Speaking to the SubconsciousBy Alicia Ann Fox
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|Blake was not dreaming.|
Tonight, instead, he gazed out at the stars, listening to the murmur behind his eyes.
A new question slipping into his mind did not alarm him. For a time, the voices were stilled. Silence had a beauty all its own, a joy he had not realized until now. A peace.
He could hear himself think. He could hear himself remember.
For that he owed a reply. Safe, in private, he answered aloud. His voice was real. His voice gave shape to his memories.
"What is love?" he repeated.
"Anamnesis of love," he said softly, musing. "Calling love to mind. I know love, as strongly, as concretely as the touch of my father's coat against my cheek, but now I have only the outlines of the people I held that feeling for. The people who felt love for me are mostly dead. But not all.
"Jenna loves me, or she thinks she does. Really she loves the idea of, of an avatar of Freedom and Dreams. She's too young to understand, really, that it's not so simple. She thinks she knows; that doesn't stop her from loving me anyway.
"And I can't turn her away. I haven't turned her away, not once. Once, I even went to her, to ask for what I knew she would offer as soon as she saw me.
"She knew who it was before she opened the door. What she'd've done if it hadn't been me, I don't know. Stared back cool as space, probably. For me she had a solemn look. She was wearing only her hair, white in the light coming from behind. Her eyes were the color of dark honey."
Pacing about his cabin, picking up one item, then another, Blake continued, "She tasted sweeter than honey. That's another thing I remember clearly, thick sweet honey dissolving on the end of my tongue. Jenna is always sweet and yielding with me. I suspect only with me. She trusts me enough to be that way. Only me. She trusts me to be the kind of person she can yield to.
"The skin on the inside of her wrist is the softest thing I have ever touched."
Blake swallowed hard. "She loves me. Do I love her? Yes, I do. More than anyone I can remember." He laughed ruefully. "The problem is, I love them all. I have no-one else, and I must love someone, or my soul will die, and with it all my dreams and hopes and plans, all of the things that Jenna loves in me.
"I suspect, on my better days, that all of them love me, too. Not just Jenna. Cally sometimes looks at me as if my faults made me all the more worthy of her loyalty. Gan's trust is almost painful, but I need it, I can't let it go. Vila brought me a glass of his new adrenaline and soma concoction the other day. He thought I needed a break. And Avon has saved my life. Saved it when he could have left me behind. There are many kinds of love, you know, more than I can tell you."
Blake picked up the flask Vila had given him and poured a splash into the bottom of a glass. The liquid burned and then numbed his tongue. He savored the brief pain.
"Sometimes I'm afraid that I love Jenna too much. She's so beautiful...that's a poor word, common like she is not...she's pure, like flame. Together we burn. I don't want to crush that flame out if I fail.
"But she doesn't believe I'll fail. She loves me...she believes in me. She gives me strength. Love is a weakness that gives strength.
"Does that answer your question?"
A knock at the door. "Roj? Are you there?"
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