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" Fantasy and Reality | 2008 | Sunshine and the Storm Cloud "

07.10.08 1:11 p.m.

Women are meant to be loved, not to be understood.  

-Oscar Wilde


Apologia Pro Amor Sua

"Is that a vial of Melanie's blood around your neck?" my father asks, having seen the dark garnet pendant Melanie lent me as a memento while she is away. From this simple question, I think several things in quick succession. One, my family would not be surprised to learn I was wearing a vial of vital fluids around my neck. Two, if it was Melanie's blood, the idea actually tips the scales at romantic rather than creepy gross. Three, my family does not quite understand the tone of our relationship, but they gather that it is serious enough to involve bloodshed. Four, really, does one bottle blood? Surely there must be a pasteurizing process or a preservative, right? People talk of blood curdling and I can't imagine that's something I would want that scabbing on my neck.

What strikes me as especially strange is how my father later tells me that he feels I portray Melanie as a bit of a bitch in these entries, referencing her comment about the "Wicca silliness" and a joking remark about sterilizing stupid people. I reply, trying my hardest not to feel that I was falling back into my role as apologist, "No, it's just that she is very honest." Given that my family thought the majority of my seven year relationship with Emily was based on exaggerations or fictions, I imagined that this qualitative difference would come across and I can be fairly certain that I've perhaps placed undue emphasis on this trait. So much is in the physical tonality of her remarks, but I know that Melanie would not say something to hurt me. When she told me in detail that she did not like the story I had been puttering around with for years, this was a greater kindness. Better I hear this from someone I love than a dozen rejection letters. Given my history, I have come to greatly appreciate those who are willing to tell me the truth when I need to hear it (even and especially if I don't want to hear it). I like best when they manage to make me hear it, even when I have stopped my ear up with wishes and convenience.

Part of the problem of my portrayal of her is that I am the one doing the portraying and I am given to including harsh comments that I find hilarious. I write to entertain as well as enlighten and there are only so many times I can drip poetry for her or from her before you all die of insulin shock, though I am going to test your limits. I can't transcribe what it feels like to be in bed with her, what it's like when she smiles and looks down demurely when her thoughts are anything but. To see her blush because I've said something complimentary and true. To feel that I lucked into something powerful and good for me. These things nourish my soul.

I've been burned, I know that. I've been singed and scorched and flambeed. I've been deluded, but I'm not doing that. Melanie has given me reason and motivation to be more honest with myself and with you, my dear readers. I'm going to exploit that. As I said before and will say again, she has a bit of Gallic snobbery, raised by two college professors, and she's an only child. She's profound and precocious. She's still figuring out who she is, not that any of us should really stop. If truth means I have to transcribe more kisses, I'm willing but will have to wait months while my lips go fallow. I'll detail emotions.

I'm being honest with you. The comment about the Wicca silliness, I shrugged off. I don't need her to wish to dance under the moon. The writing comment put me off, then motivated me so much more. I send her all my writing because I believe she has the experience, intelligence, standards, and love to tell me when I've created something horrid or masterful. She doesn't lie to me.

I could write that I love her a thousand times and mean it, each one with its own inflection and meaning. I love her eyes and smile, the light in her hair, the softness of her skin even in pictures, but these are physical and I easily love her beyond that. I could tell you that I love how she touches me, the gentle eagerness, the subtle-to-overt passion of even the brush of her hand on my cheek, but that would simply be a recounting of what she does to express her love. The love I harbor for her is beyond even this, beyond bodies and even my garden of words. I love her for who she is, who she's been, who she becomes. I love her in silence and screaming, at midnight and noon. I love her for each day I can imagine her in my arms as I wake up, for every time I smile remembering her kiss. I love her from an ocean away. Were she on another planet, I would find my way to her or wait with the patience of Penelope for her fabled return. I love her in a way that is nude and unafraid. I love the pictures she sends because they give me a fraction of a second within her eyes, seeing what she finds most important in a cathedral or landscape. I glow whenever I encounter the stories of famous lovers because I see them as archetypes we will exceed. I love her with my eyes wide open, taking her in totally. I love her in dreams, where she sits with me while the world melts in dawn. My love holds and nourishes, shield when she needs it, steps aside when she doesn't. My love is more constant than breath. My love is honest and thorough, devout and whole. I do believe there is nothing we cannot surmount together not because it is a common sentiment of lovers but because I believe it. I have such faith in her that it is her name I would whisper in my prayers. I don't worship her, I revere her. I see in her someone truly full of wonder. I see in her a woman I could talk with and hold through the decades, someone I will always love in more ways than I know to count.

Soon in Xenology: Hanniel. Self-pity/evaluation. Interviews. Fireworks.

last watched: Wall-E
reading: The Princess Bride
listening: Highly Evolved

" Fantasy and Reality | 2008 | Sunshine and the Storm Cloud "

Thomm Quackenbush is an author and teacher in the Hudson Valley. Double Dragon publishes four novels in his Night's Dream series (We Shadows, Danse Macabre, and Artificial Gods, and Flies to Wanton Boys). He has sold jewelry in Victorian England, confused children as a mad scientist, filed away more books than anyone has ever read, and tried to inspire the learning disabled and gifted. He is capable of crossing one eye, raising one eyebrow, and once accidentally groped a ghost. When not writing, he can be found biking, hiking the Adirondacks, grazing on snacks at art openings, and keeping a straight face when listening to people tell him they are in touch with 164 species of interstellar beings. He likes when you comment.

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