Letters to Luthien

Letters to My Future Bride

In Which We Burn

burning-time

Calmly We Walk through This April’s Day
Delmore Schwartz

What will become of you and me
Besides the photo and the memory? …
Each minute bursts in the burning room,
The great globe reels in the solar fire,
Spinning the trivial and unique away.
(How all things flash! How all things flare!)
What am I now that I was then?
May memory restore again and again
The smallest color of the smallest day:
Time is the school in which we learn,
Time is the fire in which we burn.

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May 4, 2014 Posted by | Poems | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Time is a Fire

Darling,

It’s been said that time is the fire in which we burn.

But increasingly, it’s a wearisome fire, and with no warmth to those who walk alone.

Today was just a bad day, and I don’t even know why. How many more ways can I describe to you this restless, wandering, pent-up feeling that gnaws within day after day? I’ve reached that point of the year where I should study the books and would rather burn them instead.

I thought some of that restlessness would drain from me with the blood I donated today, but it didn’t. They tell me today’s made one gallon that I’ve given over the last year or two. The woman was newer at her job, I think, because it hurt more than it ever has. I pictured myself on a beach, or in your arms to keep from showing the pain…I didn’t want to make her feel bad.

I took myself to a movie tonight too, thinking it would help me escape. Instead, vicariously living a brief romance through the character’s relationship, that relationship was ripped apart in death, and it left me rather out of sorts. They weren’t the people I would have chosen to sit with, but God provided some companions, an officer I’ve worked with and his two sons. They both seem to look up to me.

I need more than movies to make passable the fires of time. I’m burning my time now to write to you, but there’s really no one else in whom I can confide. Increasingly I write out a thought or an opinion to share, and then erase it because I quite firmly remind myself no one cares. I invited anyone who could read to join me in donating blood and no one did. I posed a provocative discussion question and no one replied. (But post a picture of an orphaned kitten being adopted out…!)

Okay, so people on the internet are shallow or busy or both. What did I expect? What do I want out of them? What do I want out of life? I suppose in the end, there’s a small part of me that’s frustrated because they aren’t you. Mind you, I care about them and their troubles without it being returned, so I still wish they would grow to be more attentive to their world. So what do I want? Someone to care. Someone to ask me what I want, and care about the answer. Someone to say “You know what YOU need…” and help me figure out the answer when need be. To remind me what I’m doing, what I’ve done, who I am, matters, still matters, is appreciated.

I believe I’ve told you before, the downside of becoming unflappable is that the world becomes mundane. Nothing seems new anymore, and while I’m not much to seek a thrill for its own sake, it’s enough to force me to seek out new experiences.

Part of my identity, my dear, is to be a safety net. I’m part of the network of people that act as a barrier between them and disaster. What does a safety net do? It stands there, stretched taut and under great strain, always ready to catch the clowns and sequined fools who overcharge people for their silly antics and tricks. You spend a lifetime under pressure, under obligation, knowing that when the moment comes you have to perform and if there’s one weak link at one moment in time, the whole thing was for naught. I’m doing that trackside tomorrow. Suited people who have too much money and drink too much alcohol. And as part of the safety net, it’s my job to fight anything from a skinned knee up to and including the Grim Reaper. And what’s more, we lurk unseen. We live under that constant pressure, behind the scenes, forgotten and unappreciated but enabling people to risk their lives because they know someone will be along to save them. They forget people train and learn and study. That we become familiar with Death and study his ways so we can counter them.

Sometimes it’s quite a strain. Maybe it’s a self-imposed strain, but someone has to do it.

It’s funny. We worry about the behavior of our warriors and soldiers, the aggression of our officers and the extremes of our firefighters and emergency medical workers. But truly, that’s who we need them to be. Their behaviors are expected byproducts of who we ask them to become on our behalf…and then we forget about them. We move our cars out of their way and our minds offer just the tiniest self-congratulation that we expedited the process. If I had a dime for every time someone’s told me they could never do that…

I’m sure I sound bitter. And self-congratulatory in my own way. I don’t know what I need anymore. If you ran down the list, I’m far more blessed than I deserve and all my basic needs are met. I just can’t fight the feeling, even as final exams loom ahead of me that I should be doing more, that I’m missing something, that there’s a calling just out of reach. I’m great about work and school and exercise, packing them into a day. I’m good at speed. I’m not so great on the slowdown.

Ah Darling. For all I know, this is one of the many days to come where “yeah, well, you know I have problems too!” will be the retort you have to letters like these. I’d grow weary of them too. And I hope you have someone in your life to call and announce you’ve had a bad day so they can listen. I sure would. And tonight, and on any of nights like these…I just need that from you.

