My soul and my lips yearn to speak love to you, my love, in the darkness of the night, in the brightness of the day. You alone have won my heart- the Great Romance. I live for your love and I live to let you know mine.
They had dragged me out into the streets by a clump of my hair wrapped up in their unmerciful, blinded hands. I had done my best to scream protest having tried to wrestle and squirm my weakened body away from their grip before they threw me down, scraping my face against the pitted asphalt, but they had beaten me until I hurt and bled all over so my scream had little more effect than having whimpered my innocence. Their eyes wouldn’t see and their ears wouldn’t hear anyway. We all knew anything I tried to do to lessen my suffering now would be as vain as a fly struggling before its wings were plucked off.
I tried to cry but it hurt too much; maybe they had gouged my whorish eyes out so I couldn’t remind them of their own indiscretions.
But I could still see.
My eyes remained though with blurry vision. I was in fact crying and doing so felt like sandpaper scraping down my cheeks.
Here in the open street more mockers awaited their turn with me. Stripped clean they cut me again and amused themselves with me for their entertainment. I had been chosen as their scapegoat and today I would die for their sins and mine.
I had once been just like these people and that’s why I was here. They had been my family and my closest companions but now I witnessed them for what they truly were. I had seen the light of truth. I had found true love and in my refusal to denounce it their jealously had turned to hate, and their hate in turn now powered their judgement being acted out upon me- these people who were dear to me. Their voices were like banshees, their faces were like demons, wicked tongues slithered about the air, each one more daring than the last in their assault upon me.
No longer satisfied with hearing my bones crack down stairs and with simple torn and pulpy flesh ceasing to bring fulfillment, they brought forth their bricks and nails and broken glass and my mind inked out the rest. Suddenly I became more scared of the instruments than I was of them. The terror that beset me fuelled their lust further and with my last feeble attempt to escape my swollen ankle finally betrayed me and I collapsed in a stale shallow pool of oil and rat dung.
In their ravenous desire one grabbed up my hair, my arm in another hand, and another grabbed my swollen ankle and together they pulled in opposite directions disturbing dislocations and re-opening all of my settled wounds and my body began to convulse. I had nothing left and my full screams grew tiring even to my own ears- if they still remained. Every place I landed blood and flesh remained behind.
One of their questions found itself to my lost mind- had it been repeated?
“Where is he?” The looming deception was so thick it was blinding but in what way I didn’t know.
I love him, tell them that! Tell them!
Even though my fate was sealed, I somehow couldn’t muster enough bravery to say it.
“Where is he?” The question was asked again more emphatically, “Tell us and we’ll spare your life.” That was the deception.
Was there even any life left to spare? The hands that had pulled me up dropped me back down.
A foot to my spine was the incentive to answer. I was so scared, so terrified. They could hurt me even more and they would, they were. I wouldn’t leave alive this I knew, but if I succumbed to that fact then all my hope would be gone and hope alone kept me breathing. He will come for me. He will save me.
No. No, he couldn’t dare.
“Where is he?!” Another kick, to my head, powered the strength of the words. I felt a tooth dislodge and I started to choke on the blood. I felt the struggle my brain was having in keeping my body alive and in that moment I knew they had broken me.
“Stop. Help me.” I managed to let escape the plea between coughs inaudible over their angry mocking which was nothing more than an indiscernible raucous.
“Help isn’t free.” A manicured feminine foot wearing sandals stomped down on my forearm already laced with defensive slashes and bruises. I could only cry. “You know the price.”
I begged him, my love, begged the void where he wasn’t before I did this terrible thing. I love you I’m so sorry for this.
“He….. he’s at….”
“Right here. ‘He’ is right here.”
He had come, that was him! That voice was unmistakable! I couldn’t see him but I yelled out for him with all I had left before I could stop myself. This very cry might be my death cry but at least it was for him. I instantly regretted my display by the punishment inflicted on my bloodied body and by my sudden awareness that I didn’t want him to see me; especially not now.
He loves me! He will save me. But I’ve betrayed him, was just about to betray him, betrayed him multiple times, all the things I said I would never do and never do again. I deserve this. I belong here.
“I’m right here.” He repeated. The crowd acted together and made way for him. All my pain and terror welled up and threatened to smother me. The declaration of his arrival shattered me inside as terribly as I was already on the outside. They would kill him. They would do worse things to him than they had to me. And I was just about to give him over to it. Knowing this I could feel my soul shrivelling up.
“No.” No, not you, not you my life. They would forget the scapegoat for the source of evil. Or so they had thought him to be. Since mirrors only reflected then this man had to be a defective mirror. He had to be the original evil they tried to hide reflected in themselves. This was their thought. The truth couldn’t have been more dramatically different. His beautiful, bright life just exposed the evil that had been there all along. He wasn’t the source of it.
“I am here, you have me. Let her go.”
“No!” My muscles were starting to stiffen. It was harder to move but the torture of my heart from his words overwhelmed my shame and self-loathing. My blood slickened and broken hand reached up to him. He would see me and change his mind, he would disappear and I would die broken, inside and out. Die for what I deserved. My hope for life had been murdered, not renewed, with my decision to betray him.
My attempt to scare him away drew his attention to me, my love, he saw me, his beautiful bright eyes full of compassion looked down at me and I quickly turned my head in humiliation and guilt. I never deserved him. Instead of being repulsed at the sight of me, he came close and sat down on the dirty street next to me. So great was his presence that the crowd didn’t move to touch him. He had come. Come to rescue me. I cried for him and he came. The thought mutilated my soul even more.
He delicately picked up a matt of bloody hair that had fallen across my bruised and maimed face putting it aside as lovingly as though it were still soft and beautiful. It was then that he locked his eyes into mine, I couldn’t bear to look away again, not from him, and he saw into me. Nothing could be hidden, he saw my betrayal and my broken promises; every single one of them. I must’ve been such a disappointment.
“Go.” I gurgled out. “Go. They will kill you.”
“Yes. But you will live. Your body will grow new. I love you. I love you more than life. I have chosen you.”
“Shhh. I know. I forgive you everything, even that which you going to say. Love is stronger than all that.” He leaned down and kissed my forehead, gently, peacefully. “More than life.” Then he stood up, his eyes glistened with tears, nodded once and was immediately seized from all directions. Two large chested grunts grabbed up my arms and dragged me away. I screamed out now not for me but for him and the pain of the move against my vain desperation was too much. My world went black. Darkness faded in fast and I remembered…