There are times when the world doesn’t turn in our favour, times when the sweetness of your voice echoes too deep in my memory, times when I fear chance will not dare let us cross paths again. In these moments, my beloved one, there are some simple truths that give me great comfort.
All that you are, and all that I am – every constituent part – has existed since time began. Each part of you, each part of me, has been part of life for hundreds of thousands of years. Given that all we know is infinite, in the vast ocean of time there exists perfect iterations of us, made from the exact same constituent parts, and they will meet and love a thousand time more. No – in some perfect place, at the beginning and end of this cosmic cycle, everything that is you and everything that is me will exist as one entity. What joyous reunion!
As I watch upon a sea of lovers, I know that as I and you began as one, so they were once one with us. Every love story that plays out is another configuration of us, another love story we have lived in time, another life we will live in time.
And for all that I know: that I am forever with you adrift in eternity, that one day these configurations of you and I may unite and love perfectly – that makes this world much easier to bear. I will love you as countless fathers, brothers, and sons. I will be the one you love a million times, and I know I will love you once more.
This is the house where we grew up. We filled it with laughter, with friends, with time. But there were spaces that grew in this house; gaps in the walls, cracks in the skirting boards.
Those spaces were filled with ghosts, ghosts that would leak out into our hallways until the air was so thick we could hardly see each other. A hazy miasma would slowly fill each room, and soon we would only feel the dim flicker of our own mind alone, not able to see the other. The haze pulled us apart, and through the fog of time years leapt. I found myself in new houses, but as I looked in each mirror, it was you I saw, reflected on the bathroom tiles, a shadow.
Guided by an unseen force, I found myself back at the house. This house, where we grew up. I remove each charred pebble in the fireplace one at a time, and start the flame anew. A light, a soft glow, a simple warmth. Gently, each ghost fades away, and I can see you again, smiling back. We tend the fire together. This room is safe.
We will walk through this house again, and shine light on each room. We will drive away these ghosts together. It will be our house again.
I have a dream that we go out together to the lake. We take our bikes, secure them to the car with the rope that you bound me with earlier that night. We ride around the water together until sunrise, soaking in the calm and the peace. I smile, you smile, we’re content. I put my hand to the lake, and the carp suck at my fingers. The sound of water rushes, the fresh smell of water drifting through the air. You watch the stars. I look at you, and you trace your finger in the air, Ursa Minor. When I start to tell you the story of Kallisto, you smile. I touch your cheek, draw a kiss, feel your hair brush lightly on my skin.
In my dreams, I can say “I love you” without being afraid of what you might say back.
When you get tired, we tie the bikes back up, I drive us both home.
You are my binary star. We are twinned, walking a shared path, a single fate intertwined. We are defined by the vast distance between us. Should we ever close the gap, it would be a great catastrophe. We will always light each other’s path, and we shall always question who is following whom. You shall always be so dear to me, the one I revolve with.
There’s a secret day that only I know how to access. If you position yourself just right at midnight on Friday you can get there. You will slip through the timestream between Friday and Saturday. In that gap you can find an extra 24 hours.
It is lonely in the secret day, but you get the best work done in the crystal clear silence. Your phone won’t work, and you won’t be able to get on the internet. Every TV station will show static. There are no people here at all, their physical presence isn’t in this time. There is a rumour that when people go missing and are never found, it is because they died on the secret day.
You will feel a little motion sickness when you rejoin the main timestream. That is normal. It will be 1am on Saturday morning when you get back. Nobody will ever know you were gone.
Each day I practice. I stare at myself in the mirror and say, “you have no power over me” again and again, until I believe that I mean it. Each day I prepare myself mentally for you. I will stand up. I will be strong. I will not allow you to control me.
I almost feel giddy with the sense of freedom.
Then you walk back in to my life. With the slightest of hand movements, you knock everything down. I am your prisoner. My efforts are entirely futile. I am enthralled by you, and I cannot escape.
When your choking grip recedes and you bore of me, I go back to my mirror. I lie to myself a thousand more times until I believe it, and then you come back and treat me as your plaything once more.
The knife will disappear. There will be no blood, and no evidence of a wound.
Remove my wedding ring.
When I open my eyes, I will not recognise you. You will be free.
This is the ritual. I am the sacrifice.