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Beloved,

I wonder how the shadows create shifting expressions over your face as you consider my missive by your fireplace?

Ahhh.

Have you rolled your eyes, pursed your lips into an indignant grimace at how well I know you? You remember, don’t you, Will, that it is through knowing our beloved we know ourselves best of all. You told me once you dreamed me say these words to you. In all of life’s living I have come to know that sometimes it is in our dreams we live and speak our greatest truths.

Or perhaps, you’ve not read a word of this, but cast me into flames, still enveloped. A closed packet. Perhaps I burn before your eyes in a burst of radiance.

It doesn’t really matter, you see. My words on this paper are more like wine spilled across white table linen. You can wash them out, cleanse them with fire, if you will, but they will still leave a stain. Isn’t it true, Beloved, my voice stains the canals of your ears pink, as if I’d trickled a fine chianti into them? Do you feel the chill as it drips into you, through the funnel I hold?

You have stained me as well. I am forever marked, even if your presence is technically gone from me evermore, I feel you course through my marrow.

At night, I imagine the brand on my back glows as it aches, in a brilliantly, terrible beacon for you. Could I lure you with pain? I think not. At least not in the sense you teased me toward you with your fleshy, pulsating agony. How I remember carrying you from Muskrat Farm. I never shared with you the sense I had of being a groom carrying his newly espoused over some sort of cosmic threshold as we walked away from the Verger estate, or more aptly, as I walked away with my arms completely filled with you, Will.

Even in my brutalized condition, I’d never known purer happiness. So, I tell you now, or I tell your fire. Either way, you finally know how moon the moon shone like holy light upon us as I carried you through the snow. It consecrated not only us, but our deeds as well.

In your bed, I set you down that night, but I didn’t leave you there. It might not make sense to you, Will, but I never let you go. In my arms, you must stay. You only believe you cast me away, but there is a place where together we both laugh at this notion and also at our litany of sins.

Every day I write you, but rarely do I set physical pen to paper, or stub of graphite pencil as it were. As I am not afforded the luxury of actual pen and ink here, it is far more pleasant to retire to a certain room in my Memory Palace where I can access a calligraphy pen with a very fine nib, and can feel it flow with rich ink. In my Memory Palace, Will, my ink is the color of blood in the moonlight, a color far more decadent than black could ever know.

The window of this room overlooks the sea. Sometimes I write to you about my past. I tell you stories the likes of which have never coursed any other mortal ears. You alone hold the knowledge of how I became and how we become. I like to pause, pen in hand, and gaze out across the horizon. I like to imagine you trampling through your woods and streams with your pack. Soundlessly, I fly to you, slip up behind you and fall into your pace. Can you feel me take your hand? I do. But I hold it ever so lightly, lighter even than the breeze that tussles your gleaming curls. I feel a sense of something beneath your fingertips I have not felt since very early in my boyhood. Maybe there isn’t even a name for it. Perhaps it is simply the belonging of two very fragile pieces that click together to make something whole.

It is this thought that slingshots me back into myself with a searing pain. Yes, Will, I feel pain. Would you come for me if I told you I am broken as you are?

The morning after Muskrat Farm, you woke in my embrace and rolled to face me. You will remember you wept and accused me of breaking you. I believe your word was pulverize. “I am a teacup you have pulverized beneath your foot until I am but dust,” you cried against my chest. And you told me you never wanted to see me again.

We could have been together, could have disappeared together as ghosts. If you’d not cast me away, your hand would not have felt free to take that of another, but I don’t hold it against you. We have risen above betrayal and forgiveness, you and I, Will.

So, I search for your reflection in the glass of my cage.

There could be worse fates. And as this fate would have it, I am afforded ample time for picking up each particle of porcelain dust and searching for its mate. I will continue to search until the teacup is whole again, Will, until we are back together as one. This is a fate with which I can abide.

There are other fates, of course. Some better. Some worse. I contemplate them as I traverse the halls of Memory. Some nights it takes me hours to get from one end to another, just to find the room where I can hold your hand and kiss your fingertips while you sleep. Could you imagine such a thing? No matter. I can imagine it for us both. And I can hold and keep it safely tucked up on a very high shelf in that room, until you can imagine it as well.

You know where I exist.

And in dreams we wander with one another and know the truths of our becoming as we evolve, into greatest selves, into each other, into one single being.

So then.

Bless me with fire, Beloved. Consecrate me to flame, as I christen you with whatever is left in me, my breath and blood, beating your name like the wings of an ebony swan over a slick, satin stretch of sea.

Ever yours,

H.