Assembled Love

Assembled Love

[Fixing Frankenstein chapters]

[This scene is a continuation of the narrative thread begun in Sparing William. You’ll recall there that William named the monster M. Samuel L’Ogre, and that by the end of the intervention, Samuel and Frankenstein had reconciled and agreed to work together at Frankenstein’s estate.]

What a miraculous, multi-soul salvation has the invisible yet all-pervading divinity here effected! A soul caught in blind animal rage and lustful raving, trapped within the mere happenstance of the merely wild; a heart abandoned, a mind untutored, a spirit splintered. Here the divine triumphed; this cruelly outranged, mangled soul was seized by divine grace, was coaxed towards aware clear conscious thought and action, towards the Good — which is in no wise random, but rather abides in the eternal and infinite necessity of Loving Kindness and Gentle Wisdom!

And this grace extended to one I’d blithely deserted travelled then through the offended one back into me, the villain, granting me an undeserved but gratefully accepted salvation. For I’d known I had been wrong but had not recognized in what manner nor to what degree.

. . . . .

In our laboratory the hours pass as minutes and science advances with her slow, steady, dogged tread. In the evening I relax with Elizabeth on the sofa, content to know her and feel her pristine essence flow across our bodies and meet me where I am to share in the love that is ours. My father and Samuel discuss the matters of the day in a giant fireside armchairs. The boys stir the red hot cinders, play at chess, or lounge idly upon the ancient Egyptian rug. Justine sits next to Elizabeth on the sofa, crosslegged, reading the Bible, or a book of poetry, occasionally bringing a verse or three to our attention.

It is a pleasant life, and no day passes when I am not humbled and embarrassed at the riches showered upon me, and most especially the forgiveness granted me. For when I succumbed to careless ambition and then defaulted on the consequences with feckless irresponsibility, still the seams of my life were not burst, the whole was kept aloft, the evil deterred, and I was spared the just reckoning. Y

et latterly I begin to notice a pain welling at the corner of Samuel’s small, oily eyes. He says nothing, but I feel the weight within him. He is alone. Forced by the prejudices of man into seclusion in our chateaux, and anyway too robust to safely rest his longings upon a mere human frame, he knows no touch but the occasional shoulder pat from his tiny friends. It was unkind to build a hulk in a world without hulkettes. For I made him a man, and man is made not to live always within himself, but to unfold himself within the arms of another — his suited mate and appropriate companion and counterpart. A man ain’t nothin’ but a man, even if he is a 400lb superhuman juggernaut.

“Samuel, I’ve a mind to build you a lady friend.”

“Frankenstein, that cannot be. For we can neither predict nor control her character and temperament, and any creature strong enough to match me would, were she uncoupled from proper understanding, pose a threat to yourself, your family, and the wider world. To say nothing of the unaccountable development of our union — no man can guarantee the good conduct of his children, let alone their children.”

“Samuel, a healthy mind brought up well, undergirded by sound principles, ensconced in a loving and attentive household, and instructed in the ways of true religion — with the One Light for doctrine; pure contemplation for ritual; active loving kindness for practice; and always-advancing gentleness as goal and standard —; with such precautions can’t we reasonably hope for a dry soul, wisest and best? Worries of wayward progeny we shall circumvent by leaving her barren, though for that no less able to give and receive monster love.”

Samuel laughed his heavy, cavernous, clanging laugh. “Victor, we may construct a female physically able to answer that ache for touch searing my loins and breaking my shoulders, but we cannot engineer her to desire my desire.”

“M. Ogre, much of what passes for the unaccountable magic of romantic love is nothing more than well-matched fibers, moods, and myths. And in this instance, the fibers we choose ourselves, the moods will be those of a healthy mind and copious heart, and the myths will be ours, those shared stories by which our little community gathers around and points towards the common Light.

