About 550 words.
An extract from a book I'm trying not to write: "The Bluebell Tree."
Subtitled: "And other tales of Love and Chains, and Escapes therefrom."
I'm not even sure what sort of story it is trying to be. But I expect it will tell me one day....

Living in Cages

IF I COULD BREAK out of my cage, I would come to your call. Yet all I could do is reach through the bars of your own captivity. As you are reaching out. I do not know how you can escape. If I could get in with you, perhaps I would. Though my own fear of being trapped tells me to flee. It might be that we would have strength, between us, to find some way out. Perhaps. More likely, we would both stay as prisoners, and eventually learn to despise each other.

How can I experience the totality of you? I'm on the outside, looking in through windows dark and bright. Trying to examine your soul: yet what is it like to be inside, looking out? For this is what I want to know. Do you see me, looking in, and idly wonder what I want of you? Yet how may I tell you what I want of you?

What do I want of you? Well, I suppose we could start by having a good fuck. Afterwards, perhaps we could make a start on what matters.

If I could really know you – the deepest, darkest you – I would find a deep, dark pain. I cannot take this from you; even had I the power and means to do so: it is part of your experience; it is what makes you what you are. If you lost that pain, there would be less of you. Perhaps you would even find that you would have to suffer the same things again. I might find that I caused you hurt through kindness. But show me – lend me – that pain: if you can endure it, if I can endure it with you, perhaps you will find it easier to bear. We each have our own strengths, and our own weaknesses; let me take that part that you find hardest, for it may be that to me, it is a mere trifle. And in your turn, take from me what is drowning my spirit; with your little finger, show me that it is of no great weight, so that I can learn to laugh at myself as I take it back.

For the strength of our communion lies not in what we have in common; it is in our difference. And I delight that you are different to me. I wish only that we could find a way to communicate the feel of feeling.

This then, is the tragedy of being human: to be cursed with memory and conscience, yet be unable to communicate consistently with those we love, and with those we wrong. Each generation is frozen between diverging forms; somewhere between microbe and god, we strive for the higher things. Yet we are trapped by our biological origins: we fall back into petty jealousies and misunderstanding.

Yet we strive anyway. For this is the wonder of being human: to be able to love without hope, and to find – when all reason is gone – that faith remains. To know the beauty of true understanding is to aspire to that noble grace for ourselves. To see truth is to seek freedom. With deeper knowledge comes the desire to understand the inner paradox of our nature.

Those who find this – and are undaunted – shall find the way to carry our impossible humanity to the impossible stars.

Pwl ~ May 1997 ©

Star Temple

Stone walls do not a prison make · Nor iron bars a cage ~ Richard Lovelace 1649