My friend, I call him still and always, and he picks up the dry note if no one else does. What else am I going to call him? It's what everyone thinks, the ones who don't think us old enemies, or friends and enemies both. Or former lovers, or current ones, and they're the ones who congratulate themselves on their shrewdness, their perspicacity. Shrewd!
He had to be contained, I saw that much after the initial intoxication. I did what I could, perhaps not enough. Maybe I could have done more, but I'd have had to be a saint to go with him after the beach, to ameliorate the madness with counsel and caresses. Could you have done it? I'm not such a saint: after all. I preferred safety, a fox-hole lacking the one who'd maimed me, and an embattled stasis. And I was cautious for the sake of the kids too. He'd shown his ruthlessness clear enough, and so had she.
Since then I've maintained a distance, except when a brief rapprochement seemed diplomatic, and useful. He's so very far from stupid that he knows full well he's getting a quid pro quo, not love or anything like it. But sometimes he'll settle for that. It long since ceased to please me, that weakness for a certain shade of blue, and an English accent. For traits he'd decry as softnesses in anyone else. Certain things I possess that push his buttons despite himself, that land me with responsibility I'd sooner not shoulder, given the choice. He still has his own charms, and it's not as if it's distasteful. Just that sense of drinking poisoned wine, of dining off fugu fish, and wondering if this perfect meal will be the last, the time Death rolls the dice and you've trusted to luck once too often.
His poor mother! But maybe she was fortunate in a way. She never had to see what he was hammered into: she never had to live through rejection for being a human weakness, a softness. (Do I think he would have? Yes.)
His mind was beautiful in the way of a cobra: and I was seduced, briefly. Anyone would have been, I defy you. Body, psyche, perhaps not so much the heart. There was good in him once, but what does that even begin to mean when it's so crushed down and disregarded?
I could end them, and I think if he understood how easy that would be, how I make the choice not to do so every day, he'd strike first. Old fascination, a long history of fucking during cessation of hostilities, and fond memories would have nothing to say in the matter.
I could end them, or they'll end all of us one day. Erik, and the one who ceased to be a sister to me a long time ago. It's a difficult choice, such old friends as we are.
Affection stays his hand, still, sometimes. Less and less.