All Things Are Lights – Day 77 of 200

She felt a sudden need to pause. It was happening so quickly.

“Roland, I am frightened.”

He stood still. “Whatever happens here, happens as you will it, mi dons. If you want to stop now, we will. You have already given me more joy than a man has a right to expect, this side of Heaven.”

His worshipful words overwhelmed her last fragments of caution. “I want it to be so beautiful. I want it to be everything Love can be at its best.” Her words came out between little gasps.

“Looking upon your body, mi dons, I feel as if I see God.”

“Then come to me,” she said, sinking to the ground at the base of the tree.

They lay side by side. His naked length along her body made her arms and legs feel as if they were melting like wax in a flame. His hard chest rose and fell powerfully against her, and she dug her fingers into the muscles of his upper arms.

Her hand crept up his right arm till she touched the shoulder.

She slid her naked body higher against his. As a mare licks a newborn colt, she licked the broken shoulder.

He groaned softly. Then his musician’s hands began to travel lightly over her body. Waves of pleasure rippled through her.

After they had lain together for a time, she gently drew away from him and sat with her back against the rough tree bark. He, too, sat up and faced her, drawing back his knees and crossing his long legs.

The sight filled her with delight. He knows the secret position of Love, she thought. He must know the entire rite. We can enter the gates of Paradise tonight.

She drew herself toward him, and he put his big hands under her. She helped him to first lift her, then to lower her to his lap. As he entered her, a deep groan escaped him. She answered with a cry of pleasure at the sweet, ultimate closeness.

Nicolette had so often dreamed of a moment like this that now it seemed like still another fantasy. But this was real.

He is here, his flesh is solid inside me, he sees me, holds me, loves me.

He said, “This is the best moment of my life.”

“Oh, my troubadour.”‘ She clung to him, her legs embracing his hips, shuddering with pleasure.

“This song, I want to sing to the end, mi dons. And yet I long for it never to end.”

She knew what he meant. As her mother had explained it to her, in the sacrament of courtly love the man was expected, difficult as it might be, to deny himself the ultimate release. The woman, however, need not resist the passion that sweeps her along. In moments, Nicolette rose to the crest of a wave that made her scream and bite Roland’s neck.

Roland seemed to her like a man in the throes of fever. She felt a fine coating of sweat on his skin. She could see faintly in the dark that he grimaced as if in pain, but she knew it was the agony of pleasure controlled.

She ascended peak after peak until she lost count of them. She was panting and sobbing until she thought she might die of her passion. Then she felt transformed. It was beyond bodily pleasure, but still it was bodily pleasure, of the same stuff, yet finer.

She looked into Roland’s eyes and they glistened in the starlight, seeing her and yet not seeing her. Something was lifting them up. The forest shadows about them disappeared.

They were rising together through an ocean of golden light. There was no top, no bottom, no shore to this sea of light. Innumerable tiny white lights, brighter than the golden glow, twinkled around them. And they themselves were glowing.

Roland was saying something. “Everything is light. You and I, we are lights. We are stars.”

As he spoke, the light grew brighter, changing from gold to the white of molten metal.

“You are the lady of all my visions.”

Brighter than the sun now.

“You are my true self.”

Brighter than a thousand suns.

“We are in the presence of God.”

Now she spoke. “We are God.”

The light that was Nicolette and the light that was Roland became one, and the body of that one was this whole infinite sea of light. They could not see the light, not because it blinded them, but because they were the light.

Then she felt Roland gasp and clutch at her, and she could see him, as Roland, again. She saw the gleam of his bared teeth as tremors shook his body. From deep in his throat came a growling sound. She held him close, stroking his hair, until his spasms subsided. The light shattered into glittering fragments that drifted down around them as they sank back to the dark forest floor.

Nicolette felt such joy that she was seized by a storm of weeping.

“Forgive me,” he whispered.

“There is nothing to forgive,” she said, smiling even as her tears trickled down his chest. “The happiness I feel is beyond description.”

“You might conceive,” he said.

“I will not.” But, of course, she knew it could happen. Her mother had imparted to her a secret no man, even one’s lover, was permitted to share, the recipe for a concoction which would prevent a man’s seed from planting itself in a woman’s body. But it had to be drunk within a day of the event, and she could never gather all the herbs and brew them properly in time. Still, the chances were in her favor, she thought. Out of a hundred arrows fired, only one hits the mark.

She was back at Chartres, standing before the Virgin of the Crypt. She knew the time-blackened statue was thousands of years old, made by Romans. She realized suddenly that it was not a statue of Mary, but of the Goddess of Love.

Smiling serenely, the Virgin — or Goddess — spoke to her in Latin: “Amor vincit omnia.”

Roland’s voice awakened her. “Mi dons. Have we succeeded in ending your marriage?”

She opened her eyes. Thank the Goddess it was not yet dawn. They did not have to part. She felt deep happiness at waking beside him, but it was tinged with sorrow. If only she could waken with him every morning of her life.

“For this time, but not for all time,” she said. The sadness weighed on her as she thought how she must leave Roland and go back to her everyday life, perhaps not to see him for months.

“If only I had killed him at the tournament last year. Your bondage would have been ended forever.” The pain in his voice made her reach out and touch his cheek.

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