Holding hands in the twilight of the Fox Movie Palace in my hometown. I’m in sixth grade and prepubescent. I am holding hands with Mike Dahl and suddenly we’re kissing. It feels like the heavy velvet curtains on the proscenium have turned to gauze and are falling, slow-mo in billowing liquid folds forever down and down, sinking, the endless swoon that becomes nothing more or less than what it is: the kissing of virgins.
The attic in The Hunger. Catherine Deneuve weeping atop the coffin holding David Bowie’s still animated body—doves cooing, a breeze lifting the gauzy drapes.
Countess Olenski and Archer sharing a carriage ride. Archer kissing her wrist with the delicacy and care and bated breath normally reserved for parts that change color with kissing. Countess Olenski asking, “Shall I come to you, Archer?”
The glorious breathless waiting, vulnerable and abject, for the telephone call, the text message. And it being there, exactly when one could expect it reasonably to be.
The last is the only one that stands up to the demands of adult life. It is the only one that can hold a candle to marriage.
I am married. Not just a little. And not even because I want to be anymore. I no longer know where one of us begins and the other ends. I no longer know how I would begin to excise my beloved from my heart, even when I want to, even when I spend hours imaging myself the executioner of a Viet Cong prisoner, arm outstretched and ready to fire.
And the last example is intoxicating only because it holds the promise of a release from being bound, against one’s will, against all rationality to another. You can’t shoot them, and toying with another only reinforces the bond.
Deep and inviolate.
Every argument I can make against loving my husband, every move I make to extricate myself, every scenario I play out, only serves to make more clear the horrible and beautiful bondage of the heart that has been given over completely to loving someone.
Who has forgiven me more?
Who has loved me more?
Who has bourn more?
Who has been as steadfast, as trustworthy, and as ready to sacrifice all for me?
Who has been all that to me and laid beside me, winded and sweaty, stroking my hair and kissing cathartic tears off my cheeks?
This may be all I will ever know of heaven.
It may be enough.