Sometimes I forget I am not an old man, weighed down as I am by the chains of regret and guilt. It feels like I have lived a lifetime already; could I really have had a home, friends, family, scant years ago? Could I have really once been the man I now barely remember? I feel so old, yet we are still so young. I’m reminded of this when Daren whimpers and trembles in his fever sleep, face twisted in a misery he otherwise masks. The child he was not so long ago surfaces in these moments, angry and helpless and afraid. No matter how this illness ages him physically, or how his bitterness ages him mentally, he is still young. And that is the part which breaks my heart the most; he finally has a chance at some sort of life, no matter how dysfunctional we may be together, and that life is limited to months. Maybe a year, if we’re lucky – but when are we ever lucky? A year at the utmost and then this one chance is gone. How can we not feel so old when our time is so short?
you seem more at peace
in the arms of your nightmares
than my own embrace
There is much to say, and no knowledge of how to say it. Forgive me for the lack of focus. I only hope you finish reading this knowing I am in your debt.
Much of my life has been spent struggling with this feeling, like a secret bursting at the seams to be told, but coupled with so much fear of getting caught that, ultimately, the secret dies in the keeper’s throat.
One year ago, I began to feel different. The fluttering was still there, oh yes, but it had moved from my throat to my chest. It felt like I was being torn apart on the inside, ventricle by valve. So what did I do? I fought, of course. The loneliness had been safely harnessed in my throat, effectively silencing me my whole life. Suddenly, the animal wanted out. I couldn’t let it. Because if I did let it out, there’d be nothing left inside me, and I already felt so hollow.
This was when I made a decision. I chose to let things happen. I opened my cage and closed my eyes and waited for the parades of tourists to mock the botched pieces that composed me.
But something happened that, in all my emphasis of claiming I knew myself, surprised me: I wanted someone. A girl. A girl I’d never met. A girl whose words flowed through my veins in place of blood. And the more I fought it, the deeper she got. I pulled away, but it was as thought I had bound myself to her, and she had no choice but to follow.
You know of whom I speak.
She is as valuable to you as you are to her, whether or not you are aware of it. She often speaks about you and your mate as though she owes her life to the two of you. I’d never tell her otherwise… but I wonder how much you two realize that she is vital to you. Yes, you two would live on regardless… but she has been nothing but a faithful servant. Please don’t think me insensitive. I know that you at least acknowledge her and the role she plays in your existence. But as her mate, it bears repeating.
You and I share a bond: we both serve the one we love. And perhaps that’s all I needed to say. My hand desperately had to write this, to write to you. I feel close to you in a way I’ve never felt close to anyone before. Do you think that means we owe something to one another?
There’s more, other things to say that, in time, will be said. But for now, it’s enough to thank you for this gift you’ve given me.
I trust we’ll speak soon.
- – -
Love bites. Love bruises. Beware.
I will not dissuade you from your path – it is mine as well, after all, and you no more chose to walk it than I did. But be cautious in your footing and do not rush overlong when you have yet to see what waits beyond the turn. Step lightly.
You are right: we have much in common, you and I, as do our lunar paramours. I too was blindsided by that feeling of being torn apart and yet knit together at the same time. The fear of hollowness; the fear of being filled and consumed. Neither could I pull away, drawn like a helpless magnet caught in an ancient force. Yet you have avoided the vices and demons which plague myself and my own, and will continue to do so if you are willing to fight for each other. Look to the one you love; she is yours to protect, from others and from herself. We are guardians and servants both, and you hold wells of strength of which you are not yet truly aware.
I know you would have us see the worth of her, and we do. I promise I respect the gravity of our debt. You must be patient, though. It has been just the two of us in this tale for so long, and such a tragic tale… we lose track of everything beyond our sorrow, sometimes. And you know He is not the kindest of men, especially toward those to whom he feels indebted. He fears her love, just as he fears mine.
Change is coming, Little Flame, and it is our duty to anchor our beloveds lest they be overwhelmed and undone. Have faith and hold fast.
You think I have forgotten who you were once, but I have not. I remember him, the one who was both god and beast, angel and demon. My beautiful monster, tragic and deceptive and deadly. We have lived a thousandfold lives yet still I recall that incarnation, oldest and cruelest, most clearly. I carry those memories with me like battle scars; memories of madness, of destruction, of desperation and sorrow. Memories of blood and ash, myself kneeling at his feet in the wasteland, the gun in my hand. The gun at my temple. I remember it all, and I love that creature still. I worship the shard of darkness he left within you.
one glance, I go cold
heart straining against stiff flesh
your basilisk gaze
You’re born into this station like royalty, your blue blood thick with money and power. High society’s a modern court all its own, with an unspoken hierarchy based on the subtle messages sent by your clothing, your mannerisms, how efficiently you speak the language of feint and parry. This is the privileged world into which I was born, heir of a financial dynasty whose value was determined at conception by ancestry and last name. Like any good prince I began my training for the boardroom throne early and took my lessons to heart; I was nothing if not the dutiful son, proper in all ways, a model courtier. And while blood cannot truly bind, and names may be cast off like an ill-fit suit, even a renegade of high society cannot escape its influence completely. Years have passed since I led the stifling, affluent life of capitalist royalty, yet not a day goes by that I don’t move subconsciously to slip back into the role I abandoned. More than the ingrained habits or nagging memories, it’s the sense of judgment, of being watched and weighed, which seems impossible to shake. I live in fear some member of that court might spot me one day and know, by the way I act or look, that I too am one of them; fear that someday I will be dragged back to take my unwilling place beneath the detested crown.
Sometimes I dream I am trying to talk him down from the ledge. He stands facing the drop, body stiff against the wind, toes hanging over the edge of the roof. I can’t see his face but I imagine his eyes are open, staring out over the sleeping city with neither interest nor fear. I want to grasp his wrist and pull him back yet some instinct urges caution (to protect him? or myself?). Instead I bridge the space with my voice, begging him to stay, promising I can help if he’ll just give me a chance. He never answers me, though, nor acknowledges my presence. He doesn’t even move until inevitably I falter and fall silent, at a loss for more persuasive words, and even then it’s just the barest scrape of his heel moving over the ledge as if he might step out onto the air itself. He won’t, though, dream or no. He always falls, just as I always wake with the need to cry out a name I do not know; the newspapers never revealed the man’s identity. I am left haunted by the ghost of some stranger’s suicide, unable to shake the guilty suspicion that I could have helped him, had I come sooner into his life than the last few seconds of his plunge to the pavement.