As winter progressed, the deep valleys were snowed in, so our island trips came to an end. We brought in our last load of firelighters-huge pinecones as large as children’s heads from Wild Boar Forest, and closed up the shutters of the house.
In the haven sitting room, I begged for rugs and curtains to cushion us from the increasingly shocking cold, but you refused. You demanded we actually experience our first winter. So, the inert embers of the fire were continually exploded with pine bombs to build the slow crescendo of heat, the air bitter with resin.
Without doubt, you were more medieval than I was. Bare-armed, always preferring the large glass garden doors open, especially when the winds were high. You would smoke and sip local wine, an open book balanced on your lap, your slender legs crossed to immerse you in the corner of your blue hydrangea sofa. But you were only temporarily at peace, anesthetized.
We had adopted the medieval way of life, sitting around the log stove, preserving garden crops. Sometimes, at our peril, we shared stories of our lives never told in the city of ‘Frowns and Tears’ ruled over by the tyrant ‘Time.’
The high mountains surrounding the village had many secrets. They were dotted with Cathar castles of ‘the Good’ camouflaged on craggy precipices. They were mystical paragons who had hidden there during the Spanish Inquisition, and who posed a massive threat to the Roman Catholic Church exactly because of their goodness and their spiritual perfection. This was also the enchanted land of the Troubadours and Trobiaritz– renowned minstrels and poets who sang of pure courtly love and spirituality.
Evenings had always been our special time back in the city, each one a life in its own right. It was usually initiated with flames and candles, and the opening of corks. Each make or break, the visible or the invisible, irresistible attraction or polarization. Now, in the mountains, evenings ended in small deaths in the full darkness and silence. We two isolated souls, who might sting or flee at any moment, were entirely alone here.
We had thought that your nightmares of torture by fire, your terrifying sleep-screaming, would stop once we left the stress and degradation of the city, but they continued. Already twice you had refused to come to bed. The moon shone in on the long many-windowed room so you could find your wine glass in the dark. As I left you to go to bed, your cigarette fire glowed in the dark when you sucked on it.
I stood outside the door for a while, debating if I should leave you alone or not. I crept back in, coaxing you, your reaction unpredictable. I came close to your fire, felt the dark hydrangeas, sitting close to you. I reached across to touch your thigh, my fingers and lips gravitating towards your places of release, but your clipped voice paralyzed me.
“Put the light on if you want that!”
You insisted that I did not actually love you if I closed my eyes as I became aroused.
“It could be anyone,” you always spat out, mildly indignant. The visible was all that counted to you.
Upstairs I dozed, and soon the strains of your beloved Maria Callas recordings filled the shell of the house. I accepted that you were going somewhere I could not go, sinking in your suffering like quicksand, so I slept until you made your way back to me. Or not.
I had always been aware of your multiple fears, but they were more prominent in a place where the population was dominated by rock and bear, larch and scorpion.
Here humans were simply a passing fad.
This is the second moment of the opening of my Cathar novel ‘Veil.’
Author page: http://lulu.com/spotlight/Veil_linden415 +
I will be serializing the first chapter moment by moment in the coming days. Please join me in the Literature sphere.