It hit me like a hammer, took me down hard. Literally--for one overlong moment I was on the grass, all of me thrown back, my sandaled feet kicking in the air feebly as I fought my own responses. I was struggling to breathe. It hurt, for a moment, brain and body linked, gasping, far from shore, far from whatever would have sustained me in that single, forever instant.
Then it was over. I was released from it. Breathing again, I stood, shaking only a little, accepting a hug from the fellow who'd watched, impassive but concerned. It was done. I was through it and out the other side. It was not the destruction I'd feared.
It was rebirth.
The demon was no longer on the profile.
The concerned fellow talked to me for a moment, made sure I was all right. Then he invited me to tour Prim & Proper's grand hall, to show me an exhibition of boudoir photography. I admit, I was surprised by who I recognized, here and there, in the shots. Still, it was an impressive undertaking. The naughty side of Victoriana, rarely seen openly in any of Caledon, yet proudly, unashamedly on display in that building, beautifully defiant.
I found myself lusting after many of the corsets and stockings, rather than the women, but it must be said, I wasn't entirely myself. I already knew where they got their opulent draperies, half-concealing most of the photographs--after all, I shop at Relic, too. But I was mostly impressed by the audacity, and the sense of play in many of the shots. I'm glad I went.
The far-too-late evening turned to morning, and, unintentionally, we parted--I had to seek sleep. I dreamt of his smile and his backlash sense of humor. I dreamt also of the demon, standing far away, full of his own regrets and mine.
It will ever be my struggle, for a time, not to try and bring him closer. But I truly believe this is the best option, my best option, his, and that it will bring us both peace.
Paradoxically, I'm growing closer to his daughter now. Not in the sense of intimate relationship--could never happen, she's too involved with a dear friend, and she is his daughter--but in the sense of friendship. It feels like it's time.
Current build: No build, fell into bed like a ton of stones, insensate within seconds