The Curse

They could not rush into it then and there. They weren’t safe from intrusion. Not only that, children have a highly developed sense of ritual and formality. This was important. They had to decide whether they were in love. Because if there was one thing the pictures showed, you had to be in love. They thought they were but they would give themselves a week just to make sure.
   They hugged again in what they thought would be among their last fully clothed embraces.
   How can Breavman have regrets? It was Nature herself who intervened.
   Three days before Thursday, maid’s day off, they met in their special place, the bench beside the pond in the park. Lisa was shy but determined to be straight and honest, as was her nature.
   ‘I can’t do it with you.’
   ‘Aren’t your parents going away?’
   ‘It’s not that. Last night I got the Curse.’
   She touched his hand with pride.
   ‘Know what I mean?’
   He hadn’t the remotest idea.
   ‘But it would still be OK, wouldn’t it?’
   ‘But now I can have babies. Mummy told me about everything last night. She had it all ready for me, too, napkins, a belt of my own, everything.’
   ‘No guff?’
   What was she talking about? The Curse sounded like a celestial intrusion on his pleasure.
   ‘She told me about all the stuff, just like the camera.’
   ‘Did you tell her about the camera?’
   Nothing, the world, nobody could be trusted.
   ‘She promised not to tell anyone.’
   ‘It was a secret.’
   ‘Don’t be sad. We had a long talk. I told her about us, too. You see, I’ve got to act like a lady now. Girls have to act older than boys.’
   ‘Who’s sad?’
   She leaned back in the bench and took his hand.
   ‘But aren’t you happy for me?’ she laughed, ‘that I got the Curse? I have it right now!’

— Leonard Cohen, The Favourite Game

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