The wanting of words let loose, wrapped around and back again, trailing into one another, not poetry but poetically realistic, to say, my toes are cold, I want to wear your socks, lay down next to you, feel your palm cool against this fever. Agony, wanting to be with you, in love, every day, wanting to be younger, but not much so, younger and old enough to still know what this is. Agony, wanting to say the words and have it over with so that it can begin. The wanting of words that give the words new meaning.
The fading light curved against her cheekbone, he imagined it a boomerang, a moment always returning to him in his memory.
The beginning of a story…
Quiet next to you, fragile in a way that no one else could guess, one that you know all too well. I read those love letters today and wondered how it is that it once was so accepted, to fall in love that way, with the words, with the writer, the person who manufactured those sentences on the other side of whatever expanse the envelope had crossed. How they hid their hearts in manners in those days, in humble awe and disposition. Was it the pent up tension creating something more than it was or should be? Or is it that it is palpable without the distance, or would still be so but made only slightly more by the longing, the want? Did those lovers fear that they might not care for one another if they actually met? And why were we so ready to call them lovers, if they had not ever met? In today’s world the semantics of physicality and boundaries are argued, shoved forth as defense, and aren’t we all so glad of it?
What does my hand feel like wrapped in yours? I think, is it still attached to my arm, or do you just keep it with you? Oh, so glad it is still attached to me and held by you. I smile at that. We smile a lot, slow and to ourselves. It is too sweet, when we are together. There is a hollow feeling growing under my skeleton, where there is no structure to support the weight of it, this aching to be full with loving you. However many years ago, when I first wrote to you, it was because I could not keep myself from it. So it is now. I think, I can stand it if you can, but we both know, I am not that strong. Somewhere in me something says that I have to be. Only women who were very pretty girls worry this way. I must do my daily smiling exercises. If only you knew what you have become to me in my head, and how well I understand that.
Did they wonder, in their day, in requiems past, in straight backed chairs, hands folded in laps, handkerchiefs dropped, did they wonder, worry, so much about others? They did, thus all those manners, perhaps it is not so different. What does it matter? What will it matter when we are old, truly old, because we are not now, what anyone had to say about any of it? Imagining then a comfortable passion, a smolder, a warmth through every Winter, each Season, to feel safe in your arms knowing that I belong to and with you, always. I can see our room. And I do know, why it matters and that this is giving in to my hurt and wanting.
Shaping the iron with a loving hand, bending it fresh from the furnace, still glowing, his gloves on, his goggles. He hammered at the spiraling end of it, attaching the gold lance to the edge made straight. The fluorescent tubes swinging in the ballast overhead, the spark off the light catching the gleam of the gold, drawing the attention of her eye, as he trod into the kitchen with it grasped in tongs, held at arms length to her. “Look Honey, I made something for you. I crafted a new word, for you only. We can add to it whenever and whatever we want.” She said it was, of course the most beautiful word ever. Finding then the perfect place for it, to see it every morning, noon and night, to know his want to please her.
Did they imagine perfect romances, perfect loves, and shudder at the sometimes harsh realities of life? That pajamas are not always silk, that my favorite socks of yours, have holes in them? At those distractions from the agonizing distance? Did they, apart, die in little bits each day, wondering about the other? Did they become diminished by the longing, doubting themselves? Did they pine? Did they think they could not go on much longer, without their love?
“It is a blackness. That green that you see around the edges, it is only a reflection of the soliloquies written with quills on lightning. See the way it curves there, the arc, at the edge of the hull, the vessel of the void we tried to fill with every other thing we could get our hands on? The glowing red from within, awakened at the core, the yellow glowing of the calm from the cooling outer rings of the chamber. Do you see it? The way it spills out then not from the center but sideswiping all the planets, setting the constellations on their ends, disappearing back in that dark, casting shadows on the days. The sails are enough to get it across the sky but I think the legends about the wind are wrong. I think it was his want to save her, pulling the ship through the storm.”
How did this happen? So many questions I want to ask? And then afraid, thinking, is this all simply something of my own invention? Telling myself to walk away from it, again? Wanting to rest like a child, to pull the covers over my head and sleep until it is resolved somehow. I want to say the words, all the words we are not saying, with great care, and have this be over, so it can begin. I think, I am afraid, what if such declarations were met with pain? I hope for happiness. I think, what if such declarations were met with feelings of joy? Are we fooling ourselves, in loneliness? Did you love me then, when I did not know that you were watching? That is when I felt it, with nervous trepidation, not knowing what it was. The kiss that woke me, one look, and every moment since then that has broken me, trying to understand it.
“I got it.” He said, his hands dripping blood, a fine spray of it over the front of his shirt. “It was a nasty one. I wish you’d dream up something less feisty next time. This one got hold of the headboard, you know underneath there, wrapped a tentacle around it. I had to use the blow torch and, well, I think we need new pillows.”
Did they try to talk themselves out it? Did they look at the pages, the letters, the words and say to themselves, “We can’t even get good photographs these days. What if I don’t like the way she laughs? What if he smells funny?”
Dear Elizabeth, Do you bath daily? Have you many cats? For I am truly a man of hounds and could no more live with a woman who harbors cats than with one who smells of lilac water. Robert.
Or were people too polite in those days for the brass tacks of things? Or were they far smarter than we, knowing how rare it is to love at all?
Forgive me, now and always. Forgive me, it is the fever.
February 15, 2012