Iron Behind the Velvet ~ chapter 57

As Kindly as Moonlight Might Search the Dark 1

The quilts were folded on the chest at the foot of the bed, the bolsters and cushions piled high against the headboard. Sheets and pillowcases she’d stripped from the mattress and bundled with their towels in the wicker basket Vincent brought up from the bathing chamber. Tidy enough, she determined, pausing to plumb the beveled cheval mirror. Oval, mahogany, inlaid, with oak-leaf carvings and lion’s claw feet ... beautiful More so, the two of us reflected in it. A star of memory rose. There were no words. No words billowing enough for the pleasure that suffused and warmed her.2 Such wild love.

wrought iron candle stand with lit candles
In reluctant circuit of the bedchamber, she snuffed the candles save those bright-burning in one tall, wrought-iron stand, leaving the full hamper just inside the doorway. Liz would be along later – to put the room to rights, as she’d phrased it – on her way to ready another suite farther down the corridor. Last night, on their journey below, while Eimear lagged mesmerized by the reflection of stars in a still, black-water pool, Vincent had whisperingly told her of Kanin’s return to Olivia, of the invitation he would tender, his wishful dream to bring his family north. The public exposure of a move, its awaited – and likely debated – outcome ... Olivia’s answer might be slow-coming if she considered the possibility at all. Privacy was a nebulous thing, even in a community with doors. Regarding the occupancy of the room she would prepare, regardless of her long affection for Olivia, Liz had named no names. Both of them circumspect, their knowledge of Kanin’s fragile and pending proposal a confidence to be honored, they’d exchanged a glance in understanding, and Liz, gesturing to the perfumed blossom on the dresser, had asked only for her opinion. “Peonies, do you think? Or maybe tulips?” Her answer had been quick and sure. “Lilacs, if you can find them.” The guest lodgings, surely as enchanting as these, were rooms Olivia would – hopefully – love.  

Seated on the footstool in the ante-room, bent over his knees, Vincent knotted his boot laces. One had snapped when he pulled it tight, and he’d spent some concentrated minutes splicing and rethreading the cord only to have it break a second time. Now he coaxed the nearly-too-short string through the brass eyelets. Both boots were wearing down at the heels, she noted, the toes crosshatched with abrasions. Though he regularly rubbed them with neatsfoot oil, the leathers soft as moccasins, the left was newly split at the bend of his ankle. Others might pitch the offending shoes to the back of the closet and grab up another pair, might simply venture out to acquire something new-enough from Goodwill or Ladies of Charity. Not so easy for Vincent, his fit was ... specific, his spares in his trunk a three-hour walk away.

She’d read ... something while she waited somewhere ... a magazine left on a bench at the Queens precinct. Tactical Gear, was it? Duty boots, she remembered. Heel cups and toe guards, flex grooves for tractionBoot strings made from parachute cord. Surely they’d bear the stresses of his work. Why have I never thought to– She couldn’t imagine he’d be able to tell her his size. Shoes later. Laces for now. Once above, she’d check the phone book for an army surplus store, an outdoor gear shop. Eimear would know of one nearby, or Flynn ...

A curtain of red and gold hid his face, but she saw the strands ripple, heard his puff of frustration. Not so easy, the balance he enforced. He made it look so, though she knew better. Rarely did he allow his annoyances, his wishes-otherwise, to show. But she would be his safe place and he was learning.

She swept back his hair, gathered it up. He straightened and sighed and, as she worked her fingers into the mass at his nape, along his scalp, tipped the weight of his head into her hands. Tangles. Snarls. Did he simply rake his nails through after a swim and call it done? How had he ever managed without her? But now there was no time for her turn with the comb.

Her palms rested on his shoulders, she stroked the tendons of his neck with her thumbs. The layers he wore could not contain his enticing warmth. “Are you ready to go?” she asked.

“No,” he answered. “But ... yes.”

His cloak was draped over the back of a chair. She scooped it up. “I borrowed this earlier,” she told him.

Close-up of Vincent's face
“I remember.” His resigned expression recast itself, became – briefly – soft and tender, then grave as she passed him the garment. Then ... guarded.

