19 May 2010

before i forget, by andre brink.

"there are two moments in the relationship with every woman i have known in my life, which have brought me closer to understanding - even if it was without ever fully getting there - what it means to be alive. one is the moment of orgasm. not my own, but that of the woman i am with. because it is immesurably more wonderful than anything i could hope to feel myself. seeing - hearing, feeling, knowing - her in the throes of ecstasy, does not primarily bring sense of achievement, the Little Jack Horner syndrome (Look what a clever boy am I), but a sense of awe: this is what a human individual - this is she who is you - is capapble of.

it is an unfathomable combination of two sensations which ought to be essentially different, and yet are merged: it is a sharing, almost a fusion which leaves me with a feeling of unspeakable joy, even of gratitude (Thank you for allowing me to be with you in the ultimate moment); but also a feeling of utter solitude. i can see it, hear it, feel it, taste it - but i can never be on the inside of it with you. i cannot even be sure whether i really know what it is like. is it 'like' my own? or incomparable? just as i can never know if what you see at any given moment is exactly the same as what i see. we look at a colour, we both call it red. but it is only because we have been taught to call it by that name. there is no guarantee - not ever - that we see it in the same way, that your red is my red. how much more momentous is something like orgasm. but for that very reason your solitude, your quite literal wrapped-upness in it, cannot but bring that experience of what for lack of a better word i call awe.

the other moment is very, very different. and yet not, if one really thinks about it, so different at all. it is the moment when i wake up with a woman in my arms, and see her still sleeping. i raise myself on an elbow. i gaze. i gaze at her without even for a moment being able to understand anything at all of what i see. you: sleeping. the one i have shared a special experience with; the one i have shared hours, days, months, perhaps years of my life with. yet, here, in this instant, so utterly confirmed in your youness that you are turned into a mystery, i am conscious of being on the outside of it: it actually makes me feel an intruder, someone who should not be here at all, should not be allowed to gaze upon you in this ineffable moment of sleep. beacause here you are totally vulnerable, you have no protection against the world. except the protection of your own self. which, being unfathomable, leaves you so naked that you may just as well have been peeled from your skin, a grape, a transparent fruit, light in the heart of light. and that is a mystery, for ever.

and yet by falling asleep beside me, you have sanctioned, silently, this intrusion and this gaze. to sleep with someone can be more intimate than making love. it is a yielding, and a trust, that cannot be compared to anything else. you have granted me this. can i ever be worthy of it? this is a moment i come closest to understanding something of that overused and misunderstood word: love."

ref: Brink, A 2004, "Before I Forget", hardcover copy pp. 4-5, Seeker & Warburg, Great Britain.


currently reading this. it fills my heart with so much emotions - so raw, so indefinite - sometimes it amazes me how a person is able to learn and grasp the language that only the heart understands, and then narrating the feelings to his readers in sentences so that we feel what he (or most of us) have felt in the heart but never in words.

i have got to get this book.

6 spilled milk:

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Red Glove & Spatula Girl said...

love it.

Raisa said...

That was absolutely brilliant. I like writing which one can relate to. Thanks for sharing it with us.

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