Will you pray for me tonight, my dear? Please.

Your lonely knight,
Beren

May 3, 2014 Posted by | Loneliness, Nights Like These | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Eve of Salvation

FiresideKissDear Darling,

Any war can end when either party resolves to discard all prior offenses. Consequently, I was under the shadow of the tree tonight in all its glory, dining with the family and watching a Christmas movie. My budget really wasn’t thrilled with the array of gifts purchased weeks ago and only now wrapped and brought to the tree, but it doesn’t matter. Whether or not it is returned, whether or not it’s always carried out in prudence, I am a giver and that cannot be changed. I always hand-wrap my gifts, and this year I experimented with some new packaging which turned out splendidly, minus the glitter on my cheek.

I’ll be headed back to spend Christmas Eve and Day with them, but for now I’m home. The clock strikes two. I used to be a stranger to this hour, but now it’s an old friend, full of thought and memory, rhyme and reminiscence. I wrap myself in them, and arrange their finer aspects for your consideration.

I cannot recall a time when Christmas and I were more estranged. I don’t like it, but I’m learning to be okay with it. It is a hazard of maturity, perhaps. Man goes from believing in Santa to disbelieving, to becoming Santa, to looking like him. I have not quite mastered the properly indomitable spirit of Christmas to be as giving as he, but the act itself is gratifying, and I enjoy the thought process of giving. Indeed, it came all too easily to me this year.

We grow wiser with each year that passes, I think, and with it comes the sight to see the problems of the world, and how gravely we still need the Savior born in Bethlehem.

It seems that to everyone I know, this Christmas, like the last, finds Christmas shining less than it once did, which causes me to think it’s more than just age that has seen its colors fade. If you think about it, fewer people decorate with lights than used to be. I remember going driving for hours with my parents to look at the decorations. The times are growing darker.

The traditions seem musty to me now. I shudder to imagine I have outgrown them, but I can quote nearly all the movies word for word, and the songs. It’s all very predictable. For me, the kingdom of Christmas needs refreshing, and I am too old to expect Santa to do it.

Perhaps it is proper that our shimmering veneer be peeled back for a time, that the days be seen as they truly are. Maybe the fact that work and school have kept from me many of the customs will allow them greater fondness through absence. Or perhaps the rest of the year has seen pleasures that simple Christmas can no longer rival. Regardless, stripping away many of the childhood comforts does help return one to the proper focus of the day, to the definition of true love, and remind us that there really is only one Reason needed this season.

You and I will make our own refurbishments, carve out our own new traditions upon our arrival. I’m certain you will breathe fresh life into my Christmas, and seeing my family’s traditions through your eyes will be a blessing. And one day, you and I will (I hope) be Santa and Mrs. Claus to our children. As I’ve grown older, I’ve come to realize one cannot depend on others to make merry. Therefore, I hope you’ll understand my interest in hosting Christmas parties, and of course, a dance or two for the winter and new year. I’d certainly like our lives to be devoted in some measure to the happiness of others, and not just those who can reciprocate.

And of course, if I haven’t already exhausted the thought, there are so many nights awaiting us to sit with nothing on but firelight and tree light, sharing of our hearts and bodies and souls, waltzing to carols and murmuring our love amidst kisses uncounted.

The warmth and depth of my wishes for you this Christmastime transcend the weight of words. May joy inexpressible permeate every aspect of your season, and may you forget for a time the griefs and loneliness which life so rudely imposes. Be sure to find a sprig of mistletoe somewhere, and meet me underneath for our annual Christmas kiss.

Love always,
Beren

December 24, 2013 Posted by | Holidays, Loneliness, Nights Like These | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Desire

The Fire Within

“A cardiac vortex of endless desire
Unquenchably craving as oft lovers do
A gnawing, imploring, unquenchable fire
Would virgin heart scold that I burn for you?

Tormented ignition of premature thirsting
Greater than voices of warning construe
Falling and soaring, converging and bursting
Oh bride of my future, I burn for you!

Lofty the promises, churlish and fleeting
Spoken so rashly from imprudent youth
For flesh and flesh only, in wickedness cheating
They burn for themselves; I only for you

What woman of virtue, fair maiden abiding
With basest of passions in barest of view
Could meet not accepting, rejecting or chiding
This gravest confession, my burning for you?

For long are the hours of fleshly endurance
Ravenous, pleading, voracious, taboo
Through veins flows the fire of turbulent currents
My dear, condemn not that I’m burning for you!

And long is the battle, temptation’s entreatment
Craving, despising its wanton pursuit
Unslaked and unsated, demanding beseechment
Allayed with conviction, I burn just for you.

