“How does one balance the subjectivity of ethics, of incorruptibility, against the primeval, innate response to the simplicity of human touch now that he understands desire? Now that he has an appetite for more of the same?” Simple enough questions to answer were she an adept physiologist. Regrettably, she is not. One thing is for certain, for beyond doubt she knows that when death’s door finally invites, he must journey beside her. He would never survive abandoned.
Damage done? A fallible catastrophe? A naiveté abused? A grownup innocence corrupted? Or, rather a goodness curtesy of love’s own curious offerings? She decides that, against all odds, in spite of all the unanswerable questions, she has found in her damaged ‘lost but now found again’ lover, an inexperienced, gentle giant, a perhaps calculable yet nevertheless inexplicable rekindled love. The kiss they shared, on Pont de l’Archevêché, Paris the night the war ended comes fervently to mind. That kiss had sparked a spree of indulgence like no other before or since. But that was a time before he was broken. She pulls herself together, determines her duty henceforth is simply to ensure he is kept out of harm’s way.
What had begun as inquisitive compulsion, an honest enough nocturnal unmasking had spawned her quandary, as was obvious in hindsight. That it had led to exploration of shared hearts, minds and inevitably, unbaked sex, a predictable thing? A vital element in his progression or her self-indulgent manipulation toward an immodest end? In part, she sees herself as she-devil, the perpetrator of an intimacy akin to incest. In part, an angel of mercy fulfilling the cause of sexual virtue. Surely only believers would feel such guilt? She holds no beliefs. Why then does guilt overwhelm her? So many questions, none that she can answer.
While he still sleeps, she carefully climbs across his bare torso, mindful not to disturb. A difficult task performed upon a single bed. Before bathing, she telephones through an order for a king-sized bed from the department store in town. The antique gruff proprietor, in a typical huff, suggests she visits and chooses one to her exact liking. She tells him who she is, and that his most expensive bed will suffice. Her mind and future made up. Nothing further to discuss save that he should put it on her account. He huffs no more and agrees delivery for the next-day.
Enlightened instinct marks that this new day, her now deaf, mute and blind giants grasp on all things, not just the carnal, will be by far and away, greater than yesterday’s.
Outside it is warm and getting warmer. Their privacy is assured. Little point in getting dressed. She keeps a vigilant ear out for when he stirs. French toast and a cup of black tea outside on the patio. A quizzical recollection from late into last night, ‘It is as if the tip of his tongue upon my belly is trying to spell out words, as much as anything else’. The intuition born of being female argues that a rare magic is afoot.