The Gateway

Taken from letters to my partner.


In the distance a car thrums through the empty country lanes. The sound echoes off the wild, empty hills in stereo and magnifies until it is the sound of the whole night, like the roar of a midnight tide. I am in my pyjamas and ready to sleep and my pool of lamplight is a little golden oasis against the darkness, and I will not sleep, for this is my time, and here I am the lone, secret witness to it.

I am greedy for it, I am possessive over it – my own witching hour, where I may conjure you to me by writing to you, enjoy the thought of you ensconced here with me on this little bed, my secret night time companion, midnight feasts and whispers and crooks of necks and thoughts bleeding beyond their boundaries, watching them float up together into the dark night sky like paper lanterns. That I can enjoy the anticipation of you reading this, knowing this ink right now is a gateway where a Me you will never meet can connect with a You of her future, and wonder, and conspire.

Let me tell you, future You – now that she is returned, don’t speak to her too much yet. She is full of things beyond words, things she wishes to tell you with her whole body while she is still at the full expanse of her solitude, the wild solitude you fell in love with and the ringing of all her thoughts. Let her take you where she will, and hold her as long as you can before the fear returns and the walls of the house start pressing back in on her.

Remember her wildness – remind her of it later, when she is small and afraid. Remind her of the magic of long, lonely nights – you must understand what I mean, you were a nightwalker, you know the potent magic that gathers when silence falls on the world. Write to her from your own sacred midnights – she gets so few at home; she’s trying to trade them for mornings, but the taste is just not the same. Wedge these fresh cracks in her soul where she has stretched with BOOKS – hold these wounds open, let her bleed her honey sap onto you and let her soul widen into this new shape. The two of you are too marvellous to be confined with pot-plant domestication.

Escape into fiction, and lay your roots down there – grow wild and strange. That fertile soil will give you both the strength you need to withstand the storms of life. It will bring bloom back to the woman you love and sometimes think you’ve lost. It is the antidote against the terror of politics and the news. It is the cure for a broken heart, and a reason to live. She burns for you so fiercely, off the back of one book – one book! Imagine how you’d dance given a library.

Do not let her lose this. Do not let her disappear and buy into the lie that she is less and should be ashamed for not being the dutiful wife and housemaid. Make sure there is food to eat when she returns and BUY HER BOOKS, DAMMIT. You’re welcome.


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