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


3. Needing, wanting, searching


Jack leaves, Patrick goes to Jack (Patrickís POV)

Just like that, he was gone.
I had done the unthinkable, and he had left me.
ďForgive me,Ē he had said, and he had touched my cheek.
How like him, asking forgiveness for a sin all of my own. Giving me the last gift of a touch, when what I feel is Iím too soiled to touch.
Unwelcome the sun rose that morning. I wanted to plunge myself in darkness and silence, I wanted to dissolve into this coal-stained fog wrapping wintertime London as a funeral shroud. But no, my heart beat on too loud, pushing waves of red blood through my veins and pounding into my aching head. This wretched paradox of life, compelling me to eat, drink, sleep, perform bodily functions, while all I want is die. Life holding open the doors of my mind, my body and my soul to the demons which possess me, and which demand of me that I perform other, unspeakable bodily functions...
I should despise them and myself, when I orgasm with his name on my lips, but I canít and I donít, because I am soiled, but heís sacred to me.
Yes, he is sacred, and I will shout it out to Heaven and I will fight God Himself for his immortal soul, even as I tumble into Hell. My Jack. My beloved. Whoever will have his heart (mine misses a beat at the thought), he will always be my beloved.
And so it is that I cannot make myself leave.
I cannot stand the idea of being physically far from him, not anymore, not again.
My whole time is filled with him.
I spy him from behind my drawn curtains when he goes out of an early morning-- no tarrying in bed for him. I watch as he comes home at tea-time. I count the times when he only returns after dinner, sometimes late at night. I try to divine his state of mind by the way he folds his cape around his left shoulder, the gesture with which he checks his watch. I try to guess whose company heís kept, and where. If he... Whether he...
I cannot.
I cannot.
How I hate him when I think about these things.
I hate him!
I hate his calm, his common sense, his patience with me, his faith which came so far as to let me lead him into the deadly danger of love, and thence even further, to the brink of the abyss where he felt, he knew!, I didnít want to pull him after me.
And so he left.
He knows me better than I know myself, and how I hate him for that...
...but I donít want to, because allowing myself to hate him for being the man he is would be my final damnation. Our final damnation.
I must leave him be.
I should leave.
But I donít.
I watch.

Seven pairs of steel shoes I have worn out
as I have wandered in search of you;
seven steel walking sticks I have worn out
on which I leaned in my fateful search;
seven flasks I have filled up with my tears,
seven long years of the most bitter tears;
you do not wake at my desperate call,
and the cock crows, and you are sleeping still.

I am a prisoner in a cruel fairy tale, and still I canít get free, and my heart dries out day by day in my guilt and my want. They wage their battle, Guilt and Want, for seven by seven days, seven weeks of bleakness, until...
Until Want defeats Guilt.
There is no crowing of cocks heard in London on a morning, but 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 Jackís door.


NdA: My translation from GiosuŤ Carducci, Davanti San Guido (1874), lines 93-100.

Tearing down the barrier,
one layer at a time