It is rather too cold for this, but here I am, sitting on the ground like an Indian, pencil in hand because I could barely get the date out, the ink was nearly frozen in the pen.
Last night was opening, and I cannot remember a thing of it except that Julian Howard needed rescuing, came over quite drunk, kissed me in the cab as I had no choice but to take him to my flat, and having his warm body in my bed, even drunk, made me the happiest I've been in months.
This is the problem, David. I miss you quite profoundly, but I'd even accept having Paul back, not that he'd come back from the wilds of Australia. It's not love, or perhaps I should say it's not romance, that I miss, nor friendship, as I've got all sorts of friends, and it isn't sex, as that renter was really no good for me. No, what I miss is that closeness, the touch, not necessarily the caress, but the hand on the shoulder, the looks one could understand, the shared bed even when fully dressed. I am so bloody tired of sleeping alone. That's not a euphemism for anything. To hold him, to comfort him, is not arousing in the least, but it is terribly satisfying.
So I'm in this terrible muddle of wanting that odd space - well, I suppose it is not so odd, simply not discussed - between friend and lover. Because you were both. Paul was, too, though that was never true love. It was different with Stéphane, perhaps because he was French and thus we could never really be as close as I mean right now. I don't know how to explain it.
From the moment I met Julian, I wanted to rescue him. I didn't recognise it at first - I thought I simply enjoyed hearing a beautiful young man speak intelligently and enthusiastically about art. But I think I knew from the beginning that he was broken. We're all broken - one cannot be turned inside-out and remain completely intact. To accept inversion is madness, but then our very existence is madness. You and I are just as broken as everyone else, only we managed to hide it better than most. I know I was better with you around.
I suppose, for years, I have been wondering when the bout of effeminacy would strike. After all, an invert must have some feminine qualities, otherwise one is not actually inverted. I was so keen to cure myself all those years ago because I thought myself perfectly normal in every way except my sexual preferences. Frank has a better eye for colour than I do, which is good since he's in the family business, I can hardly dress myself, I have never once wept over a fiction, and I wouldn't dare go flapping my hands about the way some of these pansies do, not even for a role. But I think I've found my weakness after all. I want to mother him. Rather as Thea did to me, only without the sex. Listen, guide, fix - which really makes me just as bad as Thea, since I don't know what he really wants. He loves art, is a painter himself, and I dangle the possibility of contacts at Goupil in front of him. Of course he's grateful.
But where does that leave us? I'm miserable, cold, sitting on the very hard ground where you are buried; he's off to the flat his awful woman keeper has for him. I don't know why I feel such attachment to him, why I feel it is my duty to rescue him. How I wish you were here to give advice. But then, if you were here, I would never had met him and he would have had to stagger home drunk last night, abandoned by his keeper and his lover in a room full of strangers. Perhaps he would have ended up in bed with one of the chorus boys. And we would have gone home to Little Venice and slept in each other's arms. Instead, he slept in my arms without even knowing it.
I know you would say it is time to be sensible. He's terribly fragile. One should not make promises to him one cannot keep. How do I even ask Tamara what I promised him? So, your mum still see any of your dad's old gang from Goupil? My very pretty new boy - whom I am not fucking - needs a rather better job, that's all. How do I possibly explain that in the moments when I was comforting him this morning, after he was awake and sober and honest, I felt more at peace than I have in any moment since the accident? As if my purpose now is to rescue this boy, and that will cure all of us.
And yet I do not know if can follow through. I betrayed us. In the moment I felt so content, so needed, so necessary, I lost my head entirely and pulled Verlaine into it and ruined it all. I wasn't a complete fool - it's not sexual in the least, I never brought any of our important poems into it - but it fit so well, "il pleure dans mon coeur comme il pleut sur la ville". The moment I realised what I had done, I knew I had to come here. To apologise. Our knowledge of Verlaine and Rimbaud predates our knowledge of each other, but that is no excuse. An apt quotation, yes, but one that should never have been made. I betrayed all we were in that one instant.
There are others about - there's a funeral today. I hope they cannot see how I weep, how undignified is my grief two years on. I need you. I do not know what I am doing with him. I am finding parts of myself I did not think existed. I want the boy. I want Tamara. I want the family I gave up when I embarked on this career. It is the age of pairing up. Before the year is out, I will be the only person in my family unmarried, without even a real lover as consolation. I'll never have children. Julian is my only chance. How terrible that sounds! And it's not even accurate. Because I would abhor being seen as a father-figure by someone only ten years my junior. And it's inappropriate. I want more than respect from him. I want contact, affection, everything but kisses and sexual intercourse. Trust.
And I cannot give him anything he needs, because I do not know what he needs. I don't know if he needs a lover or a family or even just some proper friends. He needs people he can trust, but he also needs them to understand him, and I know I never will. Not in the ways that matter. I'm an artiste, not an artist. He broke down over his illegal desires; I grew angry and took far too many people to bed in attempts to get it out of my system or to move beyond the strange temptation. I never had such problems as he has had. I even enjoy police protection, precisely because I am not the typical invert.
I want his trust. I want his touch. But I don't dare want it. How could I betray us by bringing our history into it? I will always love you. But will you permit me comfort? I don't want to move on, not really. I want you more than anything. But god has willed that I cannot have you. Am I allowed to seek comfort from him?