More questions than answers.
As she reached up to put her key into the lock and let us into the courtyard, she paused, leaned against the archway stones, and then crumpled to my feet with a sob.
I stopped her falling, holding her mostly upright around her waist as she leaned in against me.
I’d seen this, many times... had felt it myself, as waves of sickness had swept over me after some particular act of extreme violence that I had been unable to avoid, but had been caught up in.
The events of just minutes earlier, began to catch up to her.
Seeing such violence as that come close to you, often has that effect on sensitive people, causing them to close down, once they got to a place of safety, waiting to recover their senses.
She had her eyes closed and was trembling, holding onto me, as though never wanting to let me go. I never wanted to let her go either and I wouldn’t, not easily. Though I knew that I would have to, and very soon.
The world I yearned for, and hers, were two very different places, and a thousand years apart.
My future would be short, after this, if things went right, while hers would be long, but we would need this interlude together, so that we would each be able to face our own, particular demons.
I used her key and opened the metal gate ahead of us, then half carried her to get her up the winding stairs at the side, to the balcony from which her apartment could be accessed, and then used the other key on that ring to let us into her home.
Our bags made everything difficult, but I could not set them down anywhere to retrieve them later. I would have had to have left the protection that I had given her, and that hung around her neck.
There was enough light streaming in from the street outside for me to help her across to a chair, before I returned to flick on the lights and to close the door.
Even in that brief moment of leaving her, I felt those voices beating in relentlessly upon me again, trying to hold me back; to drive me away from her.
Us, meeting as we had, seemed to disturb them enough that they were no longer just intent on keeping me from finding my former home, but were also newly focused upon her... to try and keep us apart.
I knew the reason now.
Soon, she would know it too.
It was a very large room, self-contained, with everything a single person would need, and a small bathroom off to one side.
There were books everywhere, stacked on the floor and cluttering every space near her desk.
I knelt in front of her and lifted under her chin. Our touching in any way immediately closed out those voices, but I could sense their frustration with us both.
I spoke, to try and help her recover. Resting my other hand upon her knee. She did not fight me away as most women would, at such familiarity.
Her hand fell over my own as I tried to explain.
“There is always an effect from seeing such violence come so close to you.”
She still was crying, but gently now.
“It is not that, so much as this other that I am learning about myself, and about you.”
She raised her head and looked at me.
I knew that look. I had seen it only once before in my entire life, but I knew that look. Oh, how I knew that look!
“It’s coming back to me. I think I know who you are, Guillaume, just as you know who I am.”
She looked at me, waiting.
“Say it. Say my name. Please say my name and let me know that I am not wrong, though I do not know what it is that I am thinking or what it is that I know.”
She needed to be released.
My plans were changing again.
“Say my name, Guillaume, please. As you used to say it.”
It was my turn to be surprised. My heart seemed to overfill my chest and I could not breathe. My head pounded.
I picked up both of her hands as I looked up into her face, and I said it.
That was all it took to open up this dream for me, and to immerse her in a world I had long ago left behind.
We held each other close after that, both of us crying. I could not believe what was happening. I doubt anyone who claimed to be rational, could.
She reached out and began to undo my shirt. I was not far behind her, undoing things, but I first secured that crucifix that she had once given me, moving it back and forth between us, until it settled where it had always belonged; between her perfect breasts again, (it was home) as we saw to the rest of our clothes, throwing them to one side without any thought. We had little patience by then. She saw to my trousers and underclothes, releasing me, as I eased her suit pants and panties down her legs and off her feet, always keeping contact with each other somewhere. She reached out to grasp around, and to hold me, as she had done that first time.
I cared about nothing at that moment. I had reached out for my dream and had found it.
Within moments we were naked together and I was carrying her to her small bed, moving our clothes ahead of me, with her still holding me, laying claim to me there, leaving most of our clothes in an untidy heap by the bed, and neither of us caring, for the moment, that I was still bleeding.
There would be time to see to that, later.
I kissed her everywhere; her lips, her neck, her breasts—she thrust them up at me as I remembered her doing, then down to her naval, kissing her, and then kissing her upon that birth mark where I had spent many a dreamy hour.
I never once, questioned it being there.
Had she noticed that her birthmark was similar in size, and markings, to that family crest in the front of that dissertation of mine?
Not yet. It did not matter.
I repeated everything, kissing, caressing, holding; needing to re-familiarize myself once more with so much that I needed to recall of her from the dim recesses of my memory.
We made love, as I so clearly remembered doing it... attempting to do it... that first time, as it if were just yesterday... the intervening years, decades, centuries; just melted away from around me and drew us both together, we two who were from different worlds.
Somehow, we had bridged that gap.
I dared not question it for fear I would lose it.
I felt those voices clamoring louder now in abject panic, unable to get through to either of us as long as we were together like this, shutting them out from us both.
