MONDAY: Imagination

BY JAN BRIGHT

Copyright is held by the author.

WE CANNOT  determine our dreams. We sleep — they come. But images of places, of people are very much within our control. We can choose to let an image linger and take joy from it.

He comes to see me when he’s in town for a play or an opening, bringing always a good bottle of wine. I have a thimbleful; he fills his glass. It is a gift and is received as such. He shows no sign of having aged: a handsome man, a famous man, a beautiful man, a man admired by women and loved by so many men, a man who is indifferent to the many glances of recognition. He nods to the nurses and then leans over my aging body and holds me in his arms, gently as though I would break. This man is my husband.

You would judge and say that Giovanni and I are a cliché — a young gondolier in Venice and the middle-aged tourist. What was in it for him? What was in it for me? I brought home this man-child of 20, almost half my age, whose dream was to act, to create and to be free to live who he was.

We lived in my little flat on Queen Street, a place I bought to be among neighbours so unlike myself. People who freely and proudly wore the clothes and adornments of the 70s, people who walked like they knew where they were going — even if it was to nowhere.

My conservative parents would have shaken his hand and smiled in their waspish way and then rubbed their hands discreetly on their coat. My Gran would have called him a “Fancy-Boy.” But they were gone and I was here.

He brought home his friends, men from the theatre and they would drink wine and with the wine would come the banter, the singing and the laughter. At times, quite often, one of them would share his bed while I lay next door alone and undisturbed.

We lived like brother and sister, this is what he demands. This was what we had agreed upon: a passport for him, loyalty and friendship for me. I see him from time to time through a gap in the bathroom door, naked, wet, beautiful and I want him. I want this man whose name I have taken and whose body is denied me.

But now, many years later, feeble, aged, bedridden, I am the actor and the maker of images. I summon him and he comes to me when all is quiet, when the lights go off, when the nurses have left me for the night.

He hands me lightly into his gondola. I stroke him and kiss him. I bite him and lick the small wound. His body seems like velvet under my hand. I wind my body around and over him until we fit. He is quiet but smiling. He lies back willingly and receives my adulation at last.

4 comments

  1. Gloria Jean Hansen

    Your powerful little story left me breathless, coffee cup teetering. Just beautiful. Life can and will steal your body but not your dreams.

  2. Suzanne Burchell

    Such a captivating piece of the bridge between compromise and our dreams, illusion and reality. Her mind overcomes a truly sad affair and makes up for the rejection and longing of love spurned. She wins when at the most significant time of loss in life. Thank you for such a tender and hopeful story.

  3. Suzanne Burchell

    I am still haunted today by your story………haunted in a positive way to remember never to give in to lost dreams but to make new ones which ever way I can – there is a price for dreaming for the impossible but still a dream is a dream and a point to which we strive to travel. We must however as she did pay a price for devising and pursuing the impossible dream. be careful what you wish for and be careful of what you dream for……….the power of this story is that there is no simple answer to life’s biggest questions such as how do we risk dreaming for the unattainable which is so enticing and not suffer for after all a dream is just that seeking the delicious and the elusive? Life is so often the edge of pain and pleasure and there we teeter as she did but it is the teetering that is exhilerating .

  4. Jan Bright

    Gloria Jean and Suzanne,
    Thank you for your very kind words. Knowing that my little story was both read and understood is a true high.

    Jan

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