This is Gabrielle’s response to the events of the story, Wedding Night. You should read Wedding Night first, if you haven’t already, or this won’t make much sense.
I love you. I have loved you, I think, all my life. You were the one I looked for when I hardly knew what I was seeking. You were the one who came for me and I recognized you the moment I saw you. You were the one who waited for me every time I left you. You were the one who returned for me. You were the one who called me back.
I loved you without knowing that I loved you or what it meant. I loved you when I lay in my husband’s arms. I loved you every time I left you, and I never understood why leaving you could hurt so much. I love you now.
Perdicus made me feel loved. Please don’t turn away. Please hear me. I wanted your love without knowing what I wanted. You never offered it and I didn’t know how to ask. I knew that he loved me. I knew that he would let me know. He made me feel loved. He made me feel safe. With you I was never safe, but it was not the danger that I loved. It was you that I loved.
And I feared you. If I had not, I might have given you my heart, even not knowing what I meant by it. But I turned away from you when you needed me. I chose instead something I thought I needed for myself. When I had it, I knew I had made a mistake. For a while I would have lied to myself. Then I would have run to you. Perhaps you can’t believe that, but it’s true.
If you had shown me your heart, I might have understood my own. And at last you did show me. You showed me a depth of pain that I could not have imagined until you made me feel it. You showed me a love so dark it frightened me and a passion so bright it blinded me. You showed me what it would mean to love you.
Perdicus held me as a man holds a treasure that he can’t believe is his. You held me as a woman holds onto her own soul when she fears that the loss of it will condemn her to the dark.
I knew that I could be what he needed me to be. I could be the girl he loved at home. I could be his wife and the mother to his children. I could be his life’s companion. I could be everything he expected me to be.
How can I be what you expect of me? I don’t know what you need or if I have it to give you. I want to love you, but I’m afraid to fail. How can I be the person that a warrior clings to? How can I be strong enough? How can I be big enough to fill the emptiness I feel within you?
I knew what Perdicus would take from me. He would take what I could easily have given. He wanted me by his side. As much as love, he wanted a companion, a wife. You want my soul.
Have you seen yourself? Have you seen your own eyes? I have seen in your beautiful eyes the life you turned away from come back to haunt you, time after time. And when I tried to reach you, you turned away. I wanted to love you, but you turned me away.
Sometimes your eyes go dark. I have seen the danger of the dark in you. It frightened me. I wanted to love you, but I was afraid to love the dark. Now here we are, together, deep in the dark.
You want me to help you find your way, but I am lost too. I am lost beyond the boundaries of the life I understand. I am no more safe for you than you are safe for me. I am not brave enough for this. I do not have your courage or your desperation. I could belong to ordinary life again, but you never can. If I don’t awaken from this dark dream and follow some innocent love into the light of day, I will stay here in the dark with you and that will be my life.
I know what it will mean to love you. You who have never loved yourself will take everything I am and it will never be enough. You will demand of me things that I can never give you. You will take me as you did tonight. You will consume me as the flame consumes the candle.
I know what it will mean not to love you. You who already have my heart will call me back to you no matter how far I run. I don’t know why I tried. Perhaps I needed to discover if it was possible not to love you. Now I have my answer.
How powerful is love? I used to believe that love would shine even into the darkest places and chase away the shadows of your dark dreams. But love is more powerful than that. Because I love you I will walk into the dark.
© Copyright 1997 Catherine M. Wilson