Under Trees, Against Walls, Anywhere.

[...] She says she's not a child and doesn't want to listen to some children's story, she just wants to live an honest live, she won't believe in love anymore, she's sick of it, all men are the same and all just want sex. What about women, you ask. They are just as immoral, she says, she says she's seen enough of everything, life is sickening, she doesn't want so much suffering, she just wants a moment's happiness. She says do I want her?

Right here in the rain and mud?

Won't it be more exciting?

You say she's a slut. She says don't men like it like that? It's simple, no stress, and exciting. When it's finished, you walk off and that's it, there's nothing to worry about and there are no complications. You ask how many men she has slept with. She says at least a hundred. You don't believe her.

What's there to believe or not to believe? It's really quite simple, sometimes it only takes a few minutes.

In a lift?

Why in a lift? You've been watching Western movies. Under trees, against walls, anywhere.

With total strangers?

That's even better, then you don't feel awkward when you bump into one another again.

You ask if she does this regularly.

Whenever the urge comes.

What if you can't find a man?

They're not hard to find, you only have to signal with your eyes and they come.

You say if she signals with her eyes, you wouldn't necessarily come.
She says you might necessarily dare, but there are plenty who do. Isn't this what all men want?

Then you are toying with men.

Why are only men allowed to toy with women? What's so strange about this?

You say she may as well say she is toying with herself.

And why not?

In this mud!

She starts giggling and says she likes you but it is not love. And she says you should be careful, if she were to really fall in love with you ...

It would be a disaster.

She asks, a disaster for you or for her?

You say, a disaster for you and for her.

—Gao Xingjian, Soul Mountain, pp. 195-6. Another excerpt tomorrow.