[Our myths — devotion to clear aware honest contemplation and the subordination of all urges to the gentle resilience of loving kindness — consider themselves to be imperfect but yet coherent. If this self-supposition is wrong, what hope exists for conscious creatures? For what meaningful hope has ever existed but the solemn promise that our sense towards clarity, honesty, competency, order, reason, beauty, goodness, and most of all joyful selfless loving kindness: What hope is there for any watching soul but that that promise is neither an unsubstantiated argument nor a restless animal impulse, but instead a holy beacon from a Light that Knows?”]

. . . . .

Every night I pace the cool evening air beside the junipers with their sharp sticky sweetness. Every night the packed dirt rolls beneath my heavy turns. What can it mean to build a bride? We collect parts discarded by life and build therefrom a woman made to my specifications. What does God think of our enterprise? And how will she see me through a mind I’ve helped to instruct? How can we ever meet on the other side of this wild daydream, this manic fairytale cobbled together upon a sterile laboratory table?

God forgive me, Susan forgive me. Susan, I invite you into life; for the rest I can but pray. Am I a monster? All the urges so long swallowed. A fatal scream tearing through from tip to tail, breaking me along the centerline. Hold me! Heal me! Let me be all of me. Let me be known, come what may. For what lies within? What, Susan, will we uncover if you share this passion and we open up into the places I’ve kept caged and sunk beneath the ocean? And if you look at me dully, without participation? How my breast must snap in two. How the shame will rise to swamp me; tell me once and for all that I’m a vainglory, an off-key note, a poorly delivered witticism, a tactlessly trifling comment, and nothing like a man, nothing worth knowing and loving all through. God forgive me my perverse hopes. Susan forgive me this conversation with a mere hypothesis, an architect’s plan, an unhatched egg.
. . . . .

In blurry strokes the jumbling chaos coalesces into distinct shapes, textures, sensations. In time objects are sussed out and specific tastes, images, flavors, colors, hopes and fears adhere in those objects. A sense of separation from the outside world is formed. A sense of self and other. Instead of confused comfort and discomfort, associations are formed between objects, actions, and demeanors and comforts and discomforts. With the ability to perceive and choose comes the beginning of a self to guard and an other to consume and/or guard against.

[A conscious creature is an illusion within the larger illusion of animal life within time and space; as such, these inner wordless narrations about “self” and “other” are necessary for our earthy survival; nonetheless they represent a loss of wisdom, a turning away from the truest account which knows/is One Love/Light. The correct approach to this dilemma requires development, practice; in time one learns both to be the illusion and to not be the illusion, and in this way the uncreated giggle that is lifeforce and impulse of all created things may play free and joyful within the forested glens, beneath the blue summer skies, bent over a task a poem or a prayerbook, laughing at a witticism landed at tea time, and on and on, without hope or fear, relentlessly gentle and kind, alive to a fully conscious, fully wholesome happiness.]

. . . . . .

It was a cold crisp autumn day. The first of the season. The sun sank into red-yellow line during dinner. The trees seemed to shudder, as if they knew, though their leaves are yet green and open to the sun.

Susan thrashed out, screaming, kicking her legs, flailing her arms. She got wrapped up in the curtain and was in the process of launching father’s suede armchair through a wall when Samuel detained her. He hesitated for almost a minute. Thus far he’d managed to avoid physical intervention, and it was with a defeated brow that tonight he submitted to the exigencies of the moment, grabbing her by the wrists, gathering them both together in one of his great hands, and with the other gingerly closing around her side, directly above the hips, he guided her, who was soon impressed into docile curiosity, to take a seat on the larger, rougher, armchair, hewn by Samuel out of the trunk of a giant oak.

Seeing them together is both a pleasure and a pain. A pleasure because they were made for one another and the craftsmanship is evident; a pain because she is but a child, and this circumstance — temporary though it maybe — sets a melancholy and confused grimace upon her preordained’s heavy face.

