Category Archives: THE BOOK OF LIBERTY

Scene From A Final Weekend

On the elevated balcony – after the howling release of coupling – we took in the panorama as pleasant hormones raced around our bodies and the intimacy of lovers lowered our resistance. We had that conversation – the one we had to have.

“Do you love me?” I asked, emboldened – somehow unafraid.

You closed your eyes, titled your head back and exhaled slowly. “Anything but that goddam word,” you intoned – incredibly soft and sad – like a gentle shower. “That word has been ruined for me.”

“But what about the feelings?”

“They got scrambled,” you explained. “The people who said they loved me were cruel. The said I love you as a kind of apology, like something to cover up their disappointmernt. I only let them down because they loved me.”

It was a story we both knew – the common tale of love being a veil for ownership, for control. Yours was about a clever, introverted young boy who could have studied law or medicine but fell in love with dance and then the circus. Mine was about a girl who had the temerity to become a woman. And both of us hid ourselves away – you in sublime safety of the sky, me in the denialist world of fashionable spirituality.

“I got into my body because it seemed like the best way to get out of my feelings,” you said. “Or maybe that’s just some smart thing I like to say and really I’ve got no idea.”

It made sense to me though. It explained our immediate attraction. You embraced what I eschewed. Your flight to the flesh was my escape from it.

No wonder we fucked so intensely. Not fast and hard but slow and vulnerable. With you I came from somewhere deep in the core – in waves that eradicated the ego – that melted me into you. Into everything. And when I looked into your eyes and saw you shuddering with quiet ecstasy, I could sense that you had joined me in that great and unnameable river that carries us all back to zero.

For a few moments at least it did not matter that you were leaving.

But the ego returned – and with it wanting and fear and desperation. “Do you think I only loved you because I knew you were going away?”

You smiled. Leant forward and took both my hands. Held them intently for a few beats. Ran your fingers over the veins on the backs of them. “Maybe,” you answered. “Maybe that’s why I let you.”

On the edge of sobbing I asked you why and your answer still rings unusually clear in my recollection. “I think we were both just checking in to see if what it was that was so scary was really that frightening after all. And it was – but not because it was awful – because it was far too beautiful – and beauty – beauty is the killer you can never deny.”

It’s true. I loved you because it was the end of denial. And when denial ends everything is swept away.

That’s why I flew a thousand miles to spend that wonderful/awful weekend with you – knowing you would leave me behind. Because I wanted to be overwhelmed. Humbled. Forced at last out of lies and into the clean and minimal truth.

I wonder if you remember it that way.

Like I wonder so many things about you.

A Window Seat

There is a window of joy in my life – on a wall in a city of despair. I look through it sometimes. I always see you there. King of my sorrows. Star of my light.

I remember the moment when I knew. When I first saw the light shining through it. I opened it – as if by instinct – and it let in a storm. But there was something beautiful about the deluge; the way it tore through the rooms and carried off the clutter. Leaving only simple things.

Meanwhile, I cancelled all my clients and sank into the daughterless quiet of a newly hollow house – with only my absurd obsession to help me count the hours. In my noisy skull, the clatter and bang of a torrid fixation – where even knowing the hullaballoo is self does not stem the onrush. When the ocean stirs all the fixtures are likely to be washed away.

The phone was only silent because you said so.

And the days were like an ache – and the nights were sable with pining – and somewhere in between fractured sleep and awful dreams everything seemed to stop. The details became redundant, dropped away. We were down to the core. The loving itself. The simple act of shining. Painting it all in splendour.

Indy was less charitable. Understandably so.

You made your choice.

How could I deny it? My hunger, my darkness, my sex – they all chose the same thing – and it wasn’t her. On her thirteenth birthday Indy discovered that her mother was a liar. That she had spoken in one tongue only to sing in another. That she was made of sweat and shit and meat and need. Of craving – and of doubt. That she was not above it.

It was a weirdly wonderful experience. Like a cleansing of sorts. A kind of release. Or an offering to the truth. A discarding of the many conceits they call wisdom. Nothing I thought I knew was going to help me. No play of words would win out. The fantasy of my righteous enlightenment was simply the final hurdle. Once my longing had destroyed it I was free.

You’re fucking crazy Mum, was all Indy could snarl.

Again I couldn’t argue. Even the resort of denial was withdrawn. I was like a child – a newly naked sapling scrubbed clean by a Category Five. Alive but shivering.

