This morning, in a reply to jamesb following his comment to this post, I described how long it was after Anne died that I felt I could rejoin SF Fandom without her. You see, I started in Fandom at about the same time as I started with Anne -- practically everything I'd ever done in Fandom, I'd done with her. Fandom without Anne was a foreign country.
This evening scarlatti and I did something which we didn't quite get round to in September. We lay on the bed, in each other's arms, and just cuddled. No words, we just lay there, wrapped in each other, enjoying the contact. In the few weeks that have preceded this visit, it's this activity, almost more than any other, which is the one which I've anticipated with most longing.
Now the only one I've done this with before was Anne. I hadn't done this with either of my preceding partners. I never spent much time with Alice unless we were actually, ahem, doing something. Chris's style was the very opposite of cuddly, as I may have implied before. So cuddling -- particularly this kind of unpressured, agendaless, wordless enjoying of the feel of each other's bodies -- was, until now, characteristic exclusively of my relationship with Anne.
And the feel of scarlatti's body is, I'm afraid, peculiarly similar to the feel of Anne's.
Now I can't demand -- I don't, intentionally, demand -- that scarlatti acts in any way as a sort of substitute Anne. That's not how it should be, and that's not how I, intentionally, wish it to be. But tonight, wrapped in each other's arms, it felt like that's how it could be. And immediately that feeling struck, it was accompanied by a recollection of all the other things that Anne was to me, things which I can't ask -- that I don't, intentionally, ask -- scarlatti to be. And it was entirely too much for me to cope with, all striking me simultaneously like that.
"I wish I could change that", said scarlatti.
I wasn't sure. "I wouldn't change it," I said, "If Anne had to die, I wouldn't want to feel any less strongly about Anne than I already do."
"That's not what I'd change", she said, "I'd bring her back." And she's right -- so would I, in an instant. But we can't change it. And so, given that Anne's gone, it's right that I should feel the loss. And I don't want scarlatti to be anything else other than herself.
scarlatti sometimes feels like she's a second-class partner. Feels like she's in someone else's place. That's not how it is at all. Every one of my partners -- even Chris -- have been just right for me, in their own ways. scarlatti is just right for me, too. But only if she can be herself, it's the job she does best, and the only role she can play to perfection.
I headed this post with the expression "tears and smiles". There have been tears, on and off, throughout this incident. But I haven't stopped smiling, even if sometimes it's not been visible. In certain subcultures there's an expression, "it hurts so good". That works here too.
It's not a "liturgical calendar" post, I know -- but I'm going to end with a verse from a carol anyway.
"He came down to earth from Heaven,
Day by day, like us, He grew,
He was little, weak and helpless,
Tears and smiles, like us, He knew,
And he feeleth for our sadness
And he shareth in our gladness."