imagine that there are no gods.
imagine that we can greet the sun as it rises
over the horizon without the shadow of Fate
looming over us.
imagine that there are no heroes,
just the vast expanse of the sky above and
the two of us singing songs that have
nothing to do with War.
I know the songs.
I know the price that heroes pay to be remembered and
I know your Destiny.
I know that it has no space in it for me
and my simple dreams, but now
we are so close to the heavens
and yet so protected by the trees and cliffs and
it is so beautiful here,
so beautiful I can almost believe that
just this once, the Fates have chosen to avert their
eyes in blessing, and that
History could never steal you away
as I weave my fantasies in the dead of night.
I remember the first time I saw you, how vivid you were,
the only light in a dark, unfeeling world.
I did not know your name then as I do now,
but I did know some things:
I saw the way your eyes crinkled when you laughed.
I knew that the soles of your feet were pink against the dirt.
I was a boy then and I did not yet know what longing was
yet I clung to those scraps of knowledge and as the ribbons of
Fate wound tighter around us and you became to me
more than a shining figure in the distance,
I clung even tighter to them because I feared that if I let go
I would not have anything left but a darkness in the shape of you.
and I do not want to leave you to the shadows.
still, I am not the foolish boy that I was.
I know that one day you will join the ranks of heroes claimed by
History, and I will remain by your side
until I become so immaterial that not even the songs can touch
but for now we are still young and History is just a word that our
teacher used to warn us against wandering off.
so, my love, while I still have time—
I will draw you into my lap and let my fingers weave
the stories of our seasons into your hair, in the hopes that one day
you might remember that your hands had the chance
to know gentler things than the sword and the lance,
and that for a while they had never known blood.
not even once.
remember that I knew you before you marched to meet Fate in
battle, and that I loved you long before your people called out
your name and wrote songs about your glory.
I had you before History came, and as long as you don't forget that
then I do not care about being remembered by anyone else.
see, you are wrong about one thing: I have never
known a life outside of History.
I knew History before I knew my name which then belongs to
History and I knew that my life belonged to the singers before it
could ever be mine.
tell me then, do you remember the moment you discovered
what longing was?
I do—it was in my chambers that first night when I chose you as
my Companion, when I fell asleep feeling your eyes bore holes
into my back, right where I knew my heart would be.
I hadn't realized until then how much I have been wanting
to hear the sounds of another person's breathing,
how lonely life had been to be a weapon of Destiny but not of love.
in the days after I would steal glances at your fragile hands and
look away feeling like I was the keeper of some ***** secret,
but it was not shame I felt,
for how could anyone be ashamed of wanting someone like you?
no, it was guilt I felt—I wanted to take your hands in mine but I
was afraid that I would break them.
I did not think I deserved tenderness because
I wanted it too much, and heroes do not want.
we are not supposed to have a life outside of our songs,
but for the first time, I wondered. I dreamt. I imagined things I did
not have the right to imagine.
resigning to a life of being invisible did not seem that unbearable if
it would mean a lifetime of knowing you, even if it would have
meant knowing you in darkness: your big eyes and the ***** of
your shoulders, your hands.
so light, like birds in flight.
how could I forget you? could a person forget how to breathe?
know that when I pass on and my soul goes untethered,
it would not be the stars in the sky that I would trust to
guide me back home, but the
constellations that dapple your skin, the ones I named with my lips
only a few nights before.
know that there might come a time when my body rejects all
warmth, but for my soul it would be this, always:
our bodies bathed in honeyed light in these blissful years in the mountains, the stories of which
belong to us, and to us only.
so I say—History can stake its claim on my name as much as it
wants, so long as I get to keep the three syllables of your name to
only then would I be truly happy.