Arnon Grunberg


When will it go away

I’m a sissy when it comes to injections.
In the summer of 2006 I needed a shot for my first trip to Afghanistan. I fainted in the hands of a Russian doctor in New York who asked me: “Are you sure you want to go to Afghanistan?” For my trip to Iraq I needed to know my blood group. And I didn’t know it, I look in my archives, no blood group, so I phoned my mother but she had no clue either. A big disillusionment; I thought she knew all about me that here was to know, at least about my blood. I phoned the mother of my godson and she could tell me the blood group of her son. This is more how I imagine mothers, always in the know, always willing to carry blood for their children.
In order to establish my blood group I needed to undergo a blood test.
This morning my driver, Klaas, had arranged an appointment with a lady who was going to perform the test.
Filled with shame I explained my situation to the lady .
“Lie down,” she said. “Close your eyes. Your veins are beautiful. It’s coming out already.” And while lying there I wondered if some women (or men for that matter) think about the penis as I think about the needle: with disgust, repulsion and fear but also with some curiosity; what on earth is entering their body and when will it go away.
Maybe some sexual activity should be accompanied by a doctor; an experienced lady, who says: “It’s coming out already. Keep your eyes closed. Don’t faint. The two of you will be fine. Just keep your eyes closed.”