“There’s a rip,” she said. “More than one actually. A lot of mends.” A hesitancy fluttered up, one she couldn’t place, couldn’t own. In her mind’s eye ... a flash ... another, another, then nothing more, but in the strobe, she took stumbly steps along a narrow, rock-strewn path, a cold sense of plunge to either side. “There’s no fringe, no, umm, decoration,” she went on, despite her uncertain footing. She’d teased him before about the string of bunched trim – the dangly bits, she’d called them – embellishments to his cloak he, flustered by the arch look she cast him and her purposefully smoky tone, couldn’t adequately explain. But this time her attempt to distract him went unrewarded. “I guess it’s an old one,” she finished.

He stared at the pieced panels of brown leather and black wool. The rugged lines framing his mouth deepened. “I’ve worn out several over the years,” he said. “Damaged them beyond repair. Parts from one would be harvested to make another. A second, even a third, is necessary; I ... can’t be without. Some, with service left in them, I packed away, to wear when the work took me to particularly craggy places or on trying journeys. One, I meant to ... ... ... keep. In the rush to leave with the crew, in the urgency, I took it from the shelf of my old wardrobe. I forgot. I ... didn’t think.” After  a moment he settled the cape to his shoulders, the scrubbed-at stain ghostly on the leather patchwork lapel.

“And I didn’t notice,” she replied, “when you left home wearing it or any time since, until last night.” She covered the blotch with her palm. “Then this is ...”  

His hand enveloped hers, holding to the spot. “I’ve not worn this cloak for years, Catherine. Not since that night. I shouldn’t have– I wouldn’t want to remind you.”

On their midnight walks, early on, he’d steered her far from the place she’d tumbled to, claiming it too unsheltered for his liking. A habit now, an agreement unacknowledged and unexamined, but at least once, she realized, he’d chanced the roadside clearing. A few months after her release from the hospital, she’d jogged through the park alone to the bank where they’d shoved her out, determined to reclaim the territory, only to veer away at the last minute overwashed with a gray chill. Hours ago, in the bathing chamber below, upon first spying the discoloration, she’d known a frisson of that same fear. Now she was glad to see it. Gladder than glad. The rust badge was evidence, tangible commemoration of their physical meeting. He forgotI didn’t noticeHow far we’ve both come. The long-hovering shadow-threat faded to a wisp of recollection, was whisked away on a freshet of air through the corridor, as if the deep-centered force of the tunnel world had taken a cleansing breath. At last.

Behind us,Vincent. It’s all behind us. Today is what matters. And tomorrow and tomorrow. We have so much to look forward to. Together ... together, we dwell in possibilities.3

She trapped his fingers in a tight grip“Thank you,” she murmured. “For our beginning. For beginning ... all this.” And with what he must believe, his mindfulness smoothed. He drew her into his arms, returned her kiss, his lips on hers lingeringly grateful, softly promising. Convinced, she was sure. Ready.

Her bag slung from his shoulder, he leaned past her to open the guest chamber’s gleaming door to the passageway. “Oh, wait,” she said. “Something fell out of your pocket. It’s on the dresser.” As she wheeled for the bedroom, out of the corner of her eye, she saw his hand clutch at the fabric at his breast.

Maybe a minute gone, having stopped for one last sniff of the rose-scented white-petaled peony blossoming in its vase, when she returned, the sitting room was empty. She rounded the vestibule, looked to the junction. Thirty feet up passage, he leaned against the tunnel wall, her duffel on a low ledge of stone. Metal-caged oil lamps suspended from the ceiling cast wide circles of light, but he stood in a wedge of thin shadow. Though he didn’t study the floor – instead he watched for her – in more than one way, she worried, he seemed ... braced.

“What is it?” she asked. If he’d been a child, she’d have pressed the back of her hand to his forehead, checked for a sudden fever.

The medal and the silver talisman dangled from the ring she’d hooked her forefinger through; the paper was trapped in her palm. “Something I found inside Eimear’s house,” he said, reaching for the two charms she held out. “The medal I recognize, but the other ...” He rubbed at the engravings on the amulet. “I was drawn to it. It seemed required. I ... meant to give it to her.”

“St. Michael,” she agreed. “The patron saint of the warrior, the protectors. I don’t know the other’s significance. Maybe Eimear will tell us.”


