By Antony Buonomo
In the murmuring haze of gentle words spoken with warm breath on hot skin, we will both discover at exactly the same time that I am a terrible person.
After the shock, after the echo has died, pillowed heads together, I will be quiet and then I will look at you and your eyes will be changed. Heavier, even heavier than the stone on my tongue. But there’s nothing to say anyway, no new angle at which to shine the light. No different way of seeing it. My words a stark stain on a white sheet. I will look at them and genuinely wonder from where inside me they came. I want to ask you, I want to discuss it with you, the way we always discussed things, our smiling curiosity bathing everything new in a bright glow.
But now I have broken the light and I am mute. You smile at me and it’s the saddest thing I have ever seen. Your fingers continue to play with my hair but every stroke empties me a little more. I am becoming hollow and the quiet horror of what is happening is crushing my chest inwards.
No sound from my mouth, but everything inside howling. For the last time you touch my lips and this thought stops my heart. I die, and when I am resurrected I am a thousand years old and I know I will die again soon.
You turn away and settle in your own separate, soft hollow. Under the sheet what used to be your hand is still touching what used to be my hand, but it’s the slightest contact now. As slight as a memory that belongs to someone else. All I can do is watch you not looking at me. Your shape gently rising and falling, the shape that was flesh and bone and sweat and laughter a moment ago is now a beautiful cloud slowly drifting away. Even if I tried to reach out my fingers would pass through you. We no longer have substance. We are not made of anything any longer.
In these seconds I feel I am learning the knowledge of a hundred centuries. My love for you cannot be your concern. It is total, but it cannot reclaim you from vapour to flesh.
Slowly and gently, so as not to shatter me, you rise and start to dress. In the sunshine I watch you. As beautiful as a full sail being pushed across a cobalt sea. I feel guilty in the watching, but your eyes are full of generosity. We both understand that this is your last gift.
I want to remember every shadow and curve of skin and hair. In a moment, when you are gone, when the wind has taken you and there is only empty space and sunshine, I know I will want to forget. But at this moment, I must remember.
But then you are gone, and there is no sunshine, and I am praying in an empty church, being watched over by a cold dead god.