Our finest impulses

Henry Miller body, remember

Someone once opined there was no excuse for you not leaving. That there was no great tragedy binding you to the life that existed before we met. We were not playing out our love against the backdrop of history, no great cultural wall was separating us. To choose me was not a matter of life or death, or the demanding of an ultimate sacrifice. It was merely a play off between comfort and desire.

What they never understood was the strength of your invisible ties. Like so many men your sense of right and wrong came from a book and a wooden spoon. Later it would be your father’s magazines and a box around the ears for disrespecting your mother. Decency wrapped itself around your wild parts as love was metered out in ancient verse and trips to the bathroom at your father’s office.

I can’t imagine how much you pushed right down when they told you lust is a shameful sin. How the cravings fizzing and floating in your little head went underground. How the first woman you desired ripped it right out of you, unexpected and inconvenient. And how you spent the rest of your life trying to keep a lid on what had spilled out, to flee the evil desires of youth.

And of course it worked until this Pandora came along. When I pried open that lid and sifted through the troubles I found there. How they hit the light and were found to be things of beauty. Lust. Desire. Curiosity. Passion. Hunger. Dangerous only to those who don’t possess them. I laid them out before you, and I showed you my matching cards. Don’t slaughter your finest impulses I said. I recognise these as my own.

I know I reminded you of that first woman. I know how you had locked down a part of yourself in order to run the race. It was your good fight. But I like to think if she was the first, I was your finest impulse. The sudden and electric push. A desire of no discrimination. That for a moment I helped you believe in your own criterion of truth and beauty. That you understood life’s most basic truths when in my arms because we derived from the same source. I like to think I eased your heartache baby. By showing you what was already there.

Because it is as great a tragedy as any. The idea of someone else’s truth. The walls that are built between comfort and desire. And the slaughtering of one’s finest impulses where following the heart is not considered the ultimate act of faith.

(I introduced you to Henry for a reason. If it really was merely a play off between the two, I had hoped that between us we might have stacked the odds in favour of desire)

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