“But that’s not what I meant, Vincent.”

His focus shifted just over her shoulder, but with a slow blink, he returned his gaze to hers. “I know.”

“What’s wrong?” She opened her hand. “Is it this?” She looked down at the cause of his distress. A page torn from a small book, a few typed lines front and back. Its creases were many, the paper soft with repeated unfoldings, but only nights ago, his cloak her pillow, it had been rock-like in his pocket, leaving an imprint on her cheek, she remembered. Without looking at the print, he took it from her, tucked it again to its secret place. Out of sight, he seemed to say, though given his ragged sigh, not out of mind. Not out of mind at all.

Still, he let her in, let her see. Some buried hurt blazed up, dry embers flared with callous wind. Apprehension? Embarrassment? Oh, Vincent. You bear nothing alone now. Nothing. She would stand shelter. Always.

“Did you read it?” he asked.

“I did,” she confessed. “It’s poetry. Rilke.”


“You love his work.”

“I do.”

Catherine looking concerned for Vincent
“But not these poems.” Not long ago, even only days ago, she noted, admitting her small surprise, she’d have had to take his hand to keep him close, cup his chin to turn his face her way. Now he paid only half-attention to a swirl in the dust at his feet. He glanced up at her, his eyes half-lidded. Perhaps he waited only for the fitting question, the key to a long-locked door. “I don’t understand, Vincent.”

“You couldn’t. I’ve never shared ... this.”

“If you’ll tell me, maybe I can help. It is ... only words.”

“And words can never hurt me?”

She had to admit they could. They could wound terribly. Even words written decades before his birth and unaddressed to him could carry a sharp edge of meaning, slip as a knife might, in, in, between his ribs. “But these are old words,” she countered. “You’ve not worn this cloak for three years. They’re words from before, words you’d forgotten you’d put awayDon’t you see? They’ve surprised you. Whatever they meant then, they can’t possibly mean now.” She slipped her hand between his folded arms. I’ll love you through this, whatever it is. Whatever it was

He’d drawn himself taller and broader of stance, whether encouraged by her argument or to resist it, she wasn’t sure. Now he drew in a breath as if to begin the telling.

Voices rose in the intersecting passage, gained pitch ... and waving as they passed, three upper-school-aged girls hurried through the junction, their chatter uninterrupted by the sight of them standing so close, so intently engaged. “You’re kidding, right?” one was asking. “That’s exactly what he said,” another replied. Their ensuing fit of giggles faded away, but the aroma of coffee was suddenly stronger, the dull clatter of dishes, the distant whistle of a kettle no illusion. Only a single, quiet pipe ran the corridor to the rooms they’d used, but three laddered the cross-passageway, brisk with morning announcement. Hollow tolling thuds, trilling pings, the double tap, the triplet ... This was not the place for disclosure. Not the time. As if to underscore that decree, the noise of it nearing, a utility cart bumped and rumbled along, its handler humming. Joyful music, anticipatory. The Mazurka from Coppélia. The community was afoot; the workday begun. She mustered a rueful smile.

He frowned. “This seems a secret now between us, Catherine. I didn’t intend ... ... ... to leave you this way.”

In the coming fraught day, she knew – the lines of poetry would repeat in the background of her mind; she’d parse and dissect, search for meaning, for the connection between the few typeset words and the melancholy in his expression. Too much, for too long he’d confined to a dark place of lonely examination. Already, she’d counted the days until they could resume their life together at home, now she cursed the separating hours. Responsibilities aside, she would stand here – here! – if he needed her. She would hear anything; his voice, calling out to her even in despair, his utter trust, was her great happiness.4 But she understood now – he had to know she did – he took his wrongs and wounds, his regrets, deep inside, unfathomably deep, each with the tight solitude of a seed,5 and only time, time he had the right to determine, would crack open the tough husk-shell. Until then, she would be the necessary light and steady warmth.