Are they ugly? They are monstrous, inhuman, impossible; but “ugly” implies an ideal and norms that do not here exist. I would not kiss a wild boar, but that is because I am not a wild boar, not because wild boar are ugly. Enormous and ungainly, with heavy square features and relatively small and deep-set gray eyes; skin tinged green, with a texture rather too thick — almost like a thin coating of whale blubber, and seeming in places tight and ill-fitting, this final defect notably though not wholly ameliorated in her case, lips coarse and hair — his jet black; hers chestnut brown — luxurious and long, but rendered uncouth by sprouting stiffly out the top of the head and then tumbling down over the nape and shoulders.

When Victor first revealed his designs to me, we lay twain in our marriage bed, I huddled into his open arm, my head on his chest. I knew not how to take the plan, for it seemed to me both a natural kindness and a mad and perhaps even wicked risk. Who would she be? And how could she be said to have a true choice in the matter? Arranged marriages, common in India, among nobility, and arising at least by degrees often enough the world over, are often happy. Indeed, were Victor and I not assigned to one another long before our hearts and minds — to say nothing of our bodies — were ready? And am I not the luckiest of women to be thus paired? Much of love is a decision; if the basic outlines of frame, intellect, temperament and spirit are compatible — which configurations a good match-maker can perhaps better judge than an inexperienced and lovestruck young person — all that is left is the difficult but delicious labour of deciding every day to understand and love a little clearer, brighter, deeper, completely.

. . . . . . .

The letters come easier to me now. My name is Susan. My friends names are Elizabeth, Victor, Samuel, Henry, Justine, Alphonse, Ernest, and William. We live in a house surrounded by fields and woods. There are many other houses and many other places, but for now I am only allowed to be here. My friends are not as strong as me. Except for Samuel, who is stronger. I have to be careful with my strength so as not to hurt anyone. Samuel looks different from my other friends. I look like Samuel except I am shaped like Elizabeth and Justine except I am much bigger. I do not look exactly like Samuel. There is a mirror on the wall. It shows you what you look like. I have looked at it a lot. I have to squat down to look at myself in it. I look big and my skin is a little waxen and green like Samuel’s. My face is not so rough and big as his, but it is not so soft and small as the others’. Some people who like like each other are related to one another, but Samuel and I are not related to anyone. They tell me I am not related to anyone. I do not understand what this means.

It is nice when Elizabeth puts her arms around me and says that she is proud of me. It makes me feel like I am doing a good job. No one else is like that with me. Victor and Henry are nice and they will pat my shoulder and say I am doing a good job, but it is not the same as when Elizabeth hugs me and then I feel safe. Samuel is nice to me and he does not yell, but his face is sad and he looks away from me and he only touches me when I am being bad and he has to keep me from knocking things over but I don’t do that anymore so I guess he will never hug me. I do not understand why only Elizabeth hugs me. It could be that she is my mother, except that she isn’t, for I have no mother or father and am not related to anyone. This is what they have told me.

I learn very quickly and so they say I am very quick. I learn all my letters and numbers and I am able to play the piano, but I cannot sit on the normal bench but must use a special one because I am too big and I must press the keys lightly because I am too strong. Samuel is too big at all to play the piano but he is making a special one for himself and he is very smart and does not yell. I like the fluttering fast songs that Justine can play, but so far when I play them they do not flutter or go very fast, but instead trip and stumble and do not sound right. But I am learning quickly, they say.
There are many people in the world but the only ones who are so very big and look like Samuel and me are Samuel and me and this is very strange except that it is not, for Victor has made me and Samuel and this is something only he can do and it is a terrible power and he won’t do it again but he didn’t want Samuel to be the only one. And this is what Justine told me but then Elizabeth yelled at her and put her arm around me and said that they would explain these things to me when I was a little older and knew my letters a little better and that Justine is a silly girl for telling me these things and I am doing a very good job and she is proud of me and loves me. And that was nice when she said those things so I have not long dwelt upon what Justine said to me but I do think these are important facts.

. . . . .

