February 10, 2009

Page 88

Whenever he saw her he wanted to faint.  He knew it was the sudden rush of blood to his head, and the fact that he forgot to breathe.  He knew it was an ordinary symptom and an ordinary cause, but he knew, too, that whenever he saw her, his desiccated, half-stilled body jerked forward, towards the sun.  Heat and light.  She was heat and light to him, whatever the month.
She was a bright disc in him that left him sun-spun.  She was circular, light-turned, equinox-sprung.  She was season and movement, but he had never seen her cold.  In winter, her fire sank from the surface to below the surface, and warmed her great halls like the legend of the king who kept the sun in his hearth.

"Keep me by you," he said.  It was almost a prayer, but like most of us he prayed for one thing, and set his life on course for elsewhere.

Lighthousekeeping, Jeanette Winterson

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