The Book of Longing 2.


These stories can be read consecutively in the page, The Book of Longing, at the top of the site.


Him to Her

I can’t imagine my life without you

Nor mine without you

But what if something goes wrong? 

I don’t ask him, what kind of something.

Our second meeting is in a cafe in a shopping centre. Our conversation is more personal, yet still I do not notice from him a word or gesture that signals any interest in me, other than that of a fellow-sufferer and geographically distant friend. I’m not looking and I’m not giving off any signals I’m aware of. The coup de foudre remains unacknowledged.

So when he puts his hand across the table, palm upward, inviting mine, and I without a second’s hesitation place mine, palm downward, in his, it is as if there has been an entire other conversation in progress of which I have been completely unaware, and during which it has been agreed that he will put out his hand for mine and I will respond to his offer as if it is the most natural thing for us to do. Which it isn’t, on  the level on which we’ve been conversing, on that level it could be read as predatory, or presumptuous, or harassing, or just plain mistaken.

From that moment on we communicate almost entirely on the previously unacknowledged level, and when either of us deviates the other is distressed at the betrayal. He has never known this type of communication with a woman before, he tells me frequently, but for me it’s a language I’ve spoken most of my life. It’s the other one, the superficial, that is a foreign tongue to me, that I struggle to speak like a second language I never properly learned.

I want our thoughts to touch.

You are my last thought before I sleep, and my first thought when I wake. 

And you mine. I fall asleep imaging the weight of your breast in the palm of my hand. In the night when I wake, you are there, and I am holding you, your back to me, my cock nestled between your thighs.

Our most banal communications come unmediated from this mysterious place, and when he writes or says, Listen, today I will be and you will be and the time will be so I will let you know and then you can… his tone, and mine, are so infused with the inexplicable power of a language that has no words, that even ordinary exchanges make his cock stir, and cause me without thought to spread my thighs as if to receive him.

This “psychic” sex is so real, today when we were interrupted my balls ached as if we had been physically together, and prevented from fucking. I want to be with you so badly it hurts. It hurts. 

When first I see him he is naked everywhere, chemotherapy having robbed him of all adult concealment. I am astonished at his beauty, naked as a little boy yet grown, his vulnerability more stark than any I have ever seen. There is no other way to put it: I adore his nakedness. I kneel before his nakedness and take him gently in hands that love, without my interference, fills with tender strength. It is not too much to say I worship him.

I love how you look at my cock. I love how gently you touch him. Kiss him. Do you know how much I love how you do these things? 

The loss of this form of communication when it comes, feels like death.


I write tentatively about my adoration of my lover’s body. I don’t know if it is acceptable (to whom?) for me to confess to worshipping him. What I felt was not unlike the awe that overtook me when I gave birth to my babies and first saw their perfect bodies, but of another order: we came together as man and woman, not mother and child.

Although, and nothing is unambiguous nothing is straightforward in these matters, my lover asked to suckle from my breasts, asked if they were full for him, if I would feed him, nourish him, and when he asked this of me I felt them swell, and tingle with sensations I recall from when I heard my babies cry.

And he writes to me

I want to feed you also. I want you to take from me all the nourishment you need, from my cock. If I could I would feed you from my nipples, sometimes I imagine that I can. Remember, take everything you need. I will feed you.


Throughout our affair I imagine myself in his situation. I imagine myself living with my husband while simultaneously being in thrall to somebody else. I imagine loving this other person and loving them loving me, all the while knowing I will leave them the moment I am caught in my duplicity.

I could not create with another what my lover creates with me, knowing I would leave him with what could only be anguish, to save the life I already have in place. We all have things for which we would not forgive ourselves. Mine, or one of them, would be to awaken such love in another, to beg for such love from another, all the while knowing I would leave at any moment, to save myself.

Even though I recognise in some dark corner of myself that I am horrified at my lover doing this at all, and worse, doing this to me, I stay.

What would you do if you were me?

I would never do what you have done. I would rather be alone forever than live as you are living. 

So why do you love me then?

I don’t know.

And then I remember it was my husband I loved like this, adored, worshipped, longed for, reached for in the night, nourished from my breasts. There was no room for another lover in my mind and heart and body. And if illness and death had not robbed me of him, in my heart I would be there still.

I visited my husband. He reached for my breasts. I unbuttoned my shirt and leaned over him so he could touch them with his good hand. Then I lowered my nipple into his mouth and he suckled and wept and spoke to me in his incomprehensible language and then I laid down beside him and held him in my arms, his head against my naked breasts, until he fell asleep.

If you’d met me when your husband was well would you still have loved me?

No. I would have liked you. Been interested in you. But loved you like this? No.  

Quint Buccholz. Dancing on a River
Quint Buccholz. Dancing on a River

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