You’re in my bed again, at last, tonight. You’re in my home again – or maybe prison to you, but home to me – at last, tonight. The moon is out, as it was that first night; but tonight only one pair of eyes is watching it. Yours are closed as you lie fast asleep, safely, deeply, in my arms; and I can now love you, safely, deeply, in your unconscious sleep, tonight.
No pain tonight, only love. The tears on my cheeks have evaporated. The moonlight has touched them with its anodyne lustre, and told them to go, for it will not hear of pain. The moon is full, as full as my safe, deep, calm love for you. No hysteria tonight; the moon won’t hear of it that, either. So I can love you safely, deeply, calmly, as I lie in your arms, and you in mine, my tears of just one hour ago dried up and forgotten.
Tears? What are they? I can’t even remember, as I lie so snugly, so closely, in your insentient arms, as close to you as I can ever be. And the moon won’t allow me to say as close to you as I can ever be. I am close to you tonight; that is all that matters. It is a fact, not a dream. I love you now as I’ve never loved before; that is also a fact – though love is fickle, I know, and memory even worse. If they weren’t fickle, no woman on this earth would ever have a second child, and no marriage would ever crumble.
I am not crumbling tonight. No broken bits of frenzied desire and passion, for you to scoop up or leave on the floor as you will. Only calmness and closeness, and this deep, deep, tremendous love I can freely give you, beneath the moon, tonight.
You are sleeping like a small child tonight. You could be my son when he creeps into my bed, with your face so close to mine, your warm breath on my cheek, your eyelids shuttering a world of charm and beauty which those oceanic irises bestow upon me, when in the mood. You both have charm and beauty, you and my son. You both sleep with bewitched ease, with short, shallow breaths and the occasional light snore. You both cause my heart to swell in an almost intolerable love … but there your similarities end. My son has never caused such pain as I will not acknowledge tonight, lying like this in your sleeping arms. The pain of birth is once; then it lies dormant till the next birth, the next pain, the next love. The pain of love, your spurious love for me, is like the frost that has put my house under siege – cold and hard, spurning all memory of the summer, freezing all hope for the future.
Tonight there is no pain, there is no memory. Tonight there are no seasons, no tears – only the residue of those forgotten ones, shed little over an hour ago but now extinct, buried deep beneath the frozen soil. But my love is not buried; it is wide awake, allowed to flourish in your child-like sleep. I can even whisper it in your ear and be safe: I love you, my love, and I want you and I need you and I desire you … and I don’t have to listen to you telling me that need kills desire, because your dreams won’t let you, and neither will the moon.
One day I will wake up again – maybe even tomorrow, in a few hours’ time. Some practicality within my calm bones tells me this is so. And as the moon pales into its own dreams, the pain will reawaken with the opening of your beautiful but cruel eyes, and my love will once more be my crucifix.
But not tonight. I have faith in the moon’s durability as it breathes down on us, hanging above the shimmering outline of forest, melting us in light when the world is dark.
Without you there is no light. My love is too huge. It is a grotesque, deformed, salivating vampire out to suck your life’s blood from you, thereby eternalising every last drop of your existence in the grave it has dug for you. Tonight my love is so huge that I understand everything and forgive you everything, for how could any man cope with this fearsome burden that I have hammered into every bone and tendon and vein and sinew of your body? But this knowledge does not hurt me, or rock my peace, because the moon will not hear of insecurity. Its long shaft of light has dried up my tears, shed such a short while ago, and painted me, together with you, in this deep, calm, unhysterical coating of love. It does not matter that I am awake and you are asleep. It is best this way. It is the only way, with you.
I hold you tighter, and rub my soft cheek against your rough bristle, and swallow your unconscious breath, and screw my eyes as tight as my embrace, to concentrate on this moment. This is the only way. The only way I can go on living is to be a thief – to steal the love out of you in the depth of night.
At last, to your closed eyelids I can whisper the forbidden words: I love you, whether you believe them or not, whether you understand them or not, whether you mock them or not. I can press my body as close to yours as it can possibly get, and obliterate you in my drowning world of need and desire and shocking, echoing love.
And I can say again and again and again: I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you …
The above extract is from my novel, ‘Thirteen States of Being’