His mouth was so deeply, too deeply, turned down; though he searched her face, his eyes were clouded. He struggled so with obligation, with time, with the unexpressed. She’d not allow him contrition, wanted only to offer him reprieve. Until they could be together again – until their Later  – she’d not want him distracted by guilt. Her concern was not burden, her puzzlement not mistrust. “Rilke isn’t Shakespeare,” she murmured, loathe to part from him under suspicion of disappointment or frustration. “Maybe he didn’t know everything.” His brows rose, as ever so slightly he pulled back, his eyes lighting, she determined, she willed, with faith ... at least with curiosity. “But he said one thing you really should believe,” she went on, reaching up to stroke his jaw. The laceration there had paled, its ridge-line nearly undetectable now, to her eye, to her fingertips. “Love consists in this,” she said. “That two solitudes protect and touch and greet each other.6 Privacies aren’t secrets, Vincent. There’s a difference.”

He’d told her months ago; she should have heard him. There’s a place, miles beneath the city – a nameless river that runs through the darkness. Sometimes I go there.

Sometimes, he’d said. More than once. Privacies. He might always have them, she realized – the rubbled under-earth of his visible life.7 And didn’t she have her own? Was everything to be drawn from the shuttered storeroom into the light? There’s a difference. Olivia struggled with Kanin’s lie, his secret, but Kanin’s falsity hurt others, those who loved him, trusted him. Privacies were a personal pain. 

Enough for now. Whenever you’re ready to tell me. Enough, if ever.

Only the briefest stutter of time passed before he caught her hand, pressed first his cheek to her palm, then a kiss to its center, then moved his lips to the bend of her wrist, opened his mouth on her quickening pulse. His eyes fluttered closed and he breathed deeply in and out once, twice, against her skin. No words. No words, only thankfulness in his sigh, apology tempered with promise.

a window into an upper chamber, curtained in flowstone, lit and shining
He bent for her bag and, hand-in-hand, they started for the dining hall. They stepped from the rough-hewn passage into an atrium, its ceiling soaring high. One level up, curtained with flowstone, a window opened to a chamber; through it, lantern light gleamed, opalescent and ivory, cream and pearl, a painterly sunshine spilling out. Behind the calcite draperies, shadows passed, conversation rose and fell, a baby’s wail was soon met with a mother’s crooning song, tones that wooed, no doubt, a toothless smile, a waving fist. Half a dozen corridors rayed off the courtyard; in one laughter rang out. For weeks, since the first evidence of incursion, since the cumulus cloud of the Unknown had threatened, these tunnels had been hushed, Vincent had told her. The society tentative, aware. Kanin’s crossing of the perimeter, his findings, had loosed the community’s self-damped voice, returned a large measure of normalcy to daily life.

She smiled, imagining Eimear’s reaction to the word. Normalcy. Magical, maybe. Astonishing. Mythic. Certainly not ... regular. Far, far from normal. But now, hers.  

Vincent and Catherine walking down a northern tunnels passageThey traversed the plaza, nearing the passage leading to the colony's center. Torchlight flickered along the walls and ceiling, the shadow-dance of foot-traffic and conversation. Still a bend of corridor away, Liz, her accent unmistakable, issued instructions to her housekeeping crew. Her helpers might be twice her age or teenagers, but she bossed them all equally. Once Catherine had compared her to Mary, meaning only that Liz, as caregiver of the northern tunnels, was as able to clean and stitch up a wound as she was to give haircuts, and Vincent had laughed. Bent double and laughed.

He pulled her into the shadowy recess of an outcrop of stone, returned her duffel to the ground. Her hand in his, he passed his thumb back and forth over her knuckles. “I’ll want to hear,” he said.

“About Flynn?”

Um hmm.”

“I don’t know how he’ll take this, how he’ll feel.” Or how I’ll get word to you. An ache of parting lodged beneath her ribs.

I know.”

They shared a long look. “I wonder if Eimear slept at all,” she said.

“I sense in her ... a determination. Great love. She’ll see this through.”

Voices – Liz again, and now, clearly, Wren in answer, an indistinct murmur likely Eimear’s. Soon, he’d take a fork in the tunnel, descend to his work. Soon, Wren would lead her up and out. Too soon, their time together once more measured in minutes, in seconds, it seemed. So much left unsaid.

“Thank you, Vincent, for accepting all this without a question.”

“I have no questions.” His hand pressed at the small of her back; his breath was warm at the curve of her ear, his voice a deep, sultry husk. “I love you.”

