Of course she asked me to cook for her, and I could have, I still had a vile of serum at that time, but I declined to her dismay. I told her that she needed to be fit and healthy before indulging in the madness of my cooking. I couldn’t tell her the real reason, I wanted to, but I felt her connected to me and though I should have told her the whole truth, as a matter of honour, I had long since abandoned such luxuries. Instead, I sat and watched her come to life before my eyes as I recanted the sands of the Gulf and lashed together tales of goats and ferns. It remains the greatest, most enchanting moment I have ever experienced with a woman.
When the caws of dawn came we were asleep, her on her bed still in her blanket and I in a chair beside her. We did not have relations or any intimate contact of the physical kind, but we shared ourselves with each other that night. Our own weaknesses had been made into strengths by giving them over to the other and allowing ourselves to acknowledge and supersede that which we had feared. The only part of that night more enjoyable than Zarinah lifting the weight from around my neck was knowing in myself that I had done the same for her. But it was that very morning, that moment that I awoke and reached out my hand to wake my love, the instant that my fingers make contact with her cold skin and that feeling of being as dead as she was when I realised that she was gone, those are the feeling that haunt me still. The powerful baptism she and I had shared only hours before is now glazed in my memory with the pain and the disgusting truth that as soon as we had, at last, found one another we were again cast apart. And worst of all, it was my fault. I had fed her for my own gains. I had weakened her body with my greed and I had weakened her heart with my absence. I killed her.
To be continued…
© Stephen Fahey