Yet, fettered and shackled, with mastery claiming
Twice-bound and thrice-locked and enshrouded from view
Sanity grasped through true Master’s naming
Barely abated, my burning for you

Compliance unyielding, remorseless, nor shamed
In innocent pining, chaste, virtuous, true
By future enthralled, by enchantment inflamed
In boldness and pureness I’m burning for you.

Dear, when nuptial longing meets nuptial blisses
When lock is laid bare and the key has turned
Remember my darling, commencing with kisses
That long for this day, through the ages, I’ve burned!”

(Yes Darling…I wrote it.)

May 23, 2013 Posted by | Poems, Purity | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Valentine’s Day Special: Imagine the Fire

Flaming Passion

“And on nights like this, when my blood runs riot
With the fever of youth and its mad desires,
When my brain in vain bids my heart be quiet,
When my breast seems the centre of lava-fires,
Oh, then is the time when most I miss you,
And I swear by the stars and my soul and say
That I will have you and hold you and kiss you,
Though the whole world stands in the way.”

Dear Darling,

Happy Valentine’s Day.

No really. I know it may not be happy now, when you’re a party of one on a day meant for two. (I hope you’re not spending it with someone else!) I’m sure it gets harder for both of us with each passing year. But I wish for it to be happy nevertheless.

This year, rather than wallow in the musings of self-pity, I thought I would give you a gift. The gift of imagination. I want to use the power of these letters to offer you a glimpse of my vision for the future, for how awesome it’s going to be one day. I’ve been working on this letter for three months, so I hope you like it.

First, tell me something: How much imagination do you think is okay? Before we meet or marry, is it okay to fantasize about our married life? Is it okay to reminisce about the future today, and relish the treasures yet to come? How often do we dare let ourselves broach the topic, how much banter is permissible….how much fire can your mind play with before a line is crossed?

I have a good imagination. I’ve had thoughts (and dreams) that might make you blush. I know that one day we’ll seal ourselves in covenant, forever freeing us to dance in the flames, and until then, it’s hard. Thinking about it (sometimes) makes it easier. I think any race is easier when you know there’s a finish line.

It’s okay to look forward to that…even to get excited about it.

I think it’s the freedom I’m looking forward to the most. The ultimate license, the absolute liberty to release every inhibition, caution, reservation and warning we’ve ever had…inhibitions about time and touch and love and romance and intimacy and propriety and sex.

Oh darling! Can either of us even begin to conceive of the freedom of kissing, touching, hugging, caressing, making love whenever we want? It will be like nothing else. No strings attached! Guiltless, fearless! It will be an experience to cherish. There’ll be no shame. We’ll be proud of each other. You’ll be able to take pride in being worth waiting for, and pride in your man for waiting! You won’t be competing with any other experiences or memories, and neither will I. We can enjoy each other just for being ourselves. One partner, no worries. It will be a celebration. Our whole wedding day will be, and as flustered and surreal as that will be, underneath will be the fires of passion and anticipation, a quivering, eager expectancy.

If you look at me, you might see steam. If I looked at you, I’d probably see stars.

Oh, and Darling, I want it to be the best! I want hundreds of tea lights, chocolates and rose petals. I want soft music, dim lights and silk sheets. And yes, I intend to have spent more than a few weeks at the gym. (Nothing but the best for my bride.)

I think I know how it will start. Of course we’ll both be nervous. Maybe even shaking. Each step beyond the borders of the formerly taboo will be furtive, but I daresay hunger will compel us. I’m sure there will be plenty of kissing. You might run your hands through my hair. But at some point, if you’re willing, you’ll have to let me take over, take you by the hand as we cross that threshold, to take our place in the book of love. It will be time to awaken your senses and excite them. I’ll kiss not just your mouth, but your eyelids, your forehead, your ears and the soft skin at the base of your throat. Our eyelashes will tickle each other to meet. We’ll feel chills and pulses as our foreheads meet, and you’ll thrill and shudder as I kiss your bare shoulders. I’ll take a rose and trace the lightest touch over every inch of your body, with lips to follow. Such rapturous vulnerability…it will terrify and thrill.

They say most don’t get it right the first time. I plan on trying. Lack of experience doesn’t mean lack of knowledge; I know to go slow. But ultimately, I suspect we’ll want each other so badly that neither of us will be disappointed. Still, I want to put you first. I want you to have a secret that you can’t tell anyone, or maybe you’ll tell a close friend or two — that you suspect no one ever loved a woman like your man. I want your eyes to roll back, your neck to arch, your toes to curl and the hairs on your neck to stand on end. I want to make you forget about time and life and fear and yourself and even us. I want to transcend the physical and unleash a blissful torrent of ecstasy straight to your brain, a seismic reverberation taking you places you’ve never been before, a flaming rush of senses that feel so good you wonder if it’s even right. I want you to lose yourself in the moment, your brain to go blank, not even knowing you’re making the noises you are. I want you to come back to yourself drained, grateful and amazed. All of this and more I wish to do for my darling, my beloved Luthien, simply because she deserves it.

