The idea of risk had been on her mind quite a lot lately.  How much safety, security, certainty would she be willing to risk for happiness?  How much exposure to danger and ugliness and turmoil would she be willing to tolerate if she had an opportunity to achieve emotional or spiritual or physical ecstasy? The answer, she told herself simply, was I don’t know.

Why had this odd topic been on her mind?  An answer would have revealed more than she wanted to share.

This much she would say, though. “I know we all need our secrets.  We all need the privacy the world seems urgently engaged in destroying. My secret is not deadly, not lethal, nothing involving physical pain or torture or anything so unappetizing.  But it is a secret that carries with it emotional turmoil,the limits of which have never been tested.”

She felt close to vanquishing the beast, to overcoming the lust, the drive, the physical attachment that had drawn her into this awful, potentially ruinous risk. Maybe I can clear my mind, my heart, my coursing blood, of this risk, she told herself.  Maybe the implicit rejection, the lack of notice, the ignorance of connection will wash this dangerous slurry away from me in a flush.

But there it was, the coarse little seed of poison, itching to escape and grow into an impenetrable weedy web that chokes out the sunlight the way the ocean chokes a swimmer’s breath. She was almost ready to risk entering the water.



About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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