There are times I am light, and there are times I am shadow. Times where I am to be seen, and times where I must be invisible.
Today, I knelt for him for an hour. Every lamp in the room was turned towards the table, a castle of light surrounded by a dark moat. I disrobed slowly, moving carefully, as gracefully as I can. Moving in the way you taught me, in those painstaking hours so long ago. It doesn’t take me long, of course. I am used to dressing and undressing quickly, and to finding little difference between the states.
There is all the difference.
Dress, underwear: neatly folded, and placed below the table. I climb, and kneel. Knees apart, exactly eight inches. Head bowed, but back straight. Wrists crossed, woven strand bracelet touching woven strand bracelet.
How could you forget all this? How could you lose what all this meant to us?
He is in the room. I know. I have an extra sense, a feeling. I don’t need to see – I am forbidden to look. I am in light, and I am to be seen, and not, now, to see. Not seeing, though, doesn’t stop me from being aware. You and he. I have never not known when you were with me.
You taught me this, too, do you remember? You taught me that breathing could be a sexual act. That to kneel, or to stand, or to lie, and to breathe was an intense act of submission. The slow rise and fall of my chest. The air over my lips. The sound in the silence.
Today I knelt in the light, glorifying every breath of my submission. In the way you taught me to give, and the way you taught him to take.
How could you cast this aside?
I was shadow, the day I first saw him. My back was to the wall, my gaze fixed on the middle of the room. I have very good peripheral vision. And I watch.
I knew you were in love. It shone in your voice, in your frame. How well I watched your every movement, in those days. You were the centre of every room. “Things fall apart,” you said to me, broken, much later. But you were wrong. It wasn’t a thing that fell apart; it was you.
We are colours, he, you and I. Purple and black and midnight blue. Purple and black intertwined around me, twisted together, vein on vein, nerve on nerve. I live in a world of your colours.
You were in love, and I loved you more for it. I saw your touch on him, his touch of you, and I saw you both delight in it.
I watched your first kiss, that night. It was just after I had served wine and bread, a shade passing across the light. I watched the hesitation, the long study of each other’s mouth as you talked. You talked of nothing, of places, of others. The rope between you pulled taut, a ratchet click marked the counting down of seconds. I breathed silently. I was shadow. I was proud to be witnessing it.
That kiss between you held a promise. A promise that you would walk together. That you would share. That you would transform him as you transformed me. You were a catalyst. You did not change, but in your presence, we changed. No. We didn’t change. We became.
How could it be you who changed in the end? How was it that everything that he and I am, everything that was founded on the rock of you, could slip away?
I knew you would share me, too. Your bright soul could deny nothing to those you loved. But I knew you would wait until I made my desire obvious, so I chose to make it obvious.
There is a tension, when two people who want are in the same space. It is a cord wrapped around them, invisible but tangible, pulling them together ever tighter. I know how to look for it, how to perceive it.
I see only in the way you taught me to see, so how could you not but see it? I showed that binding cord to you, and to him, and you both understood: Where my life had revolved around one star, there were now two centres.
I dress, and I undress. I am always naked before you.
He and I stole kisses in stolen moments, wrist caught in passing hand. A turn, a gasp, a stab of desire. I heard you laugh about it. Heard him joke about the beauty of your weapons. Had you planted our furtive love deliberately?
I wore your bracelets around my wrists – two black bands, tight to my skin. A prison, a bond, a comfort. I had only to touch them together to feel secured.
I knelt before both of you, not in the usual pose, which long practice has made almost comfortable, but instead with my forehead pressed to the ground and my arms spread, hands raised high just to surrender, my bottom high in the air. Exposed. Vulnerable. Prostrate.
You took my right wrist, and he my left. Both holds were firm, pulling my arms further apart. But my shoulders felt stronger than before, and there was balance in the pressure. Together, you took the simple black bands from me, and replaced them. Purple and black strands, woven together.
We shared wine, and bread. We drank, and kissed, and fucked late into the night, and if I was hoarse and sore the next morning then it was the echo of a song praising all that we were.
Later, I gave you both rings. His, midnight blue and black, yours, blue and purple.
I wept the day you lost yours.
I loved. I still love. I love, and I love, and I love.
We three lived only in the shadow or in the light. We loved in black and white and I never thought that you would be lost in grey.
All the unsaid, shouted, words that are etched in stark staccato lettering through my soul are illegible and blurred to you now. I know that it feels to you like the night has grown colder, and love has departed. You pass sentence on uncommitted crimes, ruminate on unuttered slights, and all that was beautiful and sharp is become drab and dull.
There are days when I do not know whether to let you go, and wait for trumpets to sound in all the imagined corners, or to kneel and beg the light once more to shine from your eyes, and the code that so bewilders you be broken, and the crucifix uncrossed.
Still, I love. And he loves. Though you are lost to us, trapped in the dimming of your day-bright soul, we search for the prisoner in the ruined castle, and we offer wine and bread, in the dream that he will remember the truth that was, and remember that he, too, loves.
I love, and I love, and I love. And those loves are unique, and part of one act.
He lit a candle, today, and I spread myself beneath it, the wax drops stinging shards on my skin, each one a memory of you.
Later, we lay together, skin on skin, sweat on sweat, and your name was the joyous praise he drew from my lips.
Our love is never lost. If I am the moon and he the earth, remember that we both revolve around the sun, and all vast distances shrink before the forces between us.
Remember this, over and after all else: I love, and I love, and I love.