I love you. Every time was as the first – as thrilling, as heated, as soft, as bright. Everything gathered, everything gleamed.

“I miss you,” he whispered. “I need you close. If I arrange a room for you, would you come? It’s far from your work, I know, and I am ... required ... levels from here. I might not be able to ... stay with you. We might have no more than an hour every evening–”

“Oh, yes. Yes.” Sweetly he embraced her, and when she pressed closer, crushed her to his chest. She’d have slept pillowless on bedrock had he asked, crossed a dozen rope bridges over plumbless gorges for that single, splendid hour. “Yes.”

Click HERE for Chapter 58


1. John O’Donohue. For MarriageTo Bless the Space Between Us.
2. Mary Oliver. The Sun. New and Selected Poems. 1993. (paraphrased)
3. Emily Dickinson. I Dwell in Possibility.
4. Louise Glück. Sunset (paraphrased).
5. John O’Donohue. For Freedom. To Bless the Space Between Us.
6. Rainer Maria Rilke. Letters to a Young Poet. No. 7.
7. John O’Donohue. For the Unknown Self. To Bless the Space Between Us.


Anonymous said...

Oh Carole! I have greedily waited for this chapter, and every day, hour, minute has been rewarded! This is just splendid -- from the frustration over a broken shoelace, to revelation over the deep meaning attached to the old cloak, to the reclaiming of the spot where Catherine's nearly lifeless body was dumped, to the still-unresolved hurt the Vincent holds over a few lines of Rilke, to the tantalizing possibility of a room in the North community where they can share and hour or two each evening -- such a break-taking portrayal of the many layers of meaning and emotion attached to just one farewell between this extraordinary couple!

Well done! Now, of course, I must have MORE! Bottomless pit here . . .

Regards, Lindariel

Krista said...

Oh, Carole.

There's so much weight to this, the strength of a relationship forged on what seems like simple things---the broken bootstring, a blood-stained cloak, the avoidance of a patch of grass, the meaning of a few lines of poetry. So simple and yet so...not.

(And I laughed---hard---over the "dangly bits." You'll know what visual came to mind and it wasn't the decorations of Vincent's cloak ;))

And I'm with Lindariel--the prospect of them getting some much-needed regular visits in the Northern community really is absolutely tantalizing. And so necessary. How wonderful that Vincent's not trying to go it alone, not anymore.

Great job, again and still.

-Krista :)

Anonymous said...

I'll start the same way-Oh, Carole! I love this chapter! Not a lot of writers are this sensitive to the character of Catherine. You show her being a deep person. She cares for Vincent on so many levels. I like how she recognizes he might always have to go to the nameless river and doesn't get upset about it.

I like how you tied Eimear's reaction to the tunnel world and the idea of what's normal to Catherine's life with Vincent. Not normal at all, but "hers". That line really got to me. I'm so glad Cathy finally has a friend she brought down herself. I hope this isn't the last story Eimear is in.

I'll be like Catherine until the next chapter, wondering what those poems mean. We don't even know which Rilke poems are causing the problem. Part of me hopes you'll tell us soon and another part wonders if it is something Vincent should keep to himself.

You really do use some lovely phrases in your writing. I like how you work in poetry quotations too. I don't know if anybody else does this, but I look up all your footnotes. Thank you for sending me to some poetry I've never read.

Your friend and fan

PS: I'm as bottomless as Lindariel! Can't wait for what comes next.

Brenda K said...


Interesting contradictions in the keeping/secreting of the cloak worn the night of Catherine's rescue. If kept as a nostalgic memento, why clean the bloodstain? If it was cleaned for continued normal use, and not retired to storage till it was too worn out, why the qualms about reusing it now? Was it retired and secreted before those first 8 months had gone by? Had Catherine never seen that particular cloak again till now?

I didn't mean to play Sherlock Holmes, or even Sigmund Freud. Of more interest to me was noting the difference in distances Above and Below -- the North is a far trek for the tunnel-dwellers -- a summer sojourn, a business trip out of town. For those Above, it's simply a daily commute in a different direction. The distinction lends to the sense of Faerie in coming Below, even for a visit - time passes oddly, and distance looms according to its own arcane measurements.

