I. WHY HANDS HAVE WRINKLES
He was always struck by her kind of beauty, unconventional but glowing and sure as the morning is sure of dew. He would age, in love with her, as she seemed to bloom ever stranger by the years. They were years apart: time had passed through him, but passed by her. In the nights he would take her in his arms and she would come to another kind of life, and after, as their breathing slowed, he would touch her face and then his own, feeling how each minute drew deeper lines on his body, and only his.
For she was still young, and he was smooth of hand and light of heart when they met. It was the easy meeting of seed and soil, and they nurtured themselves in the comfort of each other. And as things go, one day he realised they were far apart, distant as they were never before, and if he was never beautiful to begin with, he was even less fair now, even if in his eyes she flowered an eternal spring. With a might unrivalled in the world he willed Time to retract its drawings upon his body, but Time would not; and their compromise was to put the wrinkles on his hands instead of his face – and so they were worried hands, sad hands, as sad as his visage was beautiful.
(Days passed, and she never noticed, and his hands grew deeper into his melancholy; his hands became his melancholy.)
II. WHY LOVERS BLINK
Love, rooted as she is in the wee hours past high moon, delights in shading her face with cloud: for then the lovers in the forest become as dark as night. Listen closely; she is sowing a row of kisses on the back of his neck, and he opens his mouth to speak pleasure, but no sound comes out. Lost in the world of him she closes and opens her eyes with his heaving breaths, and suddenly there is no light – the moon giggles to herself.
He opens his eyes and sees nothing but the sparks behind his eyelids as their bodies entwine. If in one such moment one makes a sudden movement, shudders will linger in the spine for years, and blinking in bright light is the symbol of a memory: to recapture those moments of awkward ecstasy and suffuse the day with the lingering shiver of a past love.
III. WHY WORDS HURT
In the elder ages it was never as easy to hurt others: one had to possess brute physical strength and a certain cunning, but as pictures evolved into words everyone’s bodies became transparent to those sounds, some of which were brighter than others. Even in the poor ether of air words could warm somebody far away, or chill a nearby one to the bone.
At first all was exploration – tongues tripped over each other to try sounds, being as sparkles of light in a world dark with silence, and some of the intimacies of lovemaking became mixed into the language: how moans and various gasps could mean something else when strung together. Right from the start, then, people confused pain with pleasure, silence with meaning, and thus the light shone differently into the shimmering seas of people. It illuminated some but others found that light too bright and refused, preferring the quietude of an older habit.