Exaggeration and Blank Verse
Yielding
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"He spake me fair, this other gave me strokes;
He promised life, this other threatened death;
He won my love, this other conquered me;
And truth to say, I yield myself to both."~ The Spanish Tragedy; Thomas Kyd


I hold a part of myself back, detached, always. It's second nature, something learned and reinforced many times by pain. I cannot imagine being fully present in this, or letting go to my body completely. It is unfathomable. I would be lost, and I have fought too hard to hold on to myself to let go now.

This is so different, and yet it's the same. Horatio doesn't want to hurt me; the very idea would horrify him. But the feeling of his body moving against mine is the same, too much the same, and if I do not pull my mind away and hide I will scream from the horror. Horatio's innocence of motive is no comfort when his hand is there- there- where Jack's was-

A shuddering breath escapes me, one that I can only hope he will mistake for passion. I do love Horatio, in my way, and I owe him so much- everything, really. This is all I have to offer in return, the only thing that someone like me can give to someone like him. Acquiescense, a bed, a body already broken in and responsive and ready.

Horatio cries out softly with delight, kissing me with eager abandon. I accept it, of course, opening my mouth and yielding to him. It is different, every moment has been different. Horatio didn't push, didn't force or demand. He only admired and wanted silently, from afar, until at last I noticed, and recognized my debt, and steeled myself to pay it.

Horatio's hands are gentle; he never hits or scratches or uses me roughly. His mouth is soft, his words tender; he never bites, never curses or calls me a whore. All in all it is different, so different, and I know that I should let it be different, let it transform me, let myself feel. But it's too much the same. If I feel, I will shudder and protest his touches, I will run away and scour my skin until it bleeds, I will weep from the horror in my soul. And that would shatter his heart. I cannot do that; he wants this, and he deserves this, and it's not so different that I can't pull myself away, out of myself, the way I did before.

It's just a body, after all. An object. Indifferent pounds of meat. I am not there. I am not a part of this.

Our cell is dry and warm, not damp and cool like Justinian's storerooms. The air smells of dust, not sea-salt and rot. The voice above me is whispering promises of love, not threats and curses. My body doesn't ache with a hundred small and vicious pains. It is different- different- in all ways different.

And yet I feel the same.

I separate my mind from the trembling, sweating flesh of my body, pulling back from everything I will not feel. It's different- it is, I know, I only wish I could believe- but just as before, I can give my body but I cannot bear to yield my mind.

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