Sometimes it feels as though they were pressed into this realm already weary with a world they had never tired of watching. They wouldn’t know it, but in the movement between worlds there is a physical damage which cannot be reversed: ruptures in the linings of their bodies and infarctions in their new-found flesh. But they’d never know - their mouths are still sweet with apples and they are distracted from the frailties of these forms.
What persists is the dull ache from inside. Immortality is a curse, but they choose it.
They lie, side by side, the inky tendrils of their hair growing into the folds of their sheets, bleeding their edges together. The basement is cool and quiet and dark. It’s only their fingers that touch, the only thing that needs to touch. The slightest contact is enough to keep the bridge open from his heart to hers. Sometimes it feels as if there is nothing around them at all, that the flesh of the world peels back reveals them for what they are: the bones of the universe. That they do not exist in this flesh, that they are thoughts and feelings, too uncouth to voice in this new language.
A touch is enough, because: they struggle.
It’s a terrible farce, their mimicking humanity. It’s not a weight they were made to bear and its only when prostrate that the pressure eases.
Like children, they play pretend. They fall into patterns of domesticity, emulating marriage and procreation from beneath the human levels of the house which lie above the ground (their bodies are broken). They make a home out of a basement, a family from cats and a palace from their bed. And still, it seems, they are left wanting for more than what the television screen can illuminate.
At times the illusion grips, and they see that this city is much like their own. Its buildings scratch the belly of the sky, crafted from glass and twisted metal and there are flashing lights and bright colours, tripping behind them as they walk its streets like they belong. They pretend that the theatres say something that speaks to them, that the paintings in the museums somehow capture what it’s like to feel this unwhole. Times Square, with its screeching billboards, only reminds her of just how much she dislikes the ways that men prescribe their wives and daughters.
They remember why it was they left, and their fingers knot together in the dark.
They thought that they knew heroes: men both hot with blood and cold as their steel, but today’s laurels are saved for the courteous and kind, the charitable and the humble. It is no longer a title saved for those who would swap living for legend. Valhalla, it seems, is a house on Park Avenue, twenty-minutes walk from the ice rink. How sad.
And so, they try to adapt. Loki’s tongue draws the arch of what Sif cannot put into that rough language: if the world works in absolutes then are they not valuable? If to define an ideal, one must define its opposite, they can be of great aid—order through chaos, amity through bloodshed. But today’s heroes only balk and fold their arms.
In a home for those who struggle to keep the peace, it seems there is no place for the lord of misrule and his lady of war.
In the darkness, he turns in towards her because a touch will no longer suffice. How did he cope before when there was no one here to mirror him without moving and without speaking? Her hair still smells like gold. Can’t put it into words.
“I want to see more,” she whispers, because their tongues have been coaxed to voice affection for this realm. I want to see something else, she means inside. He knows, more than knows, the feeling, so he grips her in the darkness as if his hands would hold on to anything eternal. There’s no use now. He uses this human language to express what cannot be measured in letters and air over teeth, but so goes the curse. He tells her how he loves her.