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Vesta. Photo by Eric Francis.

We were standing in the doorway of her room when the shift had us feeling one another differently. We took a leap above contention and reached a place where we admitted how badly and for how long guilt had stalked us. Through our lives, that is. It felt so good to hear that acknowledged by one I consider sane and loving. I finally had affirmation that my own struggle was not evidence of my being a bad person.

We stood together in the most fragile humility. We understood something new about ourselves and one another, a bond wrought of the deeply private nature of the subject: self condemnation.

“And the fear,” I said. “There is always so much that can go wrong. I could be scared all the time.”

She glanced at me, nodded slowly and said yes.

It felt so good to be with someone who in that moment understood. The fear. I felt then and there that I might go beyond it for the first time; that I could see a way.

Then I felt, with a sick turn of my stomach, that I had condemned her at times: for subtle things, for the things I was afraid of, and for some big ones that more matched my own rage than anything else in the world. Something at that moment slipped into place, and with the most gentle joy in my heart I understood then that my role in her life was to forgive her. Simply that. To hold her as innocent. To see her as nothing but shorn of all blame and embraced with only love.

“I see you as innocent and strong,” I said. “I hold you in that light and I will try to do it all the time.”

“Innocent and strong?”

“Yes, the opposite of guilty and powerless.”

She smiled at that. As she did, her face turned a golden light; there seemed to be rays shining in from above and to my right. Her long hair draped on her shoulders and her face was sweet. I felt my calling; looking at her face I could see her as nothing but blameless, and I took up my new space of awareness. I understood that I was literally rewriting her identity in my mind; her inner archetype.

She reflected a face of recognition to me; quiet and fragile-feeling and so sensitive, in her gentle heart. Then we were sitting on her bed, face to face; and slowly into this space did she admit that she was afraid, and therefore felt guilty, that she was going to hurt someone if she ever had to choose between he and I. Implicitly, I think she was saying that I was the one who could get hurt because we later acknowledged that she had never considered the possibility of choosing me instead of him.

By her words, her admission, she let down that burden in my presence, right then; the one that’s tortured so many of us, for so long, so secretly. I think that if she picked it up again, it was much lighter. I reassured her that I would love myself through that, should it happen. That if she could or would not be my lover that I would take the opportunity to do so in ever deeper ways; in essence propelled within by her choice.

“When you make love to him that gives me the space to make love to myself. To love myself. I have to. It pushes me so much deeper into myself.” I could see and feel the perfect compatibility with that potential.

“Thank you for telling me. I think it’s beautiful how you love yourself and that you’re willing to let go. I love that you love yourself,” she said. I did not know whether to believe her – though I dearly wanted to. My own self-attack, that.

Flying over that, I assured her from my heart that she was free to choose him if she wanted to, though saying the words I tumbled though the space inside myself, feeling the release. I felt and said that I would love her and support her in any event. If she lost him for some reason, I promised to hold her in her grief. In joy, in joy. The ultimate surrender would be to her having a child for him and I already knew I would be right with her.

In essence, to see her as innocent and strong in any event: innocent, mainly, of the act of choosing with her own will.

My love for her, and the space that we had reached, seemed larger even than the possibility of loss. There was no having or losing or gaining: we were absolutely with one another in that moment. That moment was all there was. In the clarity of direct presence, I could hold any potential of hers. And it felt so good to offer her that willingness; to be one to let go, and see her how she is and not how I would have her be.

I recognized dimly that on some level I was terrified of losing her; and I felt profoundly that taking this risk was a human gesture that I needed to express, for my own growth.

In truth I absolutely needed and need to experience the actual expression of female prerogative; even if it hurts; and to hold the space of wholeness within myself as it happens, so as not to disturb her freedom. So as not to draw her back with guilt, or draw her into conflict.

In part I wanted to reach this awareness so that as I am chosen by one who loves me, I have every faith that it is an expression of freedom. Lack of faith in love, in any form, attests to chaos as reality.

Then I was naked before her, feeling my way through the hot layers of love and attachment, peeling them apart, releasing her from my own contradictions, my pain, my view of her through jaded eyes. My own struggle to love her that was in truth rooted in my refusal to love myself – that stream now unblocked, I could feel what I was doing.

I craved her most passionate pleasure. This fact did not stun me but the delicacy of our contact did; the sense of drawing so near with her that every nuance of her sensation of receiving him was vibrating through my feeling-body.

In a way that needed no convincing owing merely to its pleasure, I celebrated her freedom to choose; a joy that for her and in truth for me was made more meaningful by the depth of her affection for him, and by the love that we shared. Her eyes studied me as I spoke about this through many relaxed moans into the silence of night, breathing in her compassionate beauty, washing myself in her eyes. We spoke explicitly about their love and their erotic acts of love as I felt and witnessed as my own lover, apart from them. We sat together in the space where it would happen: the room, that is, even where we were sitting together now.

Right there, in just a short time.

And I felt such release in the knowledge that she would be alone with him.

I went there; we went there, trying on the space. My love for myself embraced her entirely, displaying myself in the act, and I witnessed her as free as I set myself free within myself; my eyes wet and running and the whole dream soaked in compassion.

“Innocent and strong,” I said at one point, as she smiled, and soon after she was holding the mirror to me; holding it so I could see, receive and have an easy space to let it out; to let myself out.

(Posted at Book of Blue)

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