Memories, exhilarating ones flood her mind and in fact her spirit as she lives the moment a thousand times deep within her being. Deep within her being had never been touched, affected or torn apart in the ways he would have his way with her. How can one let go so much and be so reckless as to allow him the passage to her very heart. How can she hate herself so much for her childish vulnerability while loving so much his touch, his scent and even his wild heart? She should have never been able to return to her usual lover, her usual life…not once she had tasted passion, her new drug…the opium for her soul…but she did.
She returned and she paid the price…she still pays the price. Her husband can’t hold her without the overwhelming insecurity of another holding her tighter, ravaging her in new ways, better ways, ways she prefers to him. Her church can’t accept her, at least completely…hey will never forget-really forget how she lost her bearing and escaped to an irresponsible life, a wild love affair. Her family reaches out, but with fear and trepidation…never fully reaching her. How could one they have known for so long drifted so far from their teachings…even their examples? She is a woman without a secure home, an open church or a trusting culture…she is flawed, marked, soiled…and forever will be.
She has received her scarlet letter. She walks through her life now…desperately wanting to return to her life before her affair, desperately desiring her lover…how all else disappeared for a brief moment when he made love to her…real love, for the first time. She had been intimate with others…how utterly unfulfilling. It really made no sense to engage in something that left her more empty after an encounter…she looked in all the wrong places. With so much hurt and with such an incredible void…who could blame her for giving up? Who could point a finger at her…the whole world. Doesn’t anyone understand that she was simply refusing to be a misfit, a sheep-wandering through life without purpose, without intention…she isn’t one to give up, she is a fighter and she wouldn’t take her previous answers to be the truth. She couldn’t accept this world as it appeared to be and she would rather bear her scarlet “A” for the world to see and condemn than to die without ever having lived. But no party is held in her honor, no parade, not even a pat on the back. In truth, we don’t like people like that much because they serve…she serves as a reminder of what we want to be as she lives the life we want with a passion we only dream of…she is the thorn in the flesh of her marriage, her church. She is the fly in the ointment of her community…she is flawed.
She often loses sight of her heart, her dreams and her true desire. But her desires are kindled by an occasional landscape of an autumn day, a roaring fire on a cold night, the scent of blooms in spring or the collage of colors the sunrise presents on an early summer morning. The memories cast in her mind by her senses build to the point of climax, but continuing to exist seems safer, more responsible, more acceptable…what if she returned…she must not, what if she reach out to him and he returned to her…she can not…what if, what if, what if? That question often rolls down her cheek and finds a home on her pillow long after her current lover falls asleep…him fulfilled, her empty again, him selfish, her selfless, him on the throne of her mind but her knowing no one will ever recapture the throne of her heart…and the guilt that knowledge brings.
She occasionally lives without the constant weight of her guilt…but inevitably something happens, a movie, a conversation or maybe a story takes her back, reminds her of her scarlet mark and puts her in her proper place. She tries to rationalize her behavior by comparing it to others…but to no avail. Obviously, not all sin is equal…not in the eyes of men anyway. Even her attempts to rehabilitate, forget about her affair and loudly proclaim her redemption and restored soul…well, they fall short in light of her past and the apparent loudspeaker that announces her presence as the social leper she is…”Unclean, Unclean” the people proclaim. Now, they are never so bold as to use their voices to proclaim what she knows to be true…their eyes and secret thoughts are the weapons they choose anytime she wishes to escape her past, rekindle her flame for her current life and shed the gown of disgrace she is forced to wear daily.
Her path was straight for years…in the opinion of others anyway. Though she struggled with getting lost with her lover at times, she gradually would go a day without thinking of him…that would stretch to several days, a week, and even months would go by with his absence in abundance. But he was never dead…not really, not completely, not forever. Occasionally he would appear in her dreams or he would show up in a movie. A good book would bear his name, his personality or his words…eventually his call again grew louder, to the point she could no longer deny herself life, real life, a life of passion and a life of purpose.
One night after waking from a dream of him she flew silently from her bed and ran down her steps while putting on her robe. Responsible or not, wise or not, vulnerable or not…she must have him. The words of her husband, the opinion of the church and the gown bearing her “A” all combined weren’t powerful enough to keep her away from him…so she ran, she ran fast, until she could run no more and she continued still. Her chest heaving, her eyes moist, her mind raising and her intentions sure, she ran to his arms. So strong, so firm yet so safe and so tender. He held her tight, not saying a word at first. She wanted to assure him of her real feelings, but her sobbing in relief said more than her words could ever say. His eyes, burning with the hottest fire met hers and she knew his heart never changed, he was always there, always waiting, always longing…for her. His words of assurance were few but powerful, his touch was quenching her desire deep within her and his future for her was clear…her future was with him, forever. Her thoughts of the others and what they would say and think seemed less than important…he was the focus, he was the prize and he was the delayed gratification. Being with him again only caused her one doubt…what took so long?
She wanted to remove her gown, to strip herself of the “A”, the very letter and the very color that marked her for years. The tools of grief, embarrassment and guilt…the very emblems used to shame her, control her and remind her often of him…the very thing they wanted. The very poison she was forced to drink by her world only further substantiated her need for him and now she had to strip this from her…she could finally be whole, she could finally be free from labels and prejudices…but he said she couldn’t and that she must keep it on, she must continue to wear her “A”…her heart sank, no, it shattered into a thousand pieces. Was he no different, was he concerned with keeping her down and reminding her of her past? Reading her mind lead to his heartfelt words to her:
“My lover, you have borne this letter because of me, actually at my direction and at my command. It wasn’t to curse you or cause you pain…though I know it did. It was to remind you of me. When your world became too comfortable…you would think of me. When your world became to uncomfortable…you would think of me. I gave you sunrises and sunsets. I came to you in your dreams…so you would think of me. I never let you go, not really, but I let you go far enough to remind you of me, and how much you want me, need me…how much you love me and how much I love you. While what you called your scarlet letter was there for anyone to see, I took pride in what is really my crimson mark on you because it always assured me of your eventual return. I am strong enough for you to leave and I am strong enough to call you back. You can do it again…though I beg you not to…I am strong enough for us both in your weakness and in your forgetfulness. What you have to know, what knowledge will be come wisdom and even allow you to lead others who bear the same crimson stain is that your “A” has never stood for adultery…not since I rolled the stone away. You are not an adulterer…you are accepted, able, acknowledged, approved and will live always…that is your “A”, given to you by me. Because you sought deeper, you sought me and I am always found by those who seek me. Because you did, you are mine forever and we will live out the greatest love affair of all. “