My dearests, whatever shall I write tonight? I ask myself this every day around this time. Is that you, dearest, in an elaborate proxy cover whose sole consistency - because the page hits range from a former Soviet republic, to South Dakota, to Lombardy, to Germany - is an engraved illustration from Dorian Gray. I do not beseech you imploringly as in that image - rather, with reference to another Oscar Wilde work (I think? or is it P.G. Wodehouse), I ask merely for information. Darling if you're stateside, then -- well then, I guess you switched off with someone, or perhaps the schedule isn't quite so rigidly menstrual (oh the mechanical tyranny of 28 or so days). I can't even be sure it's you. Which is okay, I totally get it, my darling Dmitri. I do think of you, even though I still can't quite conjure your face as I try to summon you - so frustrating. Because if you were here before me - the way I saw you - you'd be so immediate, so standing here in the fullness of you - of course it's you, and only you, and Oh! it's you! that's what you look like, what you feel like as I put my arms around you. I mean there's this immediacy where you're so very very vividly completely there - so frustrating not to be able to easily conjure up at least the expression on your face as I try to recollect. And the memories aren't fading exactly, but they are receding, time is passing, it's scant birdseed to go on (I have to refill the feeders every day). It's just hard to keep it going - on my end anyway - you've got Scheherazade's prosody to keep you going. What sustained Scheherazade, I wonder? Perhaps I should make a study of that fairy tale. It can't just be out of fear of death that she kept singing her song, surely it was out of a more positive impulse. And now why do I think of Bluebeard and his dead wives, and of Henry VIII?
I suppose I've laid down a few threads that I'll have to follow, but not at the moment, not this evening.
Right now, darling, let's go swimming in St. John, in the Virgin Islands. I visited the island one afternoon, a number of years ago. Amazingly, D actually won a Caribbean cruise for us. He was at a music-industry convention in L.A., and everyone threw their business cards into a bowl. The time came for the drawing - a card was drawn - the winner's name was announced. But the person wasn't in the crowded hall - which was required, to collect the prize. So a second card was drawn - D's! And he was there and his colleagues were all OMG you just won a seven-day cruise!
It was an amazing cruise, all expenses paid, airfare and everything. Except we did shell out money in the sense that I was a bit freaked out by this Great White Whale that had landed in our laps. We - I - didn't have the clothes for it, or even any sense of how people dress for cruises. So I spent too much money (that is money we couldn't quite afford), buying garments not on sale, including a long Carole Little colorfully patterned crinkled caftan which I really wish I hadn't more recently put into the Goodwill bin, since that dress had many memories, and besides I might very well fit in it again now.
Beautiful cruise, we had a cabin to ourselves on an upper deck, with a balcony, and it was amazing at different times each day to wake to see - oh, either open sea, or one night in the middle of the night very distant thunderstorms over the island of the Dominican Republic/Haiti, and another morning a very closeup green mountain like a top hat of St. Maarten. It was incredible.
On various days there was a selection of day-trips that passengers could avail themselves of, and so the day the ship (a refurbished dowager of a storied oceanliner, the S. S. France) docked in St. Thomas (shopping/dutyfree perfume/liquor, etc.) we took a ferry to the nearby wild (or perhaps more accurately "wild" - that is, managed wild - not tourist-trappy anyway) island of St. John.
We were there for only a couple of hours. There was some sort of snack or drink in an open air pavilion where tiny birds openly and charmingly marched around begging for scraps, and there was a precarious jeep ride up along a steep mountain road (fresh gourds hung overhead as we passed!). And then we arrived, the island driver, D and me - was that it? I don't remember anyone else - at the most beautiful, idyllic little cove on the sea. It was a campground, I now recall, one could camp there for days or weeks at a time - and there were tents there. But we seemed to have the tiny beach to ourselves, and the island driver laughed and disappeared for a while (perhaps for a snap). And I went into the water, which was azure and clear and pristine and wild and the perfect temperature and the sun was bright but not overly so. It wasn't a bare exposed vast empty beach at all. It was this tiny cove nestled and surrounded by leafy shade and green. Amazing.
So that's where I would like to be with you, darling. And to see your face very clearly as we hold hands and step into the water.
There's no one about, not a camper, not even the driver. We've had lunch. What should we do now, up to our necks in azure sea, toes springing against hidden sand. You kiss my mouth and slip swimsuit straps off my shoulders and I take hold of you underwater and lose myself in the voyage of your mouth...