One of the things she loves about him is that, every year, on Valentine’s Day, he doesn’t shower her with sentimental but meaningless gifts. Instead, he plans the whole day around a theme – a new theme every year, but always something special, something clever. Just like him.
This year, the day begins with a flogging. They play until she’s crying, but good crying, tears mixed with laughter, pleasure mixed with pain.
It is not clear to her, until they arrive at the gallery, what theme the flogging is connected to.
But it’s not the flogging that’s connected to the theme, it’s the tears. The show consists of huge, blown up photos of tears on microscope slides. The tears all have different structures, like unique snowflakes and she wants to believe that the differences come from the different feelings that caused the tears to fall. How might a sad tear differ from happy tears brought about by flogging, she wonders.
The accompanying notes, however, say that this is not how it works. The different structures aren’t caused by different emotions, they’re caused by random evaporation. For a moment, she is disappointed, and then he is behind her, whispering, his breath hot and damp against her ear. ‘Basal tears,’ he whispers, ‘are the type you are most familiar with. They help to keep your eyes healthy…’ he kisses her neck, ‘… wet,’ his fingers graze her cunt through the satin of her underwear, ‘…and clean.’ Now his fingers are pushing her underwear to one side, sliding inside her. ‘Wet sounds good,’ he says, ‘but clean is overrated, don’t you think?’