We talk often about love, for two reasons I think: first because it is so vital to us both, and we are both so good at it badly and so poor at it well; second, secretly, plausibly deniably, because we are negotiating terms, kicking the notion back and forth, trying to find a way to it or from it or someplace, at least, where it won’t dandle in the air like a sullen inscrutable road sign, pointing down fictive roads to uncertain destinations.
We both know our roles so well, by now, after years in the field — I the hot needle of inquiry, impetuous, certain, fretful, who will not be turned; you the calmer of the furies, cool, deft, implacable, who will not be penetrated. When emotion surges up we ride the swells in amazement, startled by the sudden water. It makes me wonder if the beach is surprised, anew every day, when the tide batters in.
I know you have loved, have been in love, have been near love, have been choked, insensible, besotted with it, as I have. I know you’ve loved full bore, with folly, with need, with abandon, with fire, without cause, with pain, with disastrous results, with a will that might have made you burst. I know you gave when the well was dry and fed water to parched ground, have been the shark as much as the chum. And and and. Like most of us, you are neither dirty nor clean. You’re a woman in the world.
What I want to ask is this: have you ever been loved, free for asking, with open hands? By someone who watches the morning on your face, the night in the hair dancing over your shoulders?