When he reached the far side of the woods, the house glowed like a jewel in the dark; the little amber windows shone and called to him. He walked softly to the side of the house and looked in. She was still naked, warming herself by the fire, her white skin rosily reflecting the hot flames. She dressed slowly, holding each garment up to warm in front of the fire before covering herself. And as he watched, he desired her more than anyone he had ever wanted before and longed for her to throw down her clothes and just bathe in the red and gold firelight forever.
Eventually, he pulled himself away from the scene. It was too much to bear and he knew he would feel deeply ashamed and unhappy if he left, like a furtive peeping tom, without speaking to her. When she answered his knock, she was smiling and still glowing with warmth. She took his hand and pulled him inside.
“Well? How do you feel? Wasn’t that an experience to remember for the rest of your life?”
He was bursting with emotion and almost choked as he answered her. “I feel alive. I feel as if all my senses have suddenly been awakened for the first time in my life. I’ve woken to a new world. I can’t believe how different I feel.”
He followed her into the sitting room and she poured him a large glass of red wine from the bottle which stood on the hearth. He sat opposite her in a sagging armchair by the fire and gulped large mouthfuls, feeling it warm his chilled mouth and stomach and then he felt he could speak again.
“It’s made me feel so much more aware. I feel I understand my instincts and can know and trust them. It’s as if I’ve seen the world clearly for the first time.” He hesitated, feeling almost overwhelmed by the passion that was surging through him. “I feel I have just been truthful for the very first time and now I want to be a champion of the truth. I think I know what you mean now and I want to make a difference.”
“That’s really good,” she said, licking the wine from her lips and patting his knee. “I thought it might finally rouse you, my homage to the fabulous Andy Goldsworthy. So, where and when are you going to start?”
He hesitated for a moment, wondering how much to tell her. “I think it has to begin with the truth. From now on I have to be totally honest. And I’m going to start right now by telling you that I saw you. Just now, through the window. I was standing outside and I watched you as you dressed in front of the fire.”
to be continued January 21