closer to heaven

During my childhood, I remembered sitting at the back of the school bus, wondering what made girls and boys different from each other. My eyes roamed aimlessly, looking for knowledge or a great experience to enjoy. The first caress of lust was given to me by an older boy, ahead of me in physical development and bluntness. Violet had been until then my first crush and her mother looked upon both of us children sweetly at first, then with paranoia at the sight of a first kiss. So many questions without answers disoriented me throughout my early years.

I grew up to be shy and sensitive, pulled at both sides of my mind by the fairy tales of inherited ideals and the brutal reality of desires without responsibility. I knew I would not follow my peers’ advice and trust without judging character, that I would dismiss caution with the first drug that would take me away from the commonplace…

One day, the positive confirmation announced the arrival of Thanatos, dressed in pain and sorrow, to let me know he would ride his nightmare, whilst crushing all defences in my veins. A deity would live inside a human; merciless and indolent, alive with rage and the end could only be stalled. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance came to me that night. He still exists, shrouded in my love.

A parallel world of hedonism, of flagellation through casual encounters without meaning was presented to me just hours after my diagnosis. I entered it with full consent. Brief desperate encounters where a kiss would be the only reward for an orgasm became a routine for years.

It was at the lowest point in my life that I saw the photograph of a rabbit on his online profile. The image triggered vague memories and I wrote something startlingly beautiful to him. The old-fashioned courtship and the postcards we mailed to each made me swoon every day. We moved in together one year after our first kiss.  I read the Diary of my lover when he was away on a business trip, during a snow storm.

“I was five when I knew whom I loved. It seemed perfectly natural to me, so why then, the violent reactions along my path to meeting this man? In second grade, my teacher singled me out, the demure, dyslexic waif, to come before the class and draw spirals on the board. Through my adult eyes I knew that my cramped spirals were a reflection of the abuse I endured, but to this snipe in platform clogs, I was an idiot. She actually said as much, as she caned my hands before the whole class. Events such as these would steel my heart for a journey to something more wonderful than I’d ever imagined, when I first feel in love with The Man from Atlantis at age five.”

He called me his “Man from Atlantis” when he held my hand and looked into my eyes  on our first date. He said “Let me hold you, because I have never been so close to God.” I had found him years later with a promise of everything we dreamed to have when we both grew up turned into a reality.

“When I saw his face the first time online, there was no bell of recognition, it was a symphony. He’s real! That’s him! I gazed in adoration and disbelief. Someone had to be playing a trick on me, but I’d told no-one about this, other than my mother, who certainly hadn’t the capacity to pull off such an elaborate prank, even if it occurred to her. So I had to feel him out. I had to be patient and let him reveal himself, but nothing could have prepared me for the glorious tapestry he unfurled before me. Fold after fold of exquisite beauty. Often I found myself asking, how is this possible?”

I chose to live from that moment on, to  not waste time in meaningless endeavours. My lover and I surrendered to the quiet frenzy of  adoration for each other. He accepted me and took me in his arms.

“I was at once utterly engaged by this rapturous creature, but did I dare reveal the effect he had on me? It wasn’t long before a rapport was established, after which the seduction just seemed perfectly natural. Cautious in my intoxication, I surrendered my will, fully aware that this man was surely as human as myself. This awareness only heightened my sense of pleasure, to think that this was a real person who could actually engage me so fully, on every level.”

Our surrender brought us happiness after many years of contemplation and lost faith apart. We survived our past to know ecstasy. Instead of a noose on my neck in the kitchen, I was humbled and relieved to find this wonderful man. Everything I had been until we met was reduced to nothing when I thought of how many kisses I longed to give him and all the world we had yet to explore together. He said: “I love you. Listen to my voice.”

Text: © Lucius Bod, 2010
Images: © Federico Forlani

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