Before there was the novel, there were the stories...

by Nan Hawthorne, who also writes under Christopher Hawthorne Moss, Books and Stories b ChristopherHawthorne Moss at

Friday, July 24, 2009

Old Stories: Samir and Rory Speak of Love, Alternate Endings

amir sat silently in a corner of the loft. The straw was piled up fresh all around him. The stairs creaked and he slowly looked over to where young Cadoc knelt poised, waiting to speak. Cadoc looked a little puzzled - why did Samir sit so like a frightened cat, in a corner, looking out on the world with large eyes which caught every movement, noticed every thought, feare3d every look Cadoc had often noticed, as he was a perceptive if rather carefree boy, that in company Samir would I always search words, looks, movements and silences for meaning why would he want to, reed to do this?

The Persian permitted a sad smile. The boy hurried with his news that Lawrence intended to travel to see a great king (a king other than his Royal Self, that is) and that wished Samir to accompany him. Samir's reaction was to look puzzled, searching time - the past, the present, the future as he studied people. Then with an expression almost of resignation, he nodded.

The ride to the great fortress was a long one, but no amount of time it seemed, was large or small to Samir. Lawrence and Lorin chatted as they always did, Lawrence exultant and eloquent, Lorin, quiet, wise and devoted. Rory rode alongside Samir, both lost in reverie. Rory was a good companion for him. They could always be together, willing to remain company only, completely silent. This new, quiet Samir reminded Rory of Shannon in his silent time. There was no difference, save that Shannon would occasionally make a mad attempt at pathetic joy. Rory wanted to speak to Samir, to capture as a friend this Samir who was so like a dead Irishman once had been. But Samir held himself reserved, avoided event the looks of those who accompanied him.

One evening the party camped on the side of a hill. Rory sought out Samir and saw him setting off to a heavily treed ledge. Rory followed him and saw him sit down beneath a small tree. He called out his name and Samir started when he saw who it was, he seeme3d to smile with the look of one who waited for the sun all night and was just viewing dawn. He gestured for Rory to sit down and Rory smiled back.

"I knew you would want to talk to me sooner or later. You have been watching me - what is it you see?" Samir spoke calmly.

Rory eyed him for a moment and then began to speak. "There is something, Samir, which puzzles me about you. Albeit you were always an introvert, suddenly you are actually worlds away. Once Shannon was like that. I want to know why. I want help, or learn…"

Samir seemed even easier after the reference to Shannon. He lifted his hands, and rubbed his eyes in a gesture of fatigue. "I once spoke at length with Shannon. I am willing to speak freely with you for his sake. He was a lost soul-he never did know himself. That is how I am so much like him now. I am lost now, too. I knew why Shannon was lost' I know in some way my fear now. I will speak to you if you will hear me, for I need an ear to story into. I have much to tell."

He averted his eyes now as he spoke in a precarious voice. Rory listened with his entirety. Shannon had been very dear to him, and his wisdom and attentive love for his friends had grown from that Shannon had always seemed dangerously frightened. Now someone would explain why.

"Rory, I am lost now because someone who was dear to me is abruptly no longer here Michael is dead now, no longer here to comfort me, to be my source of light. Is it no always so, when one's beloved dies? Yes, Rory, Michael and I were lovers. Michael was strong and I needed someone strong. But now he is dead. I am best with a horrible loneliness-an unbearable one which I've hardly felt before. Yet I sit alone. It is because of this loneliness I do so. My shoulders and arms tingle with frustration - - lack of love does that, one sits alone because others only emphasize this difference, this vain wish to commune - vain because it is an unsympathetic world. There is no love, it seems, quite like homosexual love, for it is a defensive, self-contained love. There is no tradition, no romantic notions to uphold it, like "normal" love has. Often normal lovers feel little at all. They can play at amours and be cheered on, tho' neither feels more than an inclination toward the other. I will not deny there are those who are above this. My love with Michael, tho', was beset with dangers, threatened always with terror, with doubt, with shame. Yet we were free and honest lovers. Some love can be symbolized by amorous embraces, some by a smile of spiritual understanding. My love for Michael must be symbolized by a comforting caress, in which the tingling electricity of anxiety in one skin can be wiped away by sympathy and love. I am lost and lonely now. There is no caress; I tried to find a lover in Cadoc, but lust will not free spiritual desire. I may only hope to find a kindred spirit, someone who will be never be. Michael but who will understand me, who will confront with me the frozen world, with beauty.

"Shannon sought this in women, but since he never found a sensitive woman amongst those he knew, he became confused. He looked to you, found solace, but did not know how to express his need - and he grew more confused. He dwelt constantly on love and fear - it finally drove him mad I once offered to speak to you and he reacted violently That Irish upbringing he had, allowed profligacy, but not homosexuality. Strange that the Irish soul is so lonely, yet it is only allowed to confound itself by feigning comfort in riotous life."

Samir turned his face to Rory. "I don't know if what I've said you can possibly sympathize with. So long as it is sympathy, I am happy. But I would rather shrink from your disgust than wither under your pity and indulgence. I told you because no secret is good to keep-there must be a release either in kindness or humor. You will be my friend now, because you loved Shannon…spiritually."

Rory's sorrow was deep. "Yes, I loved Shannon."

Next: The very last old story!

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About the author

Nan Hawthorne now writes under the name Christopher Hawthorne Moss. You can contact Christopher at .