A J Thompson | Andrew Thompson, Rockhampton Australia

Daniel's Tears, a short story by Andrew Thompson

©1999 Andrew Thompson

I first saw him in a vision. My entire adult life I'd waited, and then out of the blue the vision became real. Daniel, a thing of flesh and blood. In my dreams I never saw his face, but I always knew that he would have the gentleness and strength to make me cry.

He lays beside me now nestled against my back. I feel his devotion in the way he wraps his arms around me, his ankles intertwined with mine. He loves me so much.

His hand absently toys with the downy film of hair on my stomach and I feel his longing. But as always we'll sleep, then in the early hours of the morning, he'll gently take me and fulfil his needs, then return them all to me one hundred-fold.

And in this land 'tween wake and sleep, I smile at his child-like ways and cradle further into his embrace. I love Daniel - there's no denying it; I do love him beyond all else. After only six months we both know it. His breathing becomes softer and softer. And as always, the tears begin to well in my eyes. And once more I wish that I could cry for him.

I hear him reversing out of the driveway, the journey to work just begun. For a moment, the reflection from the headlights off the dew-soaked grass, casts dancing shadows around the bedroom walls. His car drives off down the street and the room is bathed in darkness. He's gone, only the lingering lonely memory of our love-making to keep me company. I try to go back to sleep but I know that it's in vain.

The aromatic scent of fresh New Guinea Gold tempts me down the hallway - my darling knows me well. I pour a cup and make my way out to the veranda to watch the sun's ascent.

The familiar tears come unbidden, and once more I feel such sadness that they are not for him. Yet he has taken all of my needs, met them and beyond. There is nothing I've ever wanted that he is not and he has shown me dreams undreamt. I don't want to hurt him but I know that eventually I will.

The tears increase. That is the pattern. The pattern of my adult life - there is no answer, no cure. Daniel is too beautiful for one such as me, for I have seen too much and he has not.

How do I explain that every night I wake in a sweat, my dead lover once more cradled in my lap? How can he hope to know how it feels having never been able to say goodbye? How can he know the feel of the blade slashing angrily at my wrists?

How can he hope to understand that all of the love in the world will never take away a single terror? And how do I tell him that I will never stop loving them both? Daniel, my new love, deserves better.

I wipe my face on my sleeve, go back into the bedroom and quickly pack my few possessions. I feel a tearing pain in my chest as I turn the key in the door for the very last time.

For one awful instant, I see his face as he comes home tonight to find the scribbled letter on the bed. I hear his scream pierce the silent house. A fresh barrage of tears flows down my cheeks.

Why is it that only now, can I find tears for Daniel?

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