Also a deeply perceptive distinction made between secrets (which damage) and privacies (which protect) -- and the depth of trust and faith it takes for two people to properly distinguish between them. It's too easy, and too common to equate intimacy with total transparency, and destroy the good when you find it impossible to achieve or maintain. And Vincent has depths of such unique opacity as to demand a level of patience and understanding that would tax a saint. Marriage is an adjustment for anyone, but for Catherine, the shifts it is requiring are almost a remake of everything she was.

Carole W said...

Lindariel, you're good for my spirits. I'm glad you enjoyed this chapter. I'd hoped to create a layered story - one that holds together, of course - and you've given me encouragement in that.

I guess it was kind of a long goodbye. Luckily time (as Brenda notes in her comment) has a magical quality below. Normal folk couldn't squeeze so much in and how long has it been since Catherine had a good night's sleep?!

Thank you so much for reading and for being such a good friend to me in this writing endeavor.


Carole W said...

Krista, heh heh. Dangly bits. Those sausages hanging off his cloak make me giggle - for exactly the same reason you laughed.

I do think Vincent will come to recognize he was a different person when he visited the northern tunnels as a boy. Whether V and C have simply a holiday house there or if something more momentous might occur is a subject for a future story, but since Eimear lives there, it stands to reason V and C will be visiting the Bronx more frequently than V had in the past. Who knows what all might happen?! But for now, no more long V/C separations! It's a lot more fun to write them together. Responsibilities Above and Below will manifest though. Lots of story to come yet.

Thank you for reading and for your kind encouragement.


Carole W said...

Hi, Annabella! It's nice to hear from you. You are so kind and generous - Thank you.

You know, I don't think I really had control of that analogy of normalcy and Eimear and Catherine. I'd like to think it was subconscious rather than luck, and now that I look at it, the concept of not normal but "hers" does apply to Catherine. Thank you for seeing this in the story!

I've discovered so much poetry thanks to this fandom. I always liked it, but out of school (for years), it wasn't something I pursued. Now I'm just ravenous for it. Many of the poems I've referenced are newer than the setting of the story, contemporary poets, but I do love finding lines that fit. Rilke has always been one of my favorites, though. I promise to shed light on the poems in the next chapter.

Thanks for liking the story from Catherine's point of view. I've always liked her, always wanted to know her better.

Again, thank you for reading and for sharing your thoughts. It really does make a difference.


Carole W said...

Hi Brenda - good questions! You've been reading my mind again! A detailed explanation of the cleaning of the bloodstain and the decision to put the cloak away is coming in the next chapter. Vincent has a rather long and solitary walk to work and he'll have some alone time strapped in a rope harness working on a ladder installation. He'll have plenty of time to think things over and flashback a time or two.

Without giving too much away, I will tell you that V (or someone) tried to wash away the bloodstains right after he brought Catherine below and that happened before he made the decision to keep the cloak and not wear it again. That decision - or feeling of necessariness – to keep it came during the 10 days Catherine was in his room in his care. So it wasn't ever returned to use - and no, Catherine hadn't seen that particular cloak before. She was bandaged for days, remember, and saw nothing until that last hour. She'd not have known which cloak he'd worn when he rescued her.

Also, none of this cloak business is canon. I'm making it totally up. He did have more than one cloak design in the episodes and it just seems reasonable to me that he'd have had several over the years.

I like how you worded the difference between secrets and privacy. And you've totally nailed the challenges Catherine faces loving Vincent. That's so well said.

Luckily, below, and in this story, time is a fanciful thing. Lots and lots of license played with reality! :-)

V has to walk everywhere, even if the other Below-ers could take the subway if they wanted - and ride inside it! But again, you've described the distance differences up top and below just right - it's more than just miles.

Thanks for reading, Brenda. I promise to answer all your questions in the next chapter - at least those you've asked me here!


Carole W said...

Brenda - I was pretty sleepy when I answered your comment last night. Let me make sure I did it as thoroughly as I can without giving away the next chapter:

1. If kept as a nostalgic memento, why clean the bloodstain? He (or someone else) cleaned the bloodstains before he realized he would be keeping the cloak for emotional reasons and not wearing it again.