Nothing in our public life, our dreary waking existence could ever prepare us for such euphoria.

Hours later, we can spend the rest of the night, talking for hours, giggling gently, touching each other’s noses and asking all the questions we’ve wondered, about what it’s like to be a man or a woman, learning about each other and exploring, fervently laying bare whatever secrets are yet unlearned. The burden of being forbidden will lift, and we can bare not just our bodies but our souls before each other. Finally, exhausted and tranquil, we can drift off to dream in each other’s arms.

Imagine the morning after. Things will be peaceful and still, just as they are after any fire. Imagine your consciousness rising to the surface, when you first become aware but before your eyes even open, when the thought explodes inside your brain: “I’m married! I’m his wife! I belong to him, and he belongs to me!” Those are the moments that make every pain in life worthwhile…waking and finding only love and hunger, renewed and washing over us, heedless of care and worry. Moments when you want to jump up and run around, uncontrollable joy bubbling up as we dance and laugh and embrace, because our waking world is finally better than our dreams. Maybe I’ll wake up before you. If I do, I’ll wake you up with a kiss. You pick where.

Breakfast and some encore performances will be in order, don’t you think?

And that’s just the first night! You might recall, I’d like to honeymoon on a private island. Imagine yourself there now. The doors are open and a warm tropical breeze wafts through the house to rustle the curtains and caress our bodies. It’s day three of our island vacation. Maybe later we can take the boat out for a spin around the island, or take a dip in the ocean. We’ve come back and showered off (nudge nudge, wink wink) and in the process of satisfying one appetite, we’ve worked up an appetite for dinner. So we head to the kitchen for dinner — grilled seafood. (If you like seafood?) If you like, I’ll feed you the whole meal.

Then the sun goes down, and we keep the lights off. Maybe there’s a veranda, and I can light some torches, to give us the primal luminescence of firelight. We can cuddle in a reclining chair built for two and tenderly read each other poetry, or our letters. We can dreamily share more stories of our lives as our fingers trace little patterns on each other. We can take a walk on the beach, sit on a knoll and watch the moonlight. (Remind me we need to go when there’s a full moon.)

Darling, we’ll be making up for for 25-30 years of virginity, and while I see no reason not to try that first night, we’ll have the rest of our lives to satisfy and reward each other. Take the first year for example. Aha, that first year…! I think people are going to be whispering behind our backs about that one. We’ll be late to work, and sleep-deprived. We’ll develop code words to whisper at parties, which will find us both leaving early. Did I say words? Who needs words? One of us will just give a glance and suddenly the air around us is sizzling and we’ll have to make our goodnights. I probably wanted you the moment you walked out in that dress.

Things are going to be hazy and dreamy and wonderful. The ultimate intimacy, the communion of souls. Oneness.

There will be things we’ll both be excited to try. We can be discreet, but daring. We can make overnight trips for the weekend, or go camping and spend late-night romps in a tent or around a campfire. We can wake each other up in the most delightful ways. We can be risque, and inappropriate. So many people seek to be “good in bed.” I don’t want to be good in bed…I want us to be good in bed. By listening, and putting you first, I hope to be all you could ever hope for in a man.

The problem is, I want you right now. I want to make out with you. Like, seriously. I just want to forget everything and let go, both of us caught up in a kiss that ignites fireworks in our brains, that sets our hearts racing, our heads spinning, our blood pumping, our neurons firing wildly. There’s going to be that animal magnetism  primeval and raw. The shackles aren’t loosed yet! For a while, we’ll fear to be alone because we can’t trust ourselves. We’ll have to guard each others hearts if we ever want to arrive at that night without being ashamed.

There will come a day we’ll have to meet to talk about this…after we’ve promised to marry, we’ll meet — in public — to discuss your expectations and mine. What we each should wear, how we’ve always imagined it, what our expectations will be. Would you like to remove your wedding dress and tuck it away? Or would you like me take care of that for you? Will you wear something daring — either black or red — for me?

Luthien, my love, you’re the only thing that keeps me waiting. Come to me soon. We have some dreams to get started on.

Until then, happy Valentine’s Day my fiery darling. I mean that with all of my heart.

With love and fire,
Beren

February 14, 2013 Posted by | Anticipation, Holidays, Our Wedding, Promises, Purity | , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments