Pandora · Past · Story

We battle witless, wary

I think a lot about the last fight Pandora and I had, the final one that took her away from me this time. I don’t fear the centuries, not any longer, but I cannot think back on what happened without a hint of regret. At war forever with a half formed feeling of budding fear, never fully allowed to manifest over the secure knowledge that no matter what, all will end well.

Though I thought to give her something, anything. I think if I were to try to explain I would end up succumbing to the long-winded formal format of the lectures she so loathes to be the recipient of. Too many words are dangerous, and there are too many destructive words, too much room for verbose error.

So I give her this:

I spoke a stunted, primitive language;
you the prose of an angry poet,
your guarded hate a perilous barrier
against the surface of our every tone and gesture
that made them impossible to grasp.
Even though I desired to cling to
their sharp, jagged edges
because they were something,
anything, and you.
But I was too caught off guard
by the artistic Hellenism of your face.
Even as clipped words struck my body
like heavy drops of freezing rain.
Still, I wanted nothing more than to bridge the vast waste
with only a hand
to fix your slipped, forgotten sleeve.

My love, in a bar one night when you were 15 years old, I got drunk with a friend. I spoke of you, of nothing but you because I had seen you that day. I slurred of your beauty and of your intellect. And this friend looked at me, leaned into me, and said in his own drunken hiss, “Sed nōnne pater Lydiae vir dīves potensque est?

Words to humble a man. To humiliate.

But you see, I knew, I just knew, that this wasn’t what would destroy me and you, and us.

23 thoughts on “We battle witless, wary

  1. How very bittersweet, the story of the both of you.

    Did you always love her? What is “love at first sight” as they say, even though she was so very young? Or was it more gradual, the more you knew her the more you loved her? I know you met her at an early age but I would like to know the details, if you would be willing to share them.

    1. Let us say at first I saw that within her was a great deal of potential, and I was drawn to her. I thought her to be an amazing, intelligent child who, with the right husband, could become a most impressive woman to rival any man. But she would need the right husband because it was so easy for girls and women in that time to be stifled and abused, restricted. I knew that I would be able to see her realise her greatness.

      I thought, “this girl could grow into a woman perfect for me.”

      I wouldn’t see her again until she was 15, and yes that meeting was love at first (though in this case second) sight. I was desperate for her! I begged and pleaded and offered her father anything I had to let me marry her. I would watch her when I could, or attend her father’s gatherings to catch sight of her. She was just a young woman then, so she barely noticed me. But the more I watched her, the more I wanted her, and the more I loved her. I will write more on the two of us soon. Things not even she knows. Maybe if she reads them, she will come back to me.

      1. Its interesting what it is that others love about us. I’m sure at that age she thought she was nothing all that extraordinary or different. Perhaps even other men saw her and thought of one so outspoken as a nuisance, or were otherwise put off, bit to you… To you she was special.

        I’m told I was something similar at that age. A bit too adventurous, a bit too wild, giving little thought for the opinions others had of me. But I was smart with a quick wit and quicker tongue and perhaps that only made things worse.

        The one who fell deeply in love with me thought me amazing at first. Interesting to watch but nothing more, then, as you did with Pandora, the more he saw of me the more he needed to be near me, to know me better.

        I would very much like to know more of your story. I’m a sucker for love stories.

        1. A woman like Pandora, so independent, was an unwelcome thing in Roman society. Men wanted a woman who would be quiet, obedient, and hostess. Pandora is the sort of woman who cannot be under the rule of a man, and Roman men sought to rule, and that was a near absolute. She was special because she was so very unique. To have a woman like her come out of a society like that was a true miracle.

          Girls are supposed to be soft and sweet, and quiet. So you know all too well what it is to be a girl who doesn’t fit into the mould society creates around you. I envy the one you love because he was able to have you. There was nothing I could offer or promise Pandora’s father that would make him let me have her. He thought my intentions were not what they were– that I sought to take advantage of her. But I was the only one capable of cherishing her the way he did.

          I promise to write more on it. I hope that Pandora will soon also share some of her own stories with us.

        2. It was a difficult thing being so different and outspoken so young. I had few if any friends and though I tried to play it off, it hurt terribly. I would have given almost anything to not stand out, to fade to fit in! But then again, my heart could not abide anything but to be me.

          I was shocked when I found out that he loved me. I was unconvinced at first, for who could possibly really love me? Gangly, odd thing that I was. So I pushed him away, from fear of being hurt, from fear of his seeing what I really was, nothing spectacular ultimately, and I would not suffer such pain. Better to have hurt on my terms.

        3. Children always do want to fit in, and they don’t have the cynicism that we possess as adults by which we easily dismiss others. At the time, it is terrible. I did not have many friends either. My quiet reserve made me strange as a child, even then. But at least now you have the comfort of knowing that there is great diversity in personality and nature, and there will be people who love you for all of your strange quirks, and who will not judge you the way that so many others may have in the past. Yet you stayed true to yourself. When judging between being true to who you are or conforming, you decided to be exactly who you are meant to be.

          Ah but there must have been a time when you gave in? When you stopped pushing him away and decided instead to accept him into your heart, and indeed to give him yours.

        4. Yes, there did come a time finally when I was convinced he loved me for me. And it was glorious to give in. To live as if nothing else mattered, as if we were the only two people who existed.

          He taught me how to lose myself. How to love as if I had never been hurt before. And when we kissed, when we were together, there was only that, blinding sensation and sight nor sound, up or down, the very ground itself ceased to be!

        1. You speak of clipped words
          of freezing rain.
          Cut my flesh
          as deep as any blade could.
          Fatal.
          When your eyes look through me
          as if I was a mistake
          as if I were some creature
          you allowed to remain alive
          due to pity
          or guilt.
          How is it I have become
          the mother of your
          discontent
          the daughter of your
          anger
          and a lover
          to your pain.
          So here I am
          building that bridge
          brick by brick
          applying mortar
          in faith and hope.
          I pray
          there would be no rain
          falling from the skies
          to build this bridge
          so true
          so strong.
          I slip a finger carefully
          pulling at my sleeve gently
          letting it fall just so over
          my pallid shoulders
          waiting for you to
          adjust it
          to fix it
          to fix me.
          Then you look at me
          with those beautiful
          baby blues
          and the rain comes.

        2. No, Pandora, no. Never a mistake. And you know I did not make you as you are because I pitied you. It is true, I regret the circumstance, the violence, the pain, the confusion, but I do not regret that I made you to stand by me, of my same nature. I think that everything is broken, and I sometimes fear that I have no stamina to do as you, to pick up the bricks and the mortar, to painstakingly reconstruct, but I must because I could only lose you if I linger too long doing nothing. I wish that I could wave my hand and return things to how they were– were it that easy. But never think that I regret you.

  2. This is beautiful Marius. When a person opens up their heart so much that words leave their normal order and try to mimic deep felt emotions that’s always so beautiful.
    “Pandora” is my current exercise to keep in touch with the Spanish language and although I’ve read it before it’s again fascinating to see this mysterious woman allowing a look into her life and soul. How could you not fall for he, no matter how rich and powerful her father was?

    1. I am by nature not terribly romantic. Yet I think we are all given over to moments of weakness when sweetness flows through our veins, and desperate compels us to act contrary to our usual. Sometimes the only gift we have to give is words, and I respect their potency. So why not use them to the greatest advantage?

      I want to capture her heart again. To do so, I think I must try to charm her. A woman’s heart is a complex thing.

      Are you enjoying the book in Spanish? Do you have any of the others in that language?

      1. That’s exactely why it’s even more wonderful if you of all people find such words.
        But maybe “capturing” is not such a good idea 😉 Try it with an invitation first. You’re a gentleman, aren’t you?

        Yes, I’m enjoing it enormously. Let’s see, I bought it along with “Sangre y oro” in Barcelona last summer. I was actually looking for books in Catalá but I was told that there’s no translation of the vampire chronicles. So I took the Castellano version. Finally I have “La reina de los condenados”, my very first book in Castellano. You could say I collect the VC in different languages and I read all of them, except the Japanese copy of “The vampire Lestat”.

        1. An infallible gentleman. In fact, some would say insufferably so.

          I admit, I have never read any of the various chronicles in any language but English and Italian. I have the ones relevant to me in pre-printed uncorrected proof form, which proved to be a bit of a disappointment because much of what is rated adult in the printed versions are entirely removed.

          But now I must find my own copy of Sangre y Oro and read it for myself. I haven’t had any cause to read or study Spanish in nearly a decade, so this would be an interesting revisit.

  3. An infallible gentleman. In fact, some would say insufferably so.

    Insufferable? Isn’t that a contradiction to the concept of a “gentleman” ? I met s few people whom I’d refer to as true gentlemen and I fell in love with them instantly, even though all of them were at least half a century my senior. There’s a lot younger men could learn from them.

    I admit, I have never read any of the various chronicles in any language but English and Italian. I have the ones relevant to me in pre-printed uncorrected proof form, which proved to be a bit of a disappointment because much of what is rated adult in the printed versions are entirely removed.

    Oh no! Shame on the editors, that’s really mean. I had no idea books were censored. That reminds me, I wanted to find out what books are still on the idex today. I wonder what kind of books that are.
    I still have to read some of the VC in the original. “The vampire Armand” I read in German, French and Italian but not in English so far.

    But now I must find my own copy of Sangre y Oro and read it for myself. I haven’t had any cause to read or study Spanish in nearly a decade, so this would be an interesting revisit.

    Good idea 🙂 I’ll tell you my favorite quotes from “Pandora” to get you in the mood for Spanish:

    “Eres la persona más chinchosa que he conocido!-contesto Marius-.Si me hubiera casado contigo, me habrías enviado a la tumba al poco tiempo.”

    “Pobre hombre! Si era realmente un griego provinciano, todavía que experimentar de nuevo la conquista de Roma”

    1. Insufferable? Isn’t that a contradiction to the concept of a “gentleman” ? I met s few people whom I’d refer to as true gentlemen and I fell in love with them instantly, even though all of them were at least half a century my senior. There’s a lot younger men could learn from them.

      You would think it is a contradiction, yet I somehow manage to pull it off flawlessly. I will explain. Take for instance Pandora. She frequently wants to get “a rise” out of me, as they say. So she will provoke and goad. But no matter how she tries, I maintain my same polite and calm manner. I remain the gentleman. And in this way, I am insufferable.

      What it is to be a gentleman is a dying art form. I think a lot of young man think that it is something that is visual only. I was at a convention recently, and there was a discussion going on about the historical origins of the ‘steampunk” genre. Well, I look about myself and there room is full. So full that half of the people in attendance must stand against the wall. I survey the chairs and sitting in half of them are men wearing all manner of “gentleman” garb. Yet none of them were rising to hand their seats over to a lady. They have no idea what a true gentleman is, and think it is merely looking the part. But you can be in rags and still be a gentleman.

      I gave my seat to a woman with a baby.

      Oh no! Shame on the editors, that’s really mean. I had no idea books were censored. That reminds me, I wanted to find out what books are still on the idex today. I wonder what kind of books that are.
      I still have to read some of the VC in the original. “The vampire Armand” I read in German, French and Italian but not in English so far.

      It was a bit confusing for me. I read the scene in which I whipped Armand and after I healed him, we went on our way. Yet I knew, as I am sure you do, that it did not end merely with me healing his wounds. I suppose the publisher thought it best not to frighten early readers with all of that terrible homosexual eroticism. I That way at least the book would have a seamless transition to printed form.

      “Eres la persona más chinchosa que he conocido!-contesto Marius-.Si me hubiera casado contigo, me habrías enviado a la tumba al poco tiempo.”

      That is also one of my favourites. And still something I say to this day.

      1. You would think it is a contradiction, yet I somehow manage to pull it off flawlessly. I will explain. Take for instance Pandora. She frequently wants to get “a rise” out of me, as they say. So she will provoke and goad. But no matter how she tries, I maintain my same polite and calm manner. I remain the gentleman. And in this way, I am insufferable.

