I sat and watched you sip your tea, I asked the question, why?
You cast your eyes down, as if seeking the words
For now you weren’t with your pen, your trusty scribe
You were in the immediate, facing the man to whom you had confided so much.
I knew it had to be a serious issue, why travel so far, for afternoon tea?
I could see that you were hesitating, looking inside for the right words to begin
Then it flowed out, as I had read so many times before,
The most elegant of words, always from the heart, truthful and honest.
It seems he, the one you most feared had stumbled upon our letters
Had fronted you with them, accused and ridiculed
Had asked the question of who would possibly love you
When he was all you had ever known, had accepted you, ugliness and all.
The bully standover man he was, had made your life hell
Expected so much, gave so little back, no love, no life.
He pushed you as if he owned you, said you only had the life he gave you.
I knew you longed to get away, something had triggered this event.
You stared at the table then up at me, then I saw what I had never seen before
Not the tears, I had heard them, seen then in the words you spoke
But the pain in your eyes, the hurt that cannot be explained
The humiliation I know you have felt living this way, so powerless.
Tissues at the ready, your tale poured out
I listened as all I could do there and then
You asked for no comment I let you speak
I wanted you to know I was hearing not judging.
Some time passed, I don’t know how long
I was focused only on you, taking in the physical
I looked past the tears, and into the person I knew
Whose words enamoured me for so long.
There before me was a girl, one I thought I knew
But one with so much more to see, take in
A depth I had not encountered before, a reality, a physical being
I wanted to stay here in this moment, savouring you.
When you stopped you were embarrassed by what had happened,
Your eyes were red, so many tears, so many words, so much emotion,
You were at last exhausted of words, you sat, dabbed your eyes,
Now as if awaiting my judgment, which never came.
Instead I walked round the table, held out my hand
This time the contact was different, electric, knowing
I lifted you into my arms, held you, as you again sobbed
Felt the warmth of my person against your pain and cold.
Our embrace lasted until you stopped, again some embarrassment,
I stroked your hair, your face I held in my hands
I spoke to you of safety, of being here for you, of care for your hurt
You sank back into me, my arms wrapped around you, a moment of warmth.