Without a moment of hesitation you showed me your naked body, in the grass at the river’s edge. A magical moment, an almost surreal scene that reminded me of the painting Hermaphrodites and Salmacis, by the mediaeval renaissance painter Jan Gossart. You took my arm. I started.
‘Here?’ I asked.
‘Yes, here,’ you said, with a tempting smile on your face.
‘How do you feel?’ I asked, slightly naughty but at the same time very honest and interested. The young spring leaves of the chestnut tree, in full bloom, filtered the light of the evening sun, and the light draped itself across your naked body like a stimulating show. A moment of perfection designed exclusively for you. Mesmerising. Golden shimmering of endless colours that dressed your body in a gracious nightgown. This is the image that blinded me tout de suite. I drifted away. In my mind, the first hints of a poem were born. Something along the lines of,
My dear, surrender
Give me your body
And take mine
My dear, do we have time?
Do you remember you asked me how I was doing?
That serene moment at the river’s edge.
In the golden light of evening where you asked me.
‘Hey, are you still here?’
‘Erm, yes,’ I said. ‘Yeah, I think so. Erm, sorry, I was just lost in thoughts.’
‘I see,’ she said, a little disappointed, ‘But it doesn’t matter, babe. Are you all right?’ she asked, truly interested. Her eyes were looking for mine.
They found them. We looked at each other in a moment of timelessness.
‘To be honest, it’s a bit overwhelming.’
‘What was it you asked me?’
‘How you’re doing! That’s what I asked.’
I gave a stupid answer. I wasn’t prepared for the question, and even less so for the way she asked it, filled with warmth, respect, attention and honest interest.
‘Dear!’ she said, slightly raising her voice this time. ‘Can you hear me? Where are you?’
Silence filled me, as if I disappeared in an unpleasant nothing. The only thing I actually heard were the cars that drove along the distant cliff road towards the next village, to see if it was even better there than in the previous village. I saw a kayak floating on the river, about twenty metres away from us. It was right before some quite strong rapids, so the people in it fortunately didn’t pay any attention to us.
You turned your face away and looked for the place where my attention had settled. You couldn’t find it. That place didn’t actually exist. The only thing I remember was static. Static within me, around me, reaching deep into the past.
You grabbed my hand and took a sip of wine. Again you asked me, ‘Dear, where are you? What do you long for?’
That’s when it happened. Bullseye! I was hit in my heart and felt sadness. No, it wasn’t sadness, it was fear. The fear to be seen, to be honest and truthful. My breath caught in my throat and returned to eye contact. Everything around me seemed to disappear and I saw you, crying before me.
I couldn’t do it, my tears were just stuck behind my eyes. The tears that for years could only flow with ink. Black ink that chartered their course innumerable times across virgin paper.
I grew hot and sweat poured down my face.
‘Jesus, dear, I just want peace, that’s all!’
My body relaxed, the static transformed into an endlessly pleasant serene peace. Only now did I truly see my love, only now could I answer her question. ‘Dear, right now I want this moment of us being together to exist forever.’