2.If it was cleaned for continued normal use, and not retired to storage till it was too worn out, why the qualms about reusing it now? It was ostensibly cleaned so he could use it again, but it's clear in this chapter, he never did.

3. Was it retired and secreted before those first 8 months had gone by? I don't think it's disclosing too much of what's to come to say he came to the decision not to wear it again during or very soon after the 10 days Catherine was with him below after her attack.

4. Had Catherine never seen that particular cloak again till now? In an earlier chapter, when she was sleeping on it in camp and the wadded note made an imprint on her cheek, she recognized the cloak as not his regular one, but didn't get any particular vibes off it then, even though Vincent was acting a little weirded out (back in the 30's chapters - can't exactly remember now) They're likely very similar in design and who knows how many he's had over the years. Plus, Catherine is new to living with Vincent. She doesn't yet know all his stuff - there's so much of it! They have so much to discover yet. As she said, she didn't notice the stain when he left the first time or when she saw it in camp. For some reason, she saw it this time. ;-)

Hope that's better.

Okay - off to whip this part of the story into shape!

RomanticOne said...

It's so nice to see Vincent and Catherine finally slipping into a daily routine of things like a broken shoestring or just general conversation. I think privacies are what keep us individuals when we are part of a relationship. They are not harmful, like secrets, but just a part of who we are. I think it keeps life interesting when we gradually learn about the person we love. I have been married for 32 years and still am occasionally surprised by some neat thing my husband does or says. Last, but not least, I love long goodbyes. :)

Carole W said...

Hi, R-1! I'm with you - it's wonderful to keep finding out things. Today is my anniversary - 22 years of good, good times. I haven't heard all his stories yet! And he hasn't heard mine. Some, we probably are just as well off not hearing, and all I know for sure, is whatever I know and whatever I don't know, he's a good man and I'm happy and all those things went in to making him who he was when I met him and who he is today.

C and V have had their share of angst. I want them to relax with each other, knowing the strength of their commitment allows that. V certainly has some relaxing to do, but so does Catherine, for years doing things she felt she was expected to do. I'm looking forward to those moments of ahhh balancing out the issues that still face them.

I'm glad you liked the long goodbye. :-)

Thanks for reading and being such an encouraging friend to me.


Brenda K said...

Oh my goodness, Carole! I didn't mean to channel Miss Marple on you! I had surmised most of your answers, but it did not occur to me than someone other than Vincent might have cleaned the cloak without asking him first.

It's been clear throughout the episodes that there was more than one cloak in use, so I don't think you're taking too many liberties with canon here.

Vincent's privacies have all his life been nearly indistinguishable from secrets -- and only Father was ever close enough for the difference to even matter, until Catherine. But the line drawn between secrets and privacies with a parent is qualitatively diametric to the boundaries set with a lover. And Vincent is more difficult than most people because so much of his mysteries are secrets even from himself. In an odd inversion, Vincent's veritable desperation for physical intimacy with Catherine -- even in small snippets of time -- almost seems to be his way of compensating for the secrets of soul he has not yet disentangled enough to share with her. The hunger to compensate for what he still feels compelled to conceal must be crazy-making at times.

OKGoode said...

Mmmmmm, Carole! Finally getting this read here as the sun comes up and the coffee begins to hit my system. No way do I yet, in my pre-caffeinated state, have words to say how good - how VERY good! - this is!

I love what you're doing with the cloaks and the Rilke here, and anxiously await where you take me next. I'm going to be perusing Rilke now to try to guess where you're leading us! And I sigh that he *asks* her to be there, that's he's now able to ask for this.

Beautiful! Both the story and you!


Carole W said...

Thank you, Laura. Thank you for reading and for liking the chapter and for your support and interest. You really made my morning.

You know, I had the Rilke poems and the scenes built around them in my mind before I ever wrote a word of this story. I've been trying to get here for 4 years! Good gravy!!!

It seems a baby step, Vincent asking for things. I'm cheering for him though.


Vicky said...

Oh, God, oh I so love this chapter! There is so much in it I can't really fit my thoughts and feelings about it in a comment, because I'll be pondering it for quite a while. (I have more feelings than thoughts though).
Just when I thought I knew where we were going...a new tunnel ahead, a new mistery! Before... what happened before? I'm dying to see that poem and figure