Susan can read and write tolerably well. She has been instructed in simple arithmetic and she has a rudimentary grasp of the world around her. She enjoys the piano. Intellectually, she is a child of five or six. I feel confident that within a year, her theoretical knowledge will rival my own. It is difficult for me to assess her emotional development. Her free conversation and gentle movements evince a kind and generous spirit. Her sense of fair play is well-balanced by her sense of compassion and tolerance. And in the last several weeks her temper tantrums and other violent outbursts have abated completely. Here it is Elizabeth’s gentle hand for which I am most grateful. Henry and I do our best to be affectionate with her, but she is both monstrous and in possession already of a grown woman’s frame and aspect, which circumstances confuse both our human tendernesses and our senses of propriety. Samuel cannot seem to look at her without that a great sag runs through his mighty shoulders. One can readily perceive his anguished hopes and fears within his tense and downward-sloping eyes. Her body was chosen to answer his own, but he does not know in what manner and degree her heart and mind will mature; he cannot say how she will feel for him and the expectation and very question must strike us all — co-conspirators in this perhaps noble and hopefully happy endeavor — as rather inappropriate and sacrilegious. She has been born with a woman’s body and heart, but her mind and spirit are yet only a child’s. In this, she and Samuel’s experience are unique in the history of the world.

. . . . .

I shouldn’t have told her. But we had gotten to talking more and more and I felt more and more as if she were the little sister that I’d never had. We were sitting by the fountain and she spoke of her friends so sweetly and she was wounded by Samuel’s stand-offishness and I dare not explain the whole scenario, which indeed I myself have only caught in snatches and surmises, but I thought it would be a kindness if I could communicate to her something of her uniqueness and of her special relationship to Samuel. But Elizabeth overheard and scolded me and I’m afraid Susan was left only with a deeper confusion: for if she was made to be Samuel’s friend, why did he not treat her more warmly; surely to her it must seem that her greatest friend is Elizabeth, who showers her with affection. In any case, I was wrong to reveal so much on my own, without consulting Elizabeth, Victor, Henry, and Samuel, who are her primary caretakers and whose plans I have perhaps a little upset. But Elizabeth’s initial passion was soon replaced with a milder reproof, and now she tells me that no irreparable damage was done, though she beseech me be more heedful in the future, for it is surely a heavy thing to learn that one has been built and not born, and, then to have been built to assuage another’ loneliness — what a strange and uneasy knowledge that would be to anyone, no matter how grown up!

. . . . .

I love Susan as if she were my own child. I am glad that we have her now before we have any of our own, else I’d lack the time and energy she requires. This will not last. The rate at which she acquires and assimilates new information and skills is truly uncanny. Soon her mathematical prowess will exceed my — admitted woefully inadequate — understanding, and it seems inevitable that soon enough, she’ll have only Samuel for peer in the rarified realm of pure abstraction.

Though it seems unwise to air such ruminations, I’ve begun to consider the possibility that Justine’s precipitous remarks will rather help than hinder our cause. What can it mean to learn that you have been built solely because another was lonely and no other creature could be found to meet his specifications? It seems, even withholding the detail of his desiring mature attachments and matrimony, a rather perplexing, and perhaps even somewhat belittling revelation. All efforts must be undertaken to ensure that Susan chooses her relationships on her own, but only a fool could believe she — who must live isolated here with the few creatures who’ve built and are presently raising her — is very free from our influence. Samuel’s response to the dilemma is a rigid and downcast, but tender-eyed and soft-voiced stand-offishness, which Susan thus far has understood as relative indifference towards her. And as her emotions are still that of a young child — though here too she evolves at a remarkable pace — she cannot guess at his conundrum. It is hard for me to guess how much she feels herself to be a woman now. She was born with a woman’s body; but a child’s body is initially foreign to it, and needs time and experience to understand and inhabit; by this same basic mechanism, I believe she has thus far remained relatively untouched by those deeper, graver longings that first upset and then reorganize the young adult’s emotional landscape.

. . . . .

