Along the land, the coastal land, as the summer ends, a new summer begins. The nights are colder, the sun is weaker, the sea is still warm. In the warmth of the afternoon, I walk along the grass-to-sand edge of the house, circling it, painting a fence around it with my body, protecting it. She is asleep inside, I am awake.
I remember this memory, this song I sang to her:
I called you, again and again, you didn't answer. I sent you one of those goddamned text messages, three of them, you didn't answer. I went to your door, rang the bell, banged on the door... you should have been there, if you were there you didn't answer, if you weren't, if you weren't where were you, where were you at 3am in the morning. Are you treating me to the torture you once scratched on my face the torture you said I rendered you with, silence in the face of emotion, no talk, no look, no response. Is that it, are you empowering yourself to render me.
Later, she came to my room and without a word went, sat in the shower. I sat with her. It never happened again.
I remember this memory, this song she sang to me:
Why when I shout at you, you look down. Why when I cry, your eyes are wet yet you don't cry. What I need, you need. When I need, you walk away. I've let you into my dark places, you say nothing. You let me into your dark places, I call out to you, you say nothing. Is it fear. Is it loss of self. Is it panic.
I offered to touch, to kiss, she refused it. Later I began to speak. The words poured like wine through a broken cork. She listened for hours. We were free.
For ten years we were lovers… an affair of the heart, I called it. No, you are a thief of hearts, she would say. And what are you, I would say, my victim? No, she would whisper, your loot.
For ten years we touched each other's skin, we slept together and bathed together. We stared into each other's eyes until our eyes went dark. We whispered our names in a thousand different phrases, in a hundred gestures, in echoes that flooded the memory with music. We went to places, walked along streets, lonely together because we couldn't share with other people. Afraid to share, afraid to lose a moment, because above all, our passion for each other glowed… green like sea fire, glimmering like a delicate, thin glass, floating on our fingertips, buoyant from our breath, waiting to shatter if either of us so much as looked away. We believed, I believed, that one day we would fall asleep together and never wake up. We would cross from white to black… no shades or colors in between… the most dangerous expense of life, this.
Then it came. Now she is asleep, falling deeper and deeper into dark sleep… and I am awake.
Grief, mourning, remorse, regret, the breath of pain... all of these are fences around a vast shadow of silence. Memory will fade. It lives only until I am no longer awake. The expense has been paid.