I was back by that pool again in my mind, and she was beneath me, inviting me, concerned, not knowing... (she soon would know), learning, then feeling me moving slowly into her, certainly feeling me within her, and upon her by then.
It took mere seconds that first time after so long, for me to come, in my excitement.
I came, as she writhed under me, impaled upon me, and laughing beneath me.
Once, could never be enough after such a drought as I had faced.
Some long time later, exhausted, we relaxed at last. Now the talking could begin again. There would not be enough hours in the entire weekend for us to say what we both needed to say, and to ask... ‘say’, on my part; ‘ask’, on hers, ‘learning’, for both of us.
Sleep, was not on either of our menus.
I was still bleeding. I had even got my blood upon her bedding, but it was up near her pillow, for the moment. When I came out of her, if I ‘could’ come out of her, there would be other blood. She had been a virgin before this, just as my Rossignol had been. How could one deflower the same woman, twice?
Talk of paradoxes.
What a tale her bedding would tell. I could replace it.
She encouraged me to stand up, with her still sitting upon me, her legs wrapped around me, and she told me where I should go, carrying her, for her to find what she needed to help me.
I felt her breasts hard up against my chest as she pulled herself close to me, kissing me on my neck as I staggered around with her speared upon me.
Other things, personal, excitingly mind-blowing things, would intrude again as we moved around like this, but it did not matter. The world was ours; this space, this moment, were ours.
We paused wherever we found ourselves, and moved to a table, or against a wall or the door, until we regained our senses once more even if just for a few more minutes.
What a sight we presented. Truly, we were ‘a beast with two backs’, as the old description of what we were doing was known, as we moved around. I was regaining my sense of humor and of the ridiculous.
How she managed to see to my arm as we were like that I do not know.
We co-operated, somehow. She saw to my arm, as I saw to my staying in her, as well as to other things, as she directed me around her space.
I got a dish of warm water, pads, bandages, small, butterfly sutures, as we propped ourselves up on a chair, still not leaving each other.
She cleaned my wound. I passed what she asked for, leaving bloody hand-prints on everything I touched and picked up for her.
She put small sutures across that longish wound, down my forearm where I’d first met his knife, before I’d wrenched his arm from its socket and then had broken it. Those voices had been leading him along to attack us, as they could not affect me, so strongly, with that cross on my neck.
She paused often, and examined... ran her fingers... across other scars on my body that she could see. She would soon be able to ask about them all, and I would have to tell her, especially about that one down my face.
I did not look forward to that particular conversation, though we would have to have it.
“Am I hurting you, my love? Do you need me to come out of you?”
She smiled at me.
She dribbled some brandy along that wound, then finished tying the bandage as I swore within myself at the sudden pain.
“No one ever knew that name of mine, but you did. I always went by ‘Rose’ for my middle name. Only my mother and father, and me, know of it from my birth, but I never used it for some reason. And you, of course.”
She squirmed, moving her hips closer to me to keep me in her.
I made us tea, in exactly that same way, and we returned to her bed, dragging a loaded tray with us across the floor, at the end of the sash from her bath robe.
I rummaged in my bag (still not leaving her body), taking various things from it: a bulky Vanilla envelope, containing my photocopied document, a large bottle of fluid, and other things. She was not interested in the large bundle of bank notes there, but there was one thing that caught her attention.
She reached out and grabbed it for herself. I knew she would be unable to resist. It was that leather-bound document, identical in its binding to that which she’d first seen in the Monastery, and which had begun this. It had the same, large, black crucifixes embossed on the front and back covers, and it showed its age.
“It is complete!” She sounded surprised.
I confirmed it. “It is complete, my love. I made a copy of it for you in that envelope.”
She looked up at me. “Can we read this? Now? Together? Like this?
It was the most recent version of my history, (most recent only by a few years, but still ancient). This one had many other documents held with it by elastic bands; drawings, maps. Mostly drawings. It represented the work of a lifetime, from several lifetimes earlier.
She needed to ask. “How? We cannot read it together, facing each other like this, and we must not lose this, that we have.”
We neither of us wanted to separate.
I explained how it would be possible.
I would lie flat upon her bed, just as we were... joined... and she, would maneuver horizontally around me to face my feet at first, with my focused help, of course.
She would then bring her legs up, one by one, however it could be done, to sit on me, facing away from me, and without us separating. Her legs coming up first, might be easier, and then she could rotate with my eager help.
When I sat up with her, pulling her back into me with my hands holding her breasts, she would have her back to me, sitting directly upon me as intended, and with us both facing the same way so that we could read together. I would never have left her body for even a second.
We did all of that, maneuvering so cleverly and so carefully, but it was not to be.
I slipped out of her.
I swore, and so did she, letting out a disappointed cry.
It was the work of an instant to grab my shirt from by the bed and push it between us.
We had to laugh.
I carried her to the bathroom and stayed with her as she peed, getting rid of me at the same time as I looked up at her, kissing her, holding her.
We could never be shy with each other now.