Title: "Even This Twilight"
Rating/Classification: NAC, MarLo, angst.
Disclaimer: I don't own the character and the title and quote come from
"Clenched Soul" by Pablo Neruda.
Summary: Just a short, wistful, Lorenzo piece...
"I remembered you with my soul clenched/
in that sadness of mine that you know."
Grief is a funny thing, fraught with nuances, subtleties, he should have
recognized over the course of fifteen years. It leads to unwise decisions,
fruitless obsessions, vendettas that need not take shape and women who
call, like Sirens, for a man's damnation and doom. But he is nowhere near
the student he once was. A master's degree has taught him nothing about
the harsh mistresses named Love and Time. A half-completed PhD has taught
him nothing about his own history.
However, months in Mary Bishop's company have given him scores of thesis material on hers.
She is lonely. Like him.
She is broken. Like him.
She is more than a little mad from the losses she has suffered. A
condition he understands...perhaps a little too well.
And he returns to her, hungry for facts, for dates, times...for company.
The committee at Oxford would laugh at his defense. A beautiful war widow who whiles away hours waiting for a husband who will never come home. He cannot carve her pretty things, remnants of her life before, but he can
hold her when she cries and quote trite bits of Pablo Neruda lost terribly in translation.
He is lost in translation, too. Son, brother, uncle, lover...failed
doctorate, failing empire. He is no student. No teacher. No man.
He mourns losses harder, longer, than the men around him. Than those
beneath him, beyond him. Than those who have never read voraciously of
Cicero, Luther, Marx, or his patron saint Machiavelli. A patron who would
laugh because he is nowhere near The Prince.
"Why are you here?" Mary wonders as he backs her up against the gazebo railing, tangling his fingers in the kinks and loops of her hair.
The only answer he can give is a kiss meant for a ghost.
He is no student, no teacher, no man. No one at all.
But he still answers to the name "Lorenzo Alcazar."
Grief is a funny thing. One that drives him.
To this woman who ignores the same lessons as he.
She weeps when they make love, adding her salt to the sweat. He dries her tears with the edge of his thumb, with the tip of his tongue, and asks her,
implores her, "Teach me."
For just a little while, he forgets that he can't learn.
For just a little while, he listens to her breathe and doesn't think of
what might have been.
She re-hooks the buttons on his shirt, her smooth brow wrinkled with
concentration. She stops just above his heart. Their lips meet briefly,
chastely, before he draws away.
Compassion, too, is a funny thing.
July 23, 2004.