Samuel has some business to attend to and will be away some months. I told him that I shall miss him. He set his hand on my shoulder and looked in my eyes and said that he will miss me in turn and that he looks forward to telling me of his adventures soon. There are so many different places and people and animals in the world outside that I can scarcely contain my curiosity and my longing to travel beyond our estate. But my friends are very honest and I have no reason to doubt them when they tell me there are dangers out there for which I am not yet prepared.

Elizabeth has given me a Bible and Justine a prayer book. To this Henry has added the Bhagavad-Gita, some teachings from the Buddha, and the Koran. I am told that these represent some of the largest and most famous religions in the world and that as Something Deeperists our task is to connect more and more fully with the Light within that speaks through the wiser aspects of all religious writing. Victor said that we shall begin our philosophy studies next week, and that philosophy is the study of the proper use of human thought and action. Victor said that the mind and heart and body are useful only if they serve that which is truly worthy, and Victor said that is the Light that knows we are all in this together and are here to love and cherish and look out for one another. Victor is a very serious Something Deeperist. His father has remarked that for his part, he prefers the cheery chirping of the crickets to even the most enlightened systemitizations. At this Elizabeth burst out in merry laughter, whilst Victor silently raised his eyebrows and scrunched and twisted his lips a bit to one side, as if to say, “hmmm”.

Ernst will also study philosophy with us. He is a good looking young man, and is now taller and broader at the shoulders than Victor or their father. He stirs something in me, and I wish I could reach it and then I’d know what was going on. Or perhaps I wouldn’t. It is very odd. I have heard Justine and others remark upon what a tall young man he’s turned out to be, but the top of his head does not reach my nose, and it is not so high as Samuel’s shoulder. Once I caught Ernst studying me as I laughed with Justine by the fountain where we often sit, upon the stone wall, with our feet resting upon the even slate slabs. He was walking in from the field, but seemed stuck and his eyes were large with worry, his mouth open like a fish’s. I wondered if it meant that he had the same weird problem and if so then maybe we could show each other what was wrong. This kind of talk strikes me as rather insane; I employ it only because I’ve recourse to no more coherent methodology.

. . . . . .

It has been explained to me the way babies are normally made and that I was not made that way, but was made — as Justine had told me — by Victor, who happens to know how to animate creatures, though he is not otherwise godlike, and indeed, as Elizabeth said through a giggle, he would not think to change his shirt if he were left on his own. God, of course, has no need of shirts or anything from the realm of appearances, but presumably if God were to routinely wear shirts, God would always don a fresh one.

The way that men and women make babies — for it cannot be done otherwise by humans, no matter how they may try — is very similar to the way many other animals do it. It involves a lot of tenderness and touch but the key element is that the man has a penis between his legs that becomes erect and that is inserted into the woman’s vagina, which is also kept between her legs, and then they push and pull on one another in a way that is very pleasurable but also very emotional and so should not be entered lightly and is in fact only advisable within the holy state of matrimony which has been designed by either man and/or God — as the case may be — to protect us from the unbounded nature of sexuality, which always wants more and which does not care as much about kindness and love and friendship and honesty as people do.

I am also a person, though a built one.

The pleasurable pushing and pulling of penis within vagina is not, however, sufficient labour for the creation of a child. For that to happen, the man’s pleasure must explode in the form of semen, which must then connect with an egg. Women drop eggs in their bodies, just a chickens drop eggs outside of theirs. And so what decides whether or not a man and woman’s union creates a child is whether or not the man ejaculates — like one would ejaculate a clever comment, but instead of words, one pours out a stream of that fertilizing fluid called “semen” — inside of the woman, and also if the woman’s egg has dropped into place where the semen can reach it. The exact details of how eggs are fertilized and grow into tiny humans is not understood, but that is the basic mechanism.

I am a woman but I do not have eggs because Victor did not put them in me. I am not sure whether or not he could have or whether or not I could get some now and put them inside and then make babies like other women, although I am not like other women, since I’ve been built and never had a child’s body, but only this big one that I was born into. Indeed, what egg could there be to put inside of me but a human egg? And what harm should that have caused? But I do not wish to bear children; I merely note the inconsistency in their logic, unless there’s perhaps some detail I am missing, which is often the case, the world being so full of details.

