'You are such an inspiration' he says quietly to me. I don't really understand why he says it or remember how I responded. But I remember warmly his earnest tone, slightly confessional. And earlier he tells me that I'm one of the few people he has ever had an authentic conversation with. My mind traversed backward through all our exchanges trying to find the points of discussion that have made him feel close to me, or that I'm someone he can trust. He is right, he can trust me with all his secrets. But I feel my desire for his body is a slight betrayal of his trust. I can't even look at his large hands without wanting to hold them. I don't think I've ever sat beside him and not brushed my skin against his. Leant in just a little closer than I should have. Maybe I'm just confusing friendship with desire. Perhaps it's really just the warmth of friendship that I feel, perhaps it's natural to want to touch one that you feel close with. But now I feel this responsibility to continue to be this 'inspiration' he speaks of. Is it my perceived bravery in striking out on my own in life, does he see how hard I try in my job, how it gives me pleasure to make my comrades smile, and encourage them to go forward in confidence. I don't know what he sees in me, but I know I want to be a heroine for him, I want to inspire him with the simple things I do, by following my tender heart through this strangeness of life. Of course it would be much nicer if I could make love to him as part of this inspirational package, but, alas, I don't think that is what he seeks from me. Earth mother, not fire lover. I could happily be either. I don't mind being the matriarch of my team, with ample bosom and open arms. A wise word. I'm getting on in life, I hope I've earned the right to call myself wise.
I like watching him when he talks. I can see the ideas appearing in his mind, like lights flashing across his face, before he articulates them, usually beautifully, in his measured resonating voice. So bright, I want to know how he thinks through life's dilemmas. The little mental jumps we make, which stepping stones he lands on in his imagination. I want more kind words from him, I feel a bit greedy for them now, for his quiet admiration. But yes, of course I know, that's not the right reason to do a thing, for shimmering words from a young lion heart. After years of spiteful sarcasm I suppose it's any wonder I'm all at sea when a man is sweet to me, so starved and unused to such things my gratitude turns to lust before I can counteract it with logic. Lust on its own isn't harmful, probably good for the wrinkles and anti-aging, just as long as I am diligent with the self
respect and the pride. I really have to learn to trust myself. Trust that I do have an inherent warmth in me, mixed in with all the natural tendencies of a human woman. Have to stop second guessing my motivations for doing things, looking for that rationale that will uncover my fatal character flaw - selfishness - my achilles heel. All my life people have made this generalisation, had this expectation about me, as I am an only child, and there are a range of stereotypes about the selfishness of only children. Add to that ten years of marriage with a male who often labelled me selfish, often unfairly, in my humble opinion, when I tried to follow my own desires. I hadn't really though about this before, had this insight, but I have a certain anxiety about being selfish, which I cover up trying to be selfless, sometimes to my own detriment, letting personal boundaries be crossed, taking on responsibility for things that shouldn't be mine, carrying guilt unnecessarily.
I think as therapy I'll lie back and have a lovely dream about laying naked on my young friend and whispering sexy, shocking things into his milky skin, until he can't stand it any longer and wants to come like an explosive gorgeous summer storm inside me. And tomorrow I'll talk to him in the office, and let my desire for him recede, in favour of a companionable and trusting friendship, and trust that it's perfectly alright to want him, because he's beautiful, more beautiful than most, and to be some sort of clumsy inspiration to him at the very same time. I can't separate the distinct strands that wind together like vines towards a distant sun that make me.