She was like the voice of the world. Mouthing the garbage I taught her.

I thought about my own mother. Her silences. Her grievances. The way she seemed to cut me adrift. It wasn’t that she ever stopped loving me – it was just that her love made it too hard to watch. As if she knew what was coming and couldn’t bear to live it all again. Desire makes you choose. It demands surrender or denial. Both promise to liberate the soul. Mum made her choice. I made another. One day we may find out if either of us was right. But probably not.

Perhaps one day Indy will work it out for us. I hope so. Until then she will continue to blame me for the crack that has opened up in our lives – and she will keep saying things like: When are you gonna grow up, Mum? It’s embarrassing.

That’s when it started. The counting. The tagging and logging. As if to stop me forgetting. To lay down the cold milestones of memory.

What is it they say? And from these bones all things shall grow. I spoke aloud about getting distance from the drama but I sought the maelstrom with every thought. In a way, I lived on it.

That which was my undoing, so was it my salvation.

And then the phone blared in the night – and everything I said and thought was upended. There was something I wanted from you that I wanted more than sanity and functioning. Something I saw through that window. A way to feel. A way not to be afraid.

I woke up on a peak hour train. $800 in my hand. Lumbering black eyed to book a flight I knew I shouldn’t. Another sad face in the crowd. Another lotto dreamer. Except you were my prize – and just as improbable.
But there I was – pillaging the nest egg. Trading the future for a desperately dirty weekend.

I looked around the carriage and I wondered how many of my fellow travellers were on journies of their own – were more than just tired rats on their way to another experiment. I saw eyes all around me but little else was visible. The eyes maybe the key to the soul – but they are also its secret keepers. The whole train was hiding behind them.

I felt small – less important – but unburdened because of it – and I realised that the detail of my prattle was of no more significance than anyone else’s. I was not above this river of flesh. I was in the rapids with them.

But then I was disgorged – spilling into the impatient broil of a 9am platform and I was a disoriented ant. On its way to buy a ride in the sky. Hoping for a window seat.

Or Was It Starvation?

I got home. I showered. I masturbated. Screaming out: fuck me, fuck me, fuck me.

I called the number you gave me. The receptionist put me through but the bells just rang hollow and I imagined an empty room – and the town you were out painting.

I wrote you a letter. Can you remember what it said?

My beautiful boy. I love you in a way that has completely undone me. I am no longer the older woman in seat 313 or the pre-dawn lover of mission brown motels. I have been broken down and someone new is being constructed in my place. I don’t know who she is just yet – but she wants to be with you.

I stood beside the post box under the red midnight glow of the street lamp and listened to the shuffling cloud of moths as they swirled in the light. The street was quiet, save for them and my breathing.

The chute opened with a loud, metallic yawn. The letter dropped.

And then I caught sight of myself. Forty three and sending my very first love letter. However sad and unbecoming my party performance had been it struck me that there was something even more telling about this. How had I lived so long and never known what it meant to be alive?

To live without the risk of death is to be dead already – and I realised that that was what I had been doing since the red faced and rude stranger on the migrant ship had seen me bleeding and pointed out that I was an animal. Cut from flesh, not carved from ideas. Mortal, not eternal.

I never knew gratitude – or humility – or even freedom – until hunger cut me down to size.

Or was it starvation?

The Vastness

It was the morning of your leaving. That’s when I knew I was sinking. Lost at sea.

You walked into the chilly gloom – taking my breath with you. I don’t think I ever felt so naked. I closed the door and just stood there – shaking. It was the dam breaking. It was everything. Like a higher power – and me becoming lost in it.

I was washed away. Dissolved. Erased but immediately reborn. But not the same.

And it was you – you who taught me not to fight the tides.

You who said surrender – so I did.

We had our forty four hours. Crammed our fevered love between commitments. Me to mine. You to yours. Dusty old tale.

And then, in fitful blackness, the thumb grimed radio crashed to life – static and flashing numbers. The dream was over. The news was out. You winced in the ugly light as you scurried into your clothes. I was barely out of bed in time to see you off.

Next week? I smiled – trying to sound off-hand.

Travelling, you said – eyes downcast. Sad.

Which was how I felt.

We stood in barely awake silence. “I’ll call,” you promised – but even that was tired.