. . . . .

It is approximately 120 miles from Geneva to the Matterhorn. A fit human could walk it in four days. I, who can move more quickly and require less sleep, could make it in two. However, I seek to lose, not gain time. And for safety, I must travel only at night.

The elevation experiments we’ve long postponed serve as a satisfactory excuse for this excursion, though all who know me cannot be deceived as to its deeper purpose.

A great unsteadiness has grown within, seizing me by the gut. An emotional pain so visceral and sharp that I am very nearly physically overwhelmed and indeed often find myself clutching at my gut, doubled over, face drawn, eyes wincing. Twice I’ve stopped on the way and huddled over myself as when my Protectors violently rejected my overtures, caning me on the hard dirt floor of their humble cottage. I am ashamed by this screaming, gyrating pain; though it is not me or my doing, but rather a wound inflicted from outside of me.

My frame is man enough to feel the burden of sex. The wild confusions, frustrations, lonely longings, animal necessities, heroic battle lunges, and nauseous shames swirl throughout the interior of my bodily extent; and subterranean to these particular grievances works a force of cuddly hope and lustful desperation, pulling the totality towards that most manly of daydreams: to cover a woman’s body with my own and through the caring violence of our encounter resolve and release all my distorted, psychedelically spinning, overlapping and intertwining despondencies, exultations, shames, braggadocios: purify, release, and share all inner turmoils with my lover through a concentrated channel flowing out the center of my hips into the center of hers, from the nexus of my profane yet sacred longings into hers.

When no woman existed to match my stride, a dull acquiescence ruled my baser drives and I felt small, frustrated and lonesome — but in a slight, pettily nagging fashion, away from which I, roaming free in body and mind, could with relative ease redirect my focus. But now the hope of Susan has grown until I am as a dinghy engulfed within a hurricane enraging the open sea. Utterly hopeless and forlorn beneath the weight of my own jumbled and broken passions, I sink to my knees and then roll up into a ball, like a child unable to cope against the indifferent and unkind world.

Who is this Susan? What predicament have I prepared for us? When I return in three months time, she will possess a graduate student’s knowledge of the literary, mathematical, and experimental sciences. Will she know herself? Will her body have had the time to speak to her heart and mind? Will she be able to judge for herself? Rubbish! How can I request from her that modicum of self-fellowship and -knowledge of which I myself cannot, after years of effort, boast?

Humans learn themselves by pushing into each other. And so must it also be with monsters. But in what way and when is it permissible to attempt a connection with Susan? I must wait until her breast is stirred towards my own; but how can I know when she turns towards me with a true and equal ardour? And if it never comes to pass? And is not the process of human courtship more a matter of slowly and by degrees mutually turning towards each other, occasionally inevitably turning a bit past or short of the other’s turning, necessitating a recalibration? I must meet her and befriend her and brave the possibility that I will find myself hopelessly and eternally adrift as her fancies turn askance the scope of my own. And if I overreach? If I lose my way and grab what is not freely given or solicit affections that are not yet ready? What dire consequences will then befall all our happiness and my soul’s stand within itself!

. . . . .

Samuel. There, I’ve written his name. Samuel. There, I’ve said it. I’m what they’ve made me and so Samuel, Samuel, Samuel. Else alone. No deep hug. No one to show me what’s possible, what I have hidden down there. Samuel.

Everyone knows but no one knows. It’s up to me. Everyone hopes but no one dares hope. It’s my decision alone. And now that I am what I am, a configuration and momentum which could not have been fully anticipated by my designers, does he even desire a union with me? He holds himself aloof. His strength and passion are more than a man’s. The other day I sat beside the fountain, leaning back on my arms, sunning my greenish, rubbery, patched-together skin. I saw him from afar. He looked at me, but not as Ernst had. He looked at me like a loaded weapon, like a tiger ready to pounce, but also like a mourner at a funeral, like the captain of a sinking ship, like a man who’d done wrong. I wanted to meet his gaze, to catch his eyes within their thought and ask them to think with me. But I turned towards Justine as if I’d not seen him and when I looked again he was gone.

