Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Chapter 15 : When love and death embrace

If memory serves me right, we didn't know each other for that long when I said something that I thought was incredibly witty, and turned out to be quite rude.
You slapped me, and by God, I did deserve it.
By then I was hopelessly in love with you, and the seeds of the love that I would feel for you were already in bloom.

A strange thing, love. It makes us long so much for the touch of another, that even a slap in the face will make us feel terribly blessed.
And it felt so good being in love with you... when, months later, you told me that you felt the same for me, you made me the happiest guy in the world, Natalie.

Ah... if I were to say that I had an ideal woman in my mind, it would have to be you...
A bit shorter than me, a slender, languid, petite body... Your face, your beautiful face, always smiling, full of freckles that I so adored, and a mouth full of metal that gave you the sexiest smile in the world : small strings of silver over perfect, white teeth.
I spent hours, days, years kissing that mouth, those lips, just wondering what madness had possessed you to want me.

I recall the day when finally we became as one.
We were talking, and i was complaining about my life, saying with great exaggeration that nobody would ever want me because I was old, and ugly, and fat.
You looked at me, eyes full of tenderness, piercing my very soul, and you held my hands.
You said, "I read today something in the subway. It's a phrase from an old Chinese philosopher, Lao Tze, I believe."
"Time goes by, but I wait for you".
I didn't answer because you didn't give me the chance to; you pressed your lips against mine and kissed me with the fury and passion of a Valkyrie.

Natalie, if you only knew how you made me happy...
I look back, and even days we had that were less good were infinitely better than any day I spent without you.
Those were the best days of my life.

The first months of a relationship are always, and it is indeed a strange dichotomy, the best and most complicated.
Because, and however you look at it, there are always so many fears and doubts... and so many words are said, so many promises are made.
It's a time of adaptation, of commitment, of getting to know one another, and of giving so much of ourselves to the other.
And it is during that time that, and though we may love each other, that we really learn to respect what we think as individuals, even if we think nothing alike..

Still... one year into this relationship was bliss for us... so we decided to celebrate.
I imagine that we could have gone maybe to a fancy restaurant, but we chose to stay in.
I guess we said that there would be no presents, but I couldn't resist and got you a green scarf that brought out the green in your eyes, and you got me a perfume you made me promise I would wear only for you.
The meal was something simple and satisfying, and for you I even made that supreme sacrifice : eating salmon.
The white wine was just at the right kind of cold, and we drank with pleasure.
Then I asked you if you were happy.

A bit stunned, you asked, "What do you mean? Happy with what?"
"I dunno.", I replied. "With me? With us?"
"I dunno...", I repeated, "I just thought that..."
"What did you think, Jon? Are you trying to tell me that... that we're through, is that it?"
"I don't know what I'm trying to say. I really don't. I really don't. But is that what you want?"
"No!", you cried, and the first tears began to fall from your eyes.
"Why would I want that? I love you..."

One year, that went by quick as a fraction of a heartbeat, and still it seemed as long as a thousand lifetimes, and for the first time you told me you loved me.
"You are someone very deep, Natalie.", I said, and by then I was crouching on the floor, my head between my legs.
I stared at you, and continued, "There is so much that you keep for yourself, and sometimes I need you tell me certain things. Sometimes I need you to help me."
"And I know that what we have is truly special", I said.
"Truth is, I don't want us to stick together just because we got used to each other, or because we are too afraid to say whatever we have to say, or out of pity."
"Jon... you are the single most important person in my life. You have to know that. And I have no idea what I'd do if... I love you.", you said.
"And I love you, Natalie."

And I love you, Natalie.
There is not much left that I can still give you, because I always gave you my all. All that I had, and all that I was, was for you.
Take these words. Embrace these memories.
Maybe, if I say them loud enough, the wind will carry them far away, and turn them into something so much more than mere words, something more than sounds or the mere junction of letters.
In the farthest reaches of space, through the ages, through untold milennia, the legacy of these words, as invisible as a solar storm and inaudible as a tree falling in the woods when there is no one around to hear will be celebrated by the hosts of the heavens, sung as a song by a siren that calls all ships to port, told as a story to rock the children to sleep, and dream of that soft look your eyes had once.

Ah, memory, such a cruel thing...
I remember our last day, my love.
You were so weak, all strength had failed you, I know.
You were weak, and your hope was weaker. The calls were stronger, and the pain you felt brought echoes to your pain.
And I know that i was the one who killed you.
It was me who stole from you the will to live, Natalie, when i left you.
In truth, you didn't die, you just have up on life.
I always knew I would end up hurting you, and disappointing you, my love.
In all honesty, I thought that if i left your life, I would save you from all this pain, that you would be so much happier.
But I killed you.
Your little heart just couldn't bear the pain I made you feel.

I look at you, in your bed, and you smile when you see me.
It hurts seeing you like this. It hurts so much.
You should be up, jumping, singing, kissing me... and I should have never left your side. Never.
But it's way too late, isn't it? And now I look at you, a skeleton of a person, a lifeless shell.
Just a shadow of what you were meant to be.

I look at you, in your bed, in that wedding bed where love and death so tenderly kiss each other, and are finally united...

You look at me from your bed, and for one second it was as if the person you were was back.
You're too tired to speak, to struggle.
Without me noticing, my hands are in yours, bones against flesh, death against life.

You look at me from your bed, in such peace and tranquillity that went beyond words.
You know your fate and you are not afraid to embrace it, because the worst that could ever happen has already happened.

You look at me from your bed, just like Iphigenia on the altar, like Jesus on the cross.
The salt in my tears mingles with the salt in yours.
Through eyes that can barely see, you look at me, squeeze my hand tight, stronger than you or I thought possible, and say, "I love you."
"And I love you, Natalie.", I said, and gave you one final graven kiss, as I saw life going out from your eyes.

And I love you, Natalie.

"I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds."

Vishnu, The Bhagavad-Gitta.

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