Wednesday, 4 June 2008
It is nearly 6:30 as I sit down to write. The power is out, victim of a series of over-enthusiastic storms that brought tornadoes to northern Virginia and killed one person. Good thing my laptop is fully charged. Good thing I don’t live in Virginia.
It was eerily quiet when I arrived home from work. Nothing whirred in the background. The cats were mildly disconcerted. I turned on the emergency radio, partly out of NPR addiction and partly for storm updates, but regret the loss of silence. It’s a crank radio in case the batteries die, with a flashlight option. I pulled out my Itty Bitty Book Light for evening reading. The house is well-supplied for power emergencies; I stocked up after Hurricane Isabel.
I wish you were here. There’s something especially intimate about being stuck without power. You would share my picnic of nuts and dried fruit, tomatoes and three-day old donuts left from Sunday morning’s indulgence.
We would curl up on the bed in the continuing evening light, reading books and unfinished sections of the Sunday NY Times. We would turn off the radio and exist in a world without immediacy. We would read and trade stories and laugh at the cats and at your irrepressible urge to pinch my nipples.
And when the natural blackout curtain fell over the street, we would feel our way down to the dungeon.
I twitched as I wrote that. The darkness of the basement will be absolute tonight. Traces of old pain and fear will emerge from every corner. Alone with the cats tonight, I’ll stay upstairs where civilization is as close as next door or the speaker of my little red crank-up radio. But if you were here…
We would feel our way down to the dungeon. I would be as if blindfolded. You would carry a flashlight in one hand and implements of torture in the other hand. I would carry candles, but unlit.
The sense of roaming dungeon demons nearly suffocates me. I shiver and moan. You chuckle and order me to strip, then propel me toward the ottoman and force me over it. Only then do you light the candles that earlier you placed in strategic spots. The shadows they cast just intensify the atmosphere.
I feel myself floating away, wound in the web of your sadism and desire, swathed in your sweetness and strangled by your lust.
Someday, it will happen. Someday you will be here when the power goes out. But your own power lingers, like the scent of wild honeysuckle that loiters round the house, uncontrollable, ineradicable. The fear and pain hover in the basement, the laughter and gentleness, the spankings and threats, the affection and perfect peace fill the entire house.
I miss you. But in truth you never left.
And when Barack Obama is declared the next president of these hopeful United States, you will be by my side.