Saintly Stories

She Remains My Beloved: A Philosophic Lament

My beloved is gone and I am alone.  I lost my beloved many years ago and the intervening days have been full of emptiness and regret and grief.  Some say that time heals all wounds but I have found it to be just the opposite.  With each passing moment and day and month and year, the ache of loss pierces me ever more deeply—pierces like a thorn in my foot worming its way deeper into my tender flesh with each excruciating step.  There is no remedy.  I cannot be with my beloved, for my beloved no longer exists.  Oh, the body of my beloved yet lives, but the beloved that I love is not the body that is but the soul that might have been, the soul which is no more.  I cannot now love in truth, cannot love bodily, for the phantom specter of my beloved's soul yet holds my heart.  Might I reclaim my heart from that specter?  Might I relinquish this ghost from out of my past and love again?  Perhaps...perhaps.  But to exorcise my beloved...I would lose the only link to her spirit still left me, and perhaps lose my very soul; for my soul abides with my beloved, and my beloved abides in what was and what shall never be.  Though my beloved is now merely a phantom of some alternate future--bleeding into my present out of the mists of the past—she remains my beloved. 

            And so the years pass.  The days creep by as the weeks and months fly one after the other, and I grow old—I grow old.  My body begins its slow decline; I can feel its ebbing energy with each beating of my heart.  I try to conjure the face of my beloved, but her memory fades as my beloved slips further and further into the shadows of the past; a phantom out of time.  As memory fades the phantom grows ever more indistinct, but does not mellow with age.  While the hair and lips and eyes and breasts of my beloved fade into obscurity, the memory of her touch, of her embrace, of her tears blossom and grow ever more prickly and powerful in my soul.  What now remains are the sharp joys of my beloved in my arms, and the dull pain of her terror in the night...especially her terror, for her terror has left wounds upon my own soul, wounds too deep to heal; wounds which at times open and bleed, seeping puss and offal, needful of nursing and care.  These wounds are tender and painful but I mind them not, for it is in the nursing of them that I can almost, almost, summon an image of my beloved.  For when I lick and bind these new-opened wounds I remember—with a memory that transcends my meager powers of recollection—I remember when I could hold my beloved and quell her terrors, for a time.  But the terror would rise again with such fury that it would overpower me, and I too would be overcome by her terror and her pain.  Her terror and her pain became my terror and my pain, and so they still remain.  And the terror morphed into disappointment, and disappointment into bitterness, and bitterness into pride, and then pride solidified into hatred.  One may only hate that which one would love, and as much as we began in love so my beloved and I ended in nothing but hatred.  We absorbed and reflected our shared hatred one upon the other; I on my beloved, the mirror of myself, and my beloved upon me.  The fires of hatred burn dark and deep, billowing up out of the forge lying at the intersection between the human soul and oblivion.  And amidst the fires of that forge we perished, one mind and one flesh, consumed in an inferno leaving nothing but ashes and embers and pain!  

            But she lives still in me, that phantasm of the past.  How could this be, you ask?  How could it be otherwise, I respond?  Do not reject the deep wisdom of old, the hard anthropological truth that when we persons bind ourselves in love one to another midst the flux of time and space, the bond of our love's joy echoes across the barren and rocky shores of the abyss to the very seat of Being, to the very Throne of Heaven.  For is it not said that what is bound on earth shall be bound also in heaven?  What is bound to our souls in those lands, lands far more substantial than our own, we shall surely carry inside of us to the grave, and perhaps beyond.  For in love, our spirits commingle and intertwine—melding as perfectly and indistinguishably as the light of two stars in eclipse.  And no force of separation or dissimulation—even the fires of Tartarus—may sunder what once was bound before the seat of Being Itself.  Such bonds, once secured, may be shredded and torn—leaving their fleshly threads bleeding and tattered by the roadside, exposed to the flies and maggots of despair and grief, and the mocking censure of the crowds of hatred and shame.  But such bonds, once made, will abide even these indignities.  And so, against will and even against nature, she remains my beloved. 

            There is no hope in this world for my beloved and I.  So I will shrink back from the wounds of that still throbbing and bloody bond and sink into the empty shell that has become myself, my soul.  I will stoop over my fire, tend my wounds, and brood as the embers fade and play dancing images of my beloved's form before my mind's eye.  And my brooding will turn to regret, and my regret to anger, and my anger to shame, and my shame to grief, and my grief to sleep, and my sleep to dreams—dreams of my beloved.  As my memory of my beloved passes from my waking to my sleeping self, her essence metamorphoses from phantasm into myth.  And in myth my beloved lives again as she may have been, for the land of myth lies adjacent to heaven and is itself a land of power and mystery.  And just as the newly awakened butterfly emerges from the chrysalis and slowly spreads its fast-drying wings towards the sun so the myth of my beloved rises from the ashes of the past and gains in strength and vigor and beauty and power as she raises her arms to the heat of my embrace.  And I dream of the myth of my beloved, and the myth of my beloved becomes alive in my arms!  And I must believe—I must!—that my dreams are truer than my waking hours, for my dreamscape is the only realm where I might still live with my beloved as more than phantom memory, where I might still love my beloved and be loved by my beloved in turn.  Thus I prefer the life of my dreams, for there my beloved yet lives as she was, as she might have been, as she should have been.    

            And I will sleep but a few moments more, a few moments more, just a few moments more. That I may spend a few moments more with my beloved before the sun rises and burns away the dewy haze from my eyes, evaporating the body held in my arms, and driving the form of my beloved once more into the blackened depths of my broken heart.  To live forever in that dream, holding my beloved as she was, as she might have been...but no...no; now I am awake, and it is time to sleep-walk through the day until the night returns and I may once again hold my beloved in my arms.