“She was a conventional, if not very beautiful, young woman approaching the age of marriageability. Her brother Josian interfered much with her life, and she had evolved to a state of detachment about what she did and when. She allowed herself to be guided, her innermost thoughts unknown to herself.”
I think she sounds hatable, and nothing I have written justifies my obsession with her. I write her as though she is a narrative to be told, not a vision in my mind. That’s why she sounds so hatable. Our narrative forms are often rather hatable.
It has been two years since I have seen her. Two years, and I think each day that I should be glad that I am free, but I’m not. I lingered there long, and yet I left no mark or impression. The page is white and smooth as though I never existed there. And all of my feelings, vibrating within me every moment, never penetrated that inner sanctum. We dream of ghosts. We fear them, because sometimes we are them. I was certainly a ghost when I was Josette’s tutor. A whisper in her head, urging the push of her pen.
She repeated my English phrases without understanding. She was only a beautiful portrait. Is it inexplicable that a man should fall in love with a portrait, knowing nothing but the mystery of its subject? Not healthy. I can make no sense of psychology. I was interested for a while, I tried, but to heal means to disavow my pleasure in my own discomfort. I won’t do it. I would rather love Josette, and suffer.
I dreamed of Bryony last night. We were in the woods, walking. The sunlight came down through the trees, so that it seemed like mid-day. The yellow light spattered over the fallen leaves and warmed our skin. There was a ravine. It was a fairly large one for one you would find in the woods, carved by a creek or river now run dry.
Bryony helped me across the ravine. He held my hand. Sometimes, through the woods, he carried me. He carried me, I thought, even when he didn’t need to. I awakened with this awe-filled feeling of warmth. I did not know how to respond to such a feeling, to be freely given this assistance.
In my dream, the terrain was intimate. The woods green and joyful. But in my heart, where the dream reached, it is like a desert. The life this feeling breathes into me dispels like a vapor in the arid atmosphere. I can’t hold it. All I know is the pain and shaking emptiness I feel, not knowing how to accept something that isn’t offered.
What am I saying? I am not afraid to love. I don’t understand why he was represented in my dream with such love.
My father has placed a trellis outside of my window.
I looked out, and instead of my normal view of the lawn, there was this loose wire grid. I felt a little bewildered. I did not know if I wanted my normal view obstructed. But then, I began to think about what I might plant on it, and I grew excited. I imagined how lush it would become.
Trellises were placed on other parts as well. As I was looking out of the window, I noticed that the heavy green vines on the fence had partially torn away. They were sopping from the heavy rains, and they had probably been torn during the storm last night. They were sagging and heavy with moisture.
Additionally, I saw a friend I had not seen for a long time. We are much distanced now that we are grown, but the feeling between us was cordial.
I must have been thinking while sleeping. That alone makes me feel that all my peace has fled. I woke up with a clear thought in my mind. I have never heard him say my name. Not once. I see him every day, but I have not heard it. Does he think this word, my name, when he sees me? Or is there no word there, in his mind? It gave me a feeling of being lost.