There’s nothing metaphysical here. Merely the threads of animal passions. And yet they seem to weave a tunnel to the heavens. I’m afraid to be wrong, or to be right but to falter and not be caught, respected, believed, loved; and so to end up wrong after all.

. . . . .

“I thank you for consenting to this walk with me, Susan.”

“But of course, Samuel! I’m only too happy for your company!”

“Thank you, your sentiments are very gratifying.”

The conversation pauses as the giant couple flows together through the rectangular rose garden, forty yards wide, and 70 yards long; enclosed on both sides by wood slat trellises covered in red and pink climbing roses, and front and back by similarly festooned arbors over cement patios. The garden itself houses about a hundred bushes, arranged in neat rows with close-hewn lawn between them.

“Your studies are advancing remarkably well. I was quite impressed by the proof you advanced on the irrationality of the non-square integers.”

“Oh, yes, thank you. It is not as eloquent as Euclid’s, but I thought it interesting to demonstrate the same result from a different starting point.”

“Yes, quite. And you do yourself a disservice in the comparison. I found your treatment concise and effective — the tip of an iceberg, including just enough logic to open the mind to a sweeping panorama of irrefutable proof.”

Susan’s lips squish together and forward, curving up every so slightly on the ends as she tilts her head a little forward and to one side, shrugging her shoulders also a tad forward.

They stop to admire a white rose bush, still damp with morning’s dew, though yielding now to the irrepressible June sunlight.

“I wanted to tell you again how much I prize your “Prometheus”. I read it twice over last night, once aloud and once in silence. I find in your version a more alive and sympathetic Prometheus than I’ve otherwise encountered, though the subject is oft and skillfully handled.”


Samuel, nearly choking on the largeness and depth of her compliment to a work in which he had revealed so much of his own inner struggles, bows his head and walks now more slowly, with heavy, secretly unsteady feet.

“Yes, what I find compelling in your Prometheus is that he admits that he has chosen to benefit mankind not merely out of pity but also out of love, out of his joy in his fellowship with mortals. It is perhaps not an attitude befitting a classical god, but it feels to me closer to the truth of things.”

“Oh, yes, well, I, then again, you see, these themes are reinterpreted anew by each succeeding generation, and so, what would seem unseemly to an ancient would of course to us perhaps seem seemly, and then, well, there’s each individual’s, and, I thank you for your kind words, please forgive me my unpreparedness.”

“What I find so engaging in the piece is my sense that you’ve put so much of yourself there, that by reading your verse I discover pieces of you that you normally keep to yourself.”

“Yes. I. I certainly would. Uh. That maneuver is fundamental to the arts, and, that you, it is certainly most kind for you to say these things right now in the garden in the morning light.”

Susan turns her head over and up and smiles softly as she peers into his overawed, fumbling eyes. “You must know how I feel”, he stammered.

“Yes,” she replied, “I must, and indeed I do. Yet still you must tell me, if we’re to make it real.”

. . . . .

What is this longing? What is this shame? What is this distance that must be crossed? What is this mistake in the crook of my gut? How to stand up within myself? How to know who to try? Who to let know? And how to let someone know what I don’t rightly know myself? So tired. Like a child dying in the desert sand, falling to his tiny knees, tumbling forward into the hot swirling sands. Thirst, exhaustion, discombobulation, lost and not found in time. Ferried home by the round-bellied desert sparrow and the flick-tailed skink. Taken up by the Great God, if there be a Great God, and not merely this rushing wind with the sand grains hurrying headlong, tripping over one another, spilling, spinning, sprawling and spraying forward.

Author: Bartleby Willard
Editor: Amble Whistletown
Copyright: Andrew Mackenzie Watson

[Fixing Frankenstein chapters]

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