Corps à Corps

Now, some of you are certainly thinking that it was long past time to take off the kid gloves. I reiterate our initial admonition: please respect our dreams. In trying to keep this story a universal romance, I've largely elided the political, legal and spiritual combat.

We also had reason to forgive. From the very beginning, and even more so as we grew stronger, our opponents have cultivated us. Jewel was in deeper, and couldn't work her way out. I simply didn't want to have anything to do with people that:

I can think of at least five traditions that subscribe to one or all of the above. I've struggled with four of them.

I've been offered relationships with other women, many of them beautiful, powerful and talented, and some imbued with grace. Jewel tolerated dalliances. In part, she felt that she no longer had a claim on me, but she also had come to have faith that association with me made people stronger. Once people receive love, they yearn to love themselves. Our opponents have lost a lot of allies to us.

And ultimately, it always came back to her. In most cases, it was the lady that broke it off. The tenderness of the devotion expressed in the lyrics of Winterwood, the disorientation they felt upon penetrating my quotidian façade, or the magnitude and scope of my ambitions for love: most women just didn't want to compete. In the darkest moments, when Jewel was most distant, I determined that I would devote myself to laying groundwork for the next life. I hoped that publishing the main body of this work would alleviate the burden of fear that we had been forced to push against this time.

But life had a few more surprises for us. I'm sure that many more are yet to come.