“I love you, Bret,” I said to your back as you started down the carpeted corridor. You turned and smiled. You held your hand over your heart. Tapped it twice. Beats in time. It said what you never could.

Never did.

They say that words are close to worthless – to a point I agree – yet what that little sentence would have meant to me.

I only ever wanted a single piece of certainty. All manner of chaos could have whirled around that.

Of all the gifts you gave, none were truly mine.

I spent the day trailing luggage. Trying not to spend money. I walked for hours – burning off the energy of abjection, glad for the anonymity of the city. I got to the station in time for the rush. It was like being an ant. The swirl and the smell of it.

Then I saw it. The Runaway Circus flyer pasted to a pole. It made me brake. Feet killing me. Eyes popping. The image was weathered, edges lifting. Someone had run a key across it.

But there it was – your perfect face. Unalive eyes still piercing. Mouth still kissable.

A line from Alana’s review shouted at me. “Get a babysitter. The kids won’t like this one.”

I was choking. So much crushed into a faded rectangle. All of you and I rolled flat. Posterised. The ephemerality of it all was undeniable. We are bright and colourful for a while, until time and fresh attractions condemn us to the layers.

I wanted to tell someone, “I was there that night. I know that guy.” As if that might save us from the inevitable diffusion of memory.

But who would care – let alone believe? I’d be the delusional bag lady of pedestrian tittle tattle. That tired, menopausal harpy. Coming off the high. Going down.

Disoriented, I searched for an out. The grubby electric light of a nearby hole in the offered the quickest escape. I stumbled towards it – perpendicular to the crowd – dodging their urgency – until I slumped into warm cracked vinyl seating and caught sight of myself in the finger-marked glass. I was an exhausted hologram hovering amongst the foot traffic. Diaphanous. All gone but for traces of hunger.

Was that all I was? A thing that wants? A cipher of desire?

Was I so small? And what possible force could so easily render me thus? How had everything been so abruptly and irrevocably changed?

But I already knew the answer to that. It was the vastness. And there is no defence against the vastness.

I had found this out at sea – as a girl on the brink of bleeding. Four weeks between worlds – between innocence and something else.

Four weeks. As long as I’d known you.

I looked away – frightened. The truth too brutal. I exhaled an audible sigh.

The approaching waiter caught my eye. He was my age. Looked like he ran the joint. Smelled of coffee and disappointment. To him, I must have been an obvious case. “You right, love?” he asked, his eyes searching me a little. He looked down at my bags. “Escaping?”

Maybe I knew I could trust him. Either way I was sobbing inside twenty seconds.

Frank had obviously met his share of teary travellers before. The train out of town is a long line of tales. He barely flinched – and I had water, coffee and a sneaky tipple on the table in no time. He lit up a cigarette which I smoked like oxygen.

Then I blurted out a breathless version of you and me. He hmmed and nodded, poured me another drink – which I swallowed whole.

Heartbreak is heartbreak – no matter how you describe it. The specifics simply prove the universality. We like to think we all have a story. In a way we do – but it’s the same one.

Frank ended up waiting on the platform with me. He already knew what loneliness was. I would find out later.

The train was another kind of voyage – a different kind of ocean. The vastness was inside me. And there was only light – and what it shone upon.

In a state near delirium I saw myself fidgeting in the tight, uncomfortable seat like cattle in a cart, rocketing across the night.

Amongst the snores and groans of strangers and the rhythmic rattle of the rail, I snatched half formed dreams of relief between fully conscious nightmares.

The miles ticked by – me going one way, you the other. Soon we would be separate shorelines. Or perhaps we really just stood still and the universe expanded between us.

Some Kind Of Reunion

I caught the overnight train to be by your side. A week had gone by.

Monday morning in another city. Different – but the same. The geometry of the grid. Phallic towers, crawling cars and the ever-present smell of exhaust(ion). The flinty grey light of a dry autumn – its colour drained by summer’s dehydrating glare. A place awaiting rain.

And people like ants – scurrying along – electrons in a wire – the current in a quick tempo machine. Click, click, click. I wondered how you stayed afloat in all those writhing rapids. What kept you from drowning?

So I waited on a busy corner. Somewhere obvious. Both of us were visitors, after all. Meanwhile, the office crowd went about their business and I bit my fignernails as the minutes went with them. You were late enough for me feel undermined. It was stupid and I knew it – but there it was, consuming my attention. I was on probation – applying for the job as your girlfriend. Convenience was no longer in my favour. The telephone is nowhere near as hot as the skin.

Relationships are a habit as much as anything else; which made me think: would you bother with it now that it wasn’t so immediate? This rendezvous – it was so arranged. Not like before – when it felt more accidental.

Now there things in the way. Like the world. Like life.

When you push love up a hill does it simply become work? Is it more like determination than desire?

If I was thinking this – what were you thinking?

And all the while people rushed by and none of them were you.

Then – on the brink of snapping – you in jeans and a crisp new tee. Clean shaven. Prettied up. You were like a beacon to me – so much did you stand out against the background. The sheer crush of my relief pushed sudden tears up and out. I was in flood. Seeing you was so intense.

And you just let me into your arms – and I fell against your shoulder, a crumpled lover swooning in your muscle and smell.. You wrapped yourself around me and we stood like a sculpture in the mad grey river. It was only for a few seconds – but it felt like you and me.

You smiled, kissed my riverine cheek.

Then, in your lovely North Atlantic drawl, you said, “You should see the room they gave me this time.”

It was in the city – but far from the lofty penthouse of popular imagination.

You led me through the narrow, teeming laneways to a grim inter-war façade. Behind the fume stained Deco frontage, a series of drab modernist boxes. Humanity sacrificed to a business model. Steel grey cubicles with smeared handkerchief windows and stark fluorescent tubes.

And metal bunks. Two to a room. A scratched bar fridge. The cumbersome box of a mission brown TV. No fucking in here.

“The bathroom’s even better,” you joked, grinning at me sideways – but I wasn’t laughing.

“The guys know to sleep elsewhere for a night or two,” you added, sensing my freeze. If I was meant to be reassured I was devastated. Now I was the pussy that Bret was banging. Obviously these arrangments were standard. One day I would become that Aussie chick Bret used to fuck.

“I know it’s kinda tacky but … I dunno, I thought maybe we could make it cool somehow.”

I looked at you – and you were genuine. There was something playful about it – innocent and fragile as well as careless. And yet it was undeniably acrobatic. Like a superbly honed reflex, sharp enough to keep you out of trouble. Another trick in your kit. As long as you stayed up you weren’t crashing to the floor. Always a hoop in easy reach.

I looked around the utilitarian room and wondered if our time together would be reduced to function. Was this a conjugal visit?

Although I hankered for the thrill of you inside me, I desperately I wanted more than that. Much more. But I recognised in your eyes – in their almost invisible, childlike pleading – that my need was greater than yours. You knew it and it scared you. I knew it and I was terrified. If I had fanned a fire it was surely burning me now.

In the compacted quadrilateral confines of yet another grubby room the pressure of everything notched upwards. Flames sucking up the oxygen. Suddenly it was harder to breath.

“Let’s get out of here,” I panted – and we left in a blur. Back down to streets edged with cold. To the comfort of noise. To another, less perfunctory, more expensive box – where the sound of realisation was drowned out by more tangible cries.

But not for long.

Later – dressed again – we sat in a buzzing lunchtime café where the smell of toasted sandwiches and black coffee mingled with clouds of cigarette smoke and the flock like squawk of unnamed voices.

You held my hand as if in apology.

“This is my life,” you said. “I travel, I do a show, I live out of a bag. It suits me in one way but … “

“But?”

“Meeting you makes it seem lonely.”

You let go of my hand. Your gaze drifted up – away. You bit your top lip. “Solitude I like – loneliness I’m not so sure.”

“Are you saying I should go home?”

You shook your head. It was a barely perceptible movement, so quiet against the dizzying drone of a city canteen. I had to strain to notice it. Then, in a voice that seemed to suggest you were oblivious to the surrounding clash and bang, you whispered. “That would only make me jealous.”

Though I could not be sure what you meant, it was clear that you were deep inside a private world of import and inter-connection. From the outside it looked beautiful and melancholy – rich and almost literary. As though you were in possession of a spellbinding secret – something to which you could only allude.

“It’s weird,” you said, “but you’re probably jealous of what you imagine I get up to and I’m jealous of what I assume you don’t do.”

I had to smile. It didn’t quite fit. “You jealous? Really?”

“I like the idea of stopping. One day I will.”

There was something about seeing you that way – vulnerable – that was far more reassuring than your delirious sexual consumption of me. You didn’t often reveal it so directly but there was a yearning in you to be truly heard. Honestly and unambiguously seen. Your graceful aloofness and calm self-assurance was as much armour as it was good balance. Much like my so called ‘alternative view’ of the world. Not so much a lie as an obfuscation. An opiate. The morphine of belief.

A beat later you added, “I think it’s simplicity I really want – not excitement.”

“Simplicity can be pretty mundane,” I countered – feeling like I should at least give you fair warning.

“So can excitement,” you answered. “And anyway, why do we always want the exceptional?”

“But what about beauty? Isn’t that exceptional?”

Again you shook your head – this time more obvious. You swept your ivory white hand around the noisy space as if to say: look, here it is – everywhere.

It was a beautiful gesture but my instinctive response was less than elegant. I didn’t ask it out loud but I wanted to know if I was exceptional. The part of me that judges me was horrified. Perhaps you had just shown me something revelatory and all I could think was: what about me?

I sat right back in my yelping, over-exerted chair – not to get a better view of you but to regard myself from a greater distance. I was becoming the kind of clutching woman I had always scorned. I was that stupid girl who measured herself through the approbation of a boy.

Was this what I had ridden all night for? Not slept for?
Lied to my daughter for?

“If everything is beautiful,” I wanted to know, my question absolutely loaded, “what value does it have?”

“Does value only come from rarity?”

“If everyone here could do the hoop like you, how many of them of them would pay to come and see you?”

“Not a single one of them,” you replied – a tiny shrug, a whisper of a smile, the slight raising of a brow. “But I’m so glad you did.”

“And is that exceptional?”

I saw your breath catch at the top of the arc. Your gaze soften, focus dissovle. Perhaps you were looking back through time – listening out for tiny murmurs beneath the cacophonous razzle of the present. Once more your eyes seemed like that of a child – a boy searching through his thoughts for the right answer. The muscular, athletic man who had been fucking me not an hour beforehand was now a soft edged innocent. Every organ in my body lurched – hanging on for your answer.

Then your vision fixed on me and without ado you just said, “Yes.”

And so I chiselled out my reassurance – but at the cost of a perfect stone. Now we were marked. Scratched. Punctured even. And romance is never one for medicine.

In the space of a few hours we had gone from the breathless, crazy darlings of summer to the tethered orbiting bodies of autumn. Hindsight would say that we should have stopped it there – but that’s only because hindsight is also a coward. I would have lost much more than you that day.

Though I’m almost certain what kept me in – I’m still not so sure about you. When we got back to the convenient hotel we had just booked into I expected you to pack up your few things and go back to the steely, shared room of your circus life.

Why didn’t you?

Some days I allow myself the thought that perhaps you loved me. Only you didn’t know how to say it or show it consistently – let alone allow it.

“I’m gonna walk out of here now,” you announced, “but in five minutes I’m gonna come back and we can just start from there. That cool?”

Take the joy upfront, a voice inside me screamed, hoping to bulldoze prevarication.

Riding a swell of reprieve, I opened the door. Your eyes were a question mark – a kind of statement. “Good,” I said. “Because I really need to pee.”

In A Lonely Place

Loneliness keeps us honest. Keeps me honest. Because I am guilty of language.

I am fluent in the silken tongues of self-actualised self-talk and pseudo spiritual gibberish. My whole world is made up of these words. I am a phrasebook. Awareness is a cliché in waiting.

Yet for all this clever babble – still bloody. Vertiginous. My head hovers over a vast, swirling, unspeaking ocean. This is the sea of how I feel.

In the end, I wasn’t smart enough for loneliness – just afraid. Yet all the while the awful terror could successfully obscure itself in the denialist contraction of language, I could go on functioning. Pretending.

But since you I have learnt something truly worthwhile. That even the most magnificent psychology won’t help. There is no trick escape. The wound won’t heal because it’s not a wound.

How intelligent I have tried to make myself – yet here I am – a pack animal – yearning in the very bones to belong. I am made of such longing. There is nothing of me that is not a kind of desire. My life is the grand sum of their pursuit.

All that stuff I wrote before. Maybe I was trying too hard. The truth is that the space between us is a chasm. I cannot get my head or my heart around it. I can’t incorporate it. The idea that you might live without me – or I without you – it’s a kind of death.

Whenever I feel this way a holy opposition mounts in my thoughts. The usual exhortations and admonishments. Gentle reminders. Brutal put downs. But the heart knows how it feels – and it won’t be argued out of it. Indeed, it is the only thing I can reliably trust. Everything else could be a lie – just rhetoric – but not this. I couldn’t make this up.

A Sea Beyond Regret

MOVING back to the sea was always going to pit me against the ghosts and their children. Although this once small, unpaved outer suburb has in-filled and the predominantly immigrant accents have taken on a more antipodean twang, the past now walks around in track pants and board shorts.

Case in point – this morning – out early to beat the anticipated heat – I emerged from the crisp turquoise water to find it topless on the sand. The careless slouch of a boy – skin brown, eyes darting over me. “Ain’t you Gracie Saunders?” he said.

“I was,” I told him. “They call me Liberty now.”

“You take the yoga classes, right?”

“First one’s at eleven.”

“Thought so. My mum goes. She remembers you.”

I had to look away – avoid the inherent judgement. I noticed the boy’s canoe – bright fibreglass colours against wet grey sand. It explained his well-developed biceps.

“I’m Josh,” he smiled – all teeth and freshness. His hand – big and loose – reached out. I shook it with a nod.

“Mum reckons you’ve changed.”

I was immediately struck by the strangeness of it. “Everyone changes, don’t they? If they’re alive.”

He laughed – his eyes big with childlike kindness and adult need. “She said you used to be real nice.”

Hearing it so bluntly filled with me a sense of lightness – of achievement. The dry old cladding was flaking off – new skin showing through. I ran my hands through wet hair – gave young Josh a good look. “Well, I’m horrible now.”

Another big, reflexive smile. A nervous shuffle – toes digging into sand. “Nah – I just reckon they’re jealous.”

It was my turn to laugh – a little flushed. Who was this pretty boy with the downy frame and probing eyes?

“Why thank you, Josh but – why? Why are you telling me this?”

Shrugging bare, already freckled shoulders he squinted. “I dunno – just thought I’d say.”

“Well I know what it’s to feel like jealous,” I confessed. “And it’s not fun.”

I walked past him – feeling the pull of his eyes. My footsteps squeaked a litte too loudly in the sand as I made my way towards the chipped and bleached stairs up to the road – shaking my head.

“Hey,” his voice called out – suddenly more purposeful.

Stopping and spinning I watched him jog up – athletic and awkward at once. My curiosity was firing. He stopped a metre or so away – hand up to shield his eyes from a low slung sun.

“They’re saying shit about you. They reckon you like young blokes.”

 

Sitting here – thinking about the class I am about to teach – I rehearse nasty come-backs I know I won’t use. Maybe Josh was feeling lucky – chancing his arm. Perhaps it was Indy that let it slip. No matter. There’s some truth in it anyway. You gave me a taste for it – so hot and unspoiled. Such a wonderful fuck. I understand that I am meant to feel put down. Dirty. Compromised. My return to this place – a defeat – a kind of backdown. And yes – I have been humbled – but not in the way they imagine.

Nor am I shamed or regretful.

Rather I am thankful – to have met you – for my love to have been so costly. Now that I am here on the ground – under the old tin roof of my mother – sweltering in the appraisal of my contemporaries – I am learning to be worthy of my both my names. Grace and Liberty. They seem like beautiful twins to me. I can only aspire to be like them.

 

“And how does that make you feel, Josh? Lucky?”

Impulsively – perhaps recklessly – I reached out and touched his firm, sandy chest. Felt his heart – it’s deep and aching beat. Poor boy – he was terrified. Hormones and small town spite had got the better of him.

I withdrew my hand – wiped it provacatively on my still wet bathers.

“I’m sorry,” he bumbled – a naughty kid caught out.

“Don’t be,” I told him firmly. ”Cos I’m not.”

Leaving him there on the sand with his toy coloured canoe and bewildered eyes I had a rare sense of victory. Not swagger. Not revenge. Just quiet knowing. I realised that for the first time in my life I genuinely did not care. What had once been a pose – a speech – was now a kind of breathing.

When I stand in front of those women in a couple of hours I will thank you. I will plead gladly guilty to their sins. Own their weakness with pleasure. And it will all be reduced to vanity – because I will have known the light.

The beautiful light you showed me.