partly by dizziness, lowered herself onto the couch. Then, with a vague smile, she began rolling down and pulling off her old, oft-mended stockings. Once again the room started floating, and she felt as if someone were blowing hot air onto the back of her head. She opened her eyes wide—dark, elongated eyes, whose whites had a bluish sheen. An autumn fly began to circle the candle and, like a buzzing black pea, collided with the wall. Natasha slowly crawled under the blanket and stretched, sensing, like a bystander, the warmth of her own body, her long thighs, and her bare arms thrown back behind her head. She felt too lazy to douse the candle, to shoo away the silken formication that was making her involuntarily compress her knees and shut her eyes.

Excerpt of Natasha
by Vladimir Nabokov
translated, from Russian,
by his son, Dmitri Nabokov