Desire compels me, circumstance restricts me, experience directs me. I am left with no choice but to observe, and regret. And regret begets desire.
He awoke soaked to the skin. The smell of sweat and brine. Her salty skin stuck to his. Opening eyes upon eyes of sky blue. Freckles upon freckles. A sweet seaside smile.
“Did you save me?” he asked.
“You were beyond saving,” she replied.
“So,” he reached up into her golden hair, “are you an angel?”
“Ha!” She threw her head back. “My sweet love!” She settled her weight back down onto him. “I’m no angel! I am your shipwrecker! The cause of all your woes.”
“You were in the sea. You were drowning.”
“I summoned you.”
“You summoned me?!”
“I was lonely.” She kissed him, then drew away, giving him no chance to kiss her in return.
“And my ship..?”
“Mere kindling, my dear.” She kissed at his ear. “Smithereened,” she whispered.
“So, what do we do now?” He looked down at her kelpy nakedness.
“We? There is no ‘we’! There is just you, imperilled, and me, your curse.”
“Are you still lonely?” he asked.
“No, not now. I have you.”
“Do you love me?”
“I cannot love you. I belong to the sea. And soon I must be gone.”
“Must you go?”
“You know I can’t lie here with you all day.”
“Can’t you call in sick?”
“Not if I want to pay the rent.” She reached over him to look at the bedside clock. “Hmm. Ten minutes.”
“Okay, then. Move over, my love,” he winked. “Let’s have a quick go the other way round.”
Autumn has drawn on her calling shawl and comes tapping at the door. As always, I am relieved to see her melancholy smile, her tender hazel eyes. I offer her a basket of fruit. She brings me a bundle of kindling and a handful of acorns.
She takes her place at the table and we talk of old times, when I was so much younger than her. I guess we are now pretty much the same age, and I feel I worship her less, understand her more.
She looks at the fruit basket and asks of Summer’s visit, and if I fell for the easy charm of her warm embrace. I admit that Summer actually undressed me for the first time in years, then she wants to know every detail of every quickened heartbeat. Her cheeks flush at some of the things I confess, then she touches a finger to my lips and tells me of Old Lady Winter’s plans to visit, and I shiver, and she laughs.
We spend our day kicking up leaves and strolling hand in hand by the canal, our evening singing together in the dusk light and sharing smoky kisses. Nevertheless, I feel things are not quite how they should be. An unfamiliar frown tells me she is holding something back.
When pressed, she tells me that it’s nothing. But when I put my hand up her sweater she packs her stuff and slams the door so hard it splinters in the frame, knocks out a window for good measure, and says she hopes Old Lady Winter bites my fucking ass.
It’s you I desire
Can you take this torch from me
Can you lay me down
On unholy ground
And drink deep of me
An unbearable fire
Can you see the change in me
Can you lay me down
Bind my limbs around
And move inside of me
Take out my heart
See it still beating
Our kind of love
Is only fleeting
Is not for me
Cut away the strings
That keep me bound to life
Ah, the first cut stings
We do not need the rings
To bind us man and wife
I take this knife
There is nothing more to keep you
Wide awake and watchful now
Take you in my arms and sweep you
Up to bed and kiss your brow
Snow is falling on a mountain
Whales are swimming in the deep
Stars are flowing from a fountain
It is time to go to sleep
Make a wish and blow it to the moon
All your questions will be answered soon
The moon sits on a chimney pot
Clouds are snuggled with the sheep
And you are in your little cot
For it is time to go to sleep
Go to sleep
We walk together
Thru scenes of our shared past
That I have no understanding of
Or power to change
The cratered kitchen
The entrenched bedroom
The unrecognisable twisted limbs
What could I have done?
“You could have done nothing
You think you hold the power to change me?
You hold my hand
She wears a red glove
“So you might stop crying now”