September 21, 2013 — Manon began her diary of Sebastian and their strange, mystifying relationship in the middle, allowing it to fan out from the center to the tips, the beginning and the end, like a sunflower burst into yellow flame for a summer, and then in the autumn, drooping its head, the seeds falling at its roots:
Sebastian came by this afternoon. It is a fine weather day. We walked out to the little bench in the garden, sat among the roses and talked for two hours. We spoke of our relationship and the closeness we feel with one another, and that it has caught us unawares. We do not know what to do with this. He came by for afternoon tea, he said. But, in the garden, our conversation soon turned to our feelings. I feel so natural with him. I believe he does with me, too. I could tell him anything. We talk endlessly on every subject; we could probably talk for days, almost without breath; yet, our silences are communicative and deep. Kindred spirits. I feel as if I have known him for lifetimes. There is a haunting quality to it, though. Something… something dark, something I see beyond him, as if when I sit looking at him he is transparent, and there’s this dark entity behind him. He has said nothing about it; nor I to him. He may not see it. I sense he is hiding something, or he fears something, something unsettling to him.
Reflecting at this late evening hour, I cannot recall our first meeting. It seems in this lifetime we never had a first meeting, but that he was always near me, an unseen but felt presence, and when we matured on our separate paths, we would become aligned and meet. Thus, this happened: eventually, we evolved into the same group of friends and associates; then we knew each other, yet had little direct contact until recently.
The light burns low now and the air holds a chill. At the hearth, I have stoked the fire, gift of Prometheus, and what remain are glowing embers, spirits of the flame. The wall sconce in the corner hisses with gaslight, and here at my writing table, pools of wax clot around the stunted candle base.
When we will see one another next I do not know. Our meetings are spontaneous and erratic. I have my garden club and the orphan children’s benefit; he has his businesses and men’s club. It is as it should be. It is part of the natural flow of our relationship. I inhale the essence of what it is and expect nothing more.
—Yet, the dark side. It carries a sad mysticism, something from long ago, like something from a past lifetime. I can see bits of it, like faded photographs in an uncompleted album, our loving companionship abruptly and tragically cut short. Why? Or am I having a premonition?
He knows. He doesn’t want to face it…. The hour is late. I must go to bed.
I sat at my blog round table rereading this opening of Manon’s diary when Moriarty entered. He had been in the back kitchen, this time sweeping up enormous droppings of Japanese spam.
He’d brought his fluffy black dog, Dickens, with him. I stroked the white patch under Dickens’s chin, scratched deep behind his ear, finishing by running my hand along his back, ruffling his coat. He shook, then, sending pieces of disconnected Japanese character strokes flying, like loose spider legs.
“He rolled in the spam,” said Moriarty.
“My last post, part two of this story, attracted page after page of Japanese language characters,” I said. “Must have been the keyword ‘masquerade.’”
“I built the foundation for the folly,” Moriarty said. “Come out and see it. A low wall we can sit on and finish our discussion begun the other night over the Chinese.”
We walked across the tall yellow meadow grass to the foot of the folly, parallel on the hill to the blog, overlooking the stream. I carried Manon’s diary.
Moriarty had set a cornerstone into the foundation and carved into it Sept 2013. What a Phantom. I beamed at his thoughtfulness to detail. Sitting on Moriarty’s masterpiece, I tilted my face upwards and took a long draft of the deep blue September sky, the honeyed warmth of sun drenching my face.
Dickens sat next to me and leaned against my leg; and then he lay down, resting his head on his tan forepaws. Crickets chirped and locusts buzzed. The rubber tip of the dog’s nose twitched as he sniffed the air. Maybe he smelled blue deer. I patted his head.
“There was a strange sadness to Sebastian,” said Moriarty, sitting down at the opposite end of the foundation wall and crossing his leg over his knee.
“Sebastian typified perfectly what most humans fear – they are afraid of the light, not of the dark,” I said.
“Clearly it seems,” I went on, “that he was deeply drawn to Manon in the beginning; he drew her in; their association blossomed, becoming close.”
“And then he got scared,” said Moriarty.
“He fell into the flame he had kindled, and then tried to flee; he erected a firewall of superficiality,” I observed.
I opened Manon’s diary and read:
Sebastian has turned. I wanted to know his darkness. We have become very close. Of late, though, he has begun to be controlling. In truth, I want to know if he is worthy of me. Would he always be respectful towards me. Would he accept my work for women’s suffrage? If we are to go forward, I want clear understanding between the two of us. I sent him a note. Would he talk with me? That’s all I wrote: what point would it be to discuss with him in a note what I want to discuss with him in person?
He wrote back: “When I have time. I shall let you know.” I replied that I understand he has other priorities, that such is as it should be. However, I stated, I do find that we must talk presently. I sought to prevent a miscarriage of our friendship, although I did not tell him this latter.
There is more …