by athens7 as Jack (font: Courier New)
and mazaher as Patrick (font: Verdana)


3. Needing, wanting, searching


Patrick leaves, Patrick goes to Jack (Patrick’s POV)

I died then, and stayed dead for the rest of that cursed winter.
Someone should write about how terrible it would be, always winter and never Christmas. I had ruined our last Christmas, together with all my Christmases forever... And terrible it was, a brittle chill, that no fire could melt, piercing my veins.
But then winter got old.

It is the break of dawn, a mild clear day in the second week of February, when I carefully choose one perfect marigold from the bunch of flowers in the hall, slide the stem into my buttonhole, tuck it under the lapel, and step out of the front door.
Marigold is for repentance.
I walk seven steps down the street and knock on Jack’s door.

The housemaid answers, her hand busy straightening her apron as she does a quick curtsy. I am known for a generous tipper, when the fancy takes me.
“Is Mr. Waszowski at home?”
“Yes, Sir, but...”
“Would you please announce me? Despite the early hour, I am sure he will be agreeable to see me.”
I am not sure at all that he will. The only sure thing is that I must see him, I must see him now, by goodwill or by force. She climbs the stairs. I stand in the hall and try not to fidget.
I catch a glimpse of myself in the long mirror reflecting the vase of calla lilies on the console. A long thin line of worry, a hint of madness in the eyes. Who could ever want me? Who could ever love me? My very qualities condemn me, because I waste them. Yet I want him, although I am not worth, and regret nothing. I came here to ask his forgiveness, but I am a liar. I do not repent...
His steps down the stair.
My heart skips a beat.
I cannot raise my eyes to look at him.
I feel him coming nearer, I see his hand extended, then retracted-- he will not touch me.
“Come,” he says, and his voice is imperceptibly tense under his even tone, “let’s talk in the study.”
He precedes me, I follow, beyond the heavy double door, through the small dark antechamber, past the thick velvet curtains draped two deep, and into the large room lined with books, the silent room where he spends so much of his time and which is just now filled with the hopeful light of this almost-spring morning.
We stand on the Agra carpet where hunters on horseback pierce tigers with their spears, marking them with fierce flowers of gushing blood. We face each other. Our eyes meet.
This is the moment for truth.


NdA: curiously, a discussion in these very terms about the psychological properties of wintertime can be found in Clive S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (1950).

Tearing down the barrier,
one layer at a time