        Now, that I imagine to be truly maddening and frustrating. Is it that you don’t like to show your anger in general or do you simply don’t want Pandora to win?

        They have no idea what a true gentleman is, and think it is merely looking the part. But you can be in rags and still be a gentleman.

        I gave my seat to a woman with a baby.

        That was very nice of you. I agree, being a gentleman is a way of life, a charactrer trait. Most of all it’s the art of how to manage social interactions and the art of conversation. It’s also more than simply charming women.
        A discussion about steampunk? That must have been intersting. You cannot count me into that group (nor in any other I fear) but I like all this airship, steam-engine, gear-wheel and pocket watch stuff.

        It was a bit confusing for me. I read the scene in which I whipped Armand and after I healed him, we went on our way. Yet I knew, as I am sure you do, that it did not end merely with me healing his wounds. I suppose the publisher thought it best not to frighten early readers with all of that terrible homosexual eroticism. I That way at least the book would have a seamless transition to printed form.
        O.o And I though, literature was a field in which no-one but the author decides what to give to the reader and the reader again has a mind of his/her own to decide what he/she likes and what not.

        1. Now, that I imagine to be truly maddening and frustrating. Is it that you don’t like to show your anger in general or do you simply don’t want Pandora to win?

          I do not want her to win! I will not give her the satisfaction of seeing me come undone in anger, and of giving her the fight that she desires. No matter how she prods, I will maintain my dignity.

  4. “No, Pandora, no. Never a mistake. And you know I did not make you as you are because I pitied you. It is true, I regret the circumstance, the violence, the pain, the confusion, but I do not regret that I made you to stand by me, of my same nature. I think that everything is broken, and I sometimes fear that I have no stamina to do as you, to pick up the bricks and the mortar, to painstakingly reconstruct, but I must because I could only lose you if I linger too long doing nothing. I wish that I could wave my hand and return things to how they were– were it that easy. But never think that I regret you.”

    I do not feel the need to reconstruct and repair until I realize there is no one else, namely you, who will do it. We both regret the circumstance, Marius. Had it happened any other way, do you think we would be standing today? Do you think we would feel both joy and anguish as memories trickle back into our minds and play with our hearts like this? The violence and pain came and went, though I can feel these very things still as if my body has been transported back into time. Reliving it.

    I weep, and I find myself alone again.

    There are nights, much like tonight, when I revive you in my mind. Our love. Our mutual stubbornness. Our hopes and losses. Our moments of gold and scarlet, moments I could never forget even if I tried. We speak about how we abhor this behavior in the other but truly, it is what drew us to each other in the first place. Our determination and perseverance is what lives deep inside our hearts, Marius. I can truly say that if not for you, I would not have this strength living inside me.

    For this, I thank you.

    Nights, much like tonight, I miss you taking the pins out from my hair and letting my hair down. I miss your smile and your calming voice against the tender curve of my earlobe. I miss your touch.

    1. How can you say that I cannot do it, or that I would not? You know the lengths I have gone to find you, and the way that I ached for you so many nights. Don’t you see that without you I am not complete? I live with the ghost of you inside of me, always whispering to me that I must endure, and that there is no truth to the emptiness I fall sway to. Because, my love, you walk this earth. Even if we are far apart, we exist, and for that reason there is always hope.

      Time and space has diminished none of what we feel, and is that not the truth behind what we feel? How can things like bitterness and hurt defeat it? It cannot.

      I think the problem is that we put our determination and stubbornness to remembering the past in a way that keeps us far from one another. We let its weight overcome our good sense. We put our determination to regret and silence because we think those are the things are all that we may have now, over a chasm too wide to bridge. But I think we must put this determination to better use.

      All that I am and have is yours. Surely you know this. Come to me when you are ready. I cannot promise you that we will be happy all of the time, that it will be easy peace. We will fight constantly and very often hate each other. But aren’t even the hard moments sweet still?

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