And Minnie Ho, whom on my first evening I had seen snuggling in the arms of the middle-aged matelot was the most cuddlesome and kittenish. She could not even cross the bar without flinging her arms round a sailor or two empassant and briefly nuzzling in their necks; and once ensconced with a man she could not bear to break away even to go upstairs. She could not live without cuddling, and in the absence of sailors would simply cuddle up with another girl. She would also cuddle up with me if I happened to be handy: enfolding herself round my arm, rubbing her cheek against my shoulder, and looking up at me with such pathetic appeal, such helpless adoration, that in order to keep my head I had to remind myself sternly that the same treatment was meted out indiscriminately to a dozen sailors a day.
For she had paused to wait for me a few yards along the quay in a pool of pale livid light from an electric streetlamp – a light that had the same mysterious quality as the shaft of light that thrusts like some heavenly illumination through a gap in a thunder-cloud, and that, shining on her face and hands and her legs below the skirt of her cheongsam, invested her with complete unreality; and the sight of her provoked in my mind some shadow of memory, like a flitting bird that for a moment or two I could not catch to identify. Then all at once I trapped it; it was the memory of a picture from my childhood – a rather sickly colored plate in the illustrated bible that I had been given when I first went to school, showing a miracle performed in a street of Jerusalem. In the foreground was a shoulder and a lifted hand, and beyond them a white wall with a barred window, with two ragged lepers squatting at its foot, their bodies disfigured and eaten away by disease, and in front of them a third beggar who a moment ago had been like them, but who now stood straight and whole – and illumined by this same livid, unearthly light in which Suzie stood under the street-lamp.
And I was momentarily seized by the fantastic notion that another miracle had occurred; that Suzie, who had wanted to love as a virgin, had had her innocence restored, and that she now stood there in perfect purity, miraculously cleansed of her uncle’s rape and the contamination of her trade as a leper had been cleansed of disease. For her face was luminous, it shone with a virginal beauty; and she seemed to wear that same expression that I remembered on the face of the beggar, an expression partly of humility, partly of wonderment.
And I was so moved with wonderment myself that for a while I could only stare. She did not move, but watched me as if she understood.
These are two of the few abstracts that really captured my heart with it's meaning and the way it was written! really beautiful!!