Erotic Notion #52: September 27 7:00-8:00 PM EST
By Hapax Legomenon

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Francis Bernard Dicksee, The Confession
Frank Dicksee, The Confession.


I'm still thinking about last night's conversation. Obviously I had hoped for a different response from you, but I'm still glad we could speak candidly. When you said you'd been expecting my outburst, I was surprised; who would have thought that the leanings of my heart were so obvious? If you turned down my affections, at least you took great care to soften the blows -- a gift from a true friend.

I won't dwell on my disappointment; I don't want to be negative. From the time we first met, you became a fixture in my thoughts and dreams; although I accept your decision, I can't help wondering what might have happened if I'd met you before your husband did. Okay, this is foolish speculation. Perhaps I was too eager to read discontent in your marriage. All Brian cares about, you once said, was fishing and football games. You said he wasn't the Romeo type, although you admitted you loved him. To marry is to commit to a single dream and watch it disintegrate, slowly and imperceptibly, until not even a shadow of its original form remains.

That's not necessarily a tragedy. Perhaps your original idea of a Romeo needs to be sloughed off before reconstituting into something more enduring. Romeos do exist, but only if you let them breathe. After all, the nacho-munching football-watching man on the couch is only human. Occasionally tiresome, yes, but not a bad man, and certainly capable of romantic surprises. If you can be patient.

Perhaps my fear was not that you would say no, but that you would say yes. I don't know. I'm awash with rationalizations and liable to convince myself of anything. Hours before we talked, I was so hopeful, so utterly and foolishly hopeful. For a single erotic embrace with you, I would have traded a warehouse of dreams; a dream, even if it perishes, remains fully intact for a single hour or moment; and even if this moment expires, the dream can be painted upon the caverns of memory many many times. If this is foolishness, at least you can't accuse me of persisting in a hopeless passion. Dreams remain even when hope fades away.

You have made your choice, and I will abide by it; in retrospect I should have anticipated it. No dreamer abandons a safe reality for something more fleeting. But I shall tell you a secret. I really shouldn't. A dream, once confessed, becomes a neurosis or even an obscenity. An unrealizable dream, if confessed, poses more than a challenge to reality; it turns into a threat.

In this case I must be honest because I have tried to be honest all along. Marcela, how should I put it? I have dreamt many times of kissing you, no, of making love to you (why pretend? We are adults). Now that you have told me exactly where you stand, I cannot dream the same way. I can no longer recreate the erotic image of a Marcela who loves me. Why? Because it would be untrue. And now there is factual confirmation. To conjure a living presence of unsatisfied desire being satisfied requires a degree of plausibility which now is impossible. Thus I mourn not only the possibility of love but the passing of a dream.

Yes, I'll meet other people, and someday I will marry. In a few years our lives will diverge, and last night's confession will be a minor episode in a diary no one will ever reread. We have never loved and never will, but can we still share a dream? You said, forget it; drop the subject; don't even think about it. I'll try. Honestly, I'll try. But I don't want to lose dreams of what might have been, and I don't want you to lose them either. A person who stops dreaming about the impossible discovers that nothing remains to look forward to.

You probably are right that your marriage will endure and that this boredom is only a passing disaffection. And probably you are right that an extramarital affair would destroy many things — a friendship, a marriage, a psychic balance. I trust your practical caution. Passion must not cause pain. I agree; from now on, we probably should avoid being alone together. It would only remind us of the "thing." It's better to bury it, to pretend it never happened (and really, nothing did happen). Friendship, if carefully nurtured, can outlast passion.

For your husband, give him all the love you can give; give it without hesitation or restraint; let your husband adore your womanhood and answer your physical and emotional needs.

But for one hour of one day I will be dreaming of only one thing: you and your erotic secrets. For that one hour I want you to join me in imagination, to embrace my hungers, to feel my excitement. For one hour let me strip you of inhibitions and abuse your generosity; show me everything and deny me nothing. For every other hour of every other day of every year, go on with married life; forget about me, and I'll try forgetting about you. But in that one hour-- September 27 of every year between 7:00 and 8:00 PM EST (that is midnight to 1:00 AM UTC), remind yourself; release yourself. Remember the men you won't seduce, the men who long to seduce you, the men who will always look at you with longing and regret. Let me be one of those men or (if you want) the only man. Sail through turbulent waters. Tether yourself (however tenuously) to marital fidelity. Let passion become undone. Unplug your ears. Open your eyes. Surrender to your longings — don't resist! And please--for one hour of one day of one year-- let me drown in your infinity.

Written, Summer, 1996

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We have never loved and never will, but can we still share a dream?
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