The strength of your invisible ties.
Like so many men, your sense of right and wrong came first from that book, and the tap-tap of a judicious spoon. Later it would be your father’s girly magazines, and a box to the ears for disrespecting your mother. Decency wrapped itself around your wild parts; 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 was a shameful sin. How the cravings fizzing and floating in your little head went underground. I know the first woman you desired ripped it right out of you, unexpectedly, inconveniently – and how it thrilled you. She was older, you spent a summer fucking every afternoon, and learning to keep the hunger a secret; it fit right in with what they told you about sex and shame, the way you couldn’t take her home, and how it made you feel queasy to think about her. Until she would stand naked in front of you again, and the world would spin a different way. They hadn’t prepared you for how good this would feel, how secrets and lies made the release even better. It was the best summer of your life, and also the most dangerous. When you went back to school, and she went back to her husband, you were relieved to find yourself back on solid ground. You took a nice girl home to mum and dad, and the world righted itself.
You never saw your first lover again.
You spent the rest of your life trying to keep a lid on what had spilled out, to flee what you had discovered. And of course it worked until this Pandora came along. When I pried open that lid, and sifted through the troubles I found there. As they hit the light, your sins were the most beautiful things I’d ever seen. Lust. Curiousity. Hunger. Passion. They had all survived their time underground.
You don’t have to hide these from me, I told you, as I laid them out before you. They are my sins, too.
I know I reminded you of that first woman. And I like to think that if she was the first, I became your greatest sin. The desire for truth that would not be reasoned away. I like to think you understood yourself better when you were in my arms, Mack. That I eased your burdens, just a little. By loving all of your darkest parts.
Because it is as great a tragedy as any, don’t you think? This idea of living somebody else’s truth. All these walls we’ve build between comfort and desire, just to hide what we know.
And how being true to oneself has never been considered the ultimate act of faith.
“Every day we slaughter our finest impulses. That is why we get a heartache when we read those lines written by the hand of a master and recognize them as our own, as the tender shoots which we stifled because we lacked the faith to believe in our own powers, our own criterion of truth and beauty.
Every man, when he gets quiet, when he becomes desperately honest with himself, is capable of uttering profound truths. We all derive from the same source. there is no mystery about the origin of things. We are all part of creation, all kings, all poets, all musicians; we have only to open up, only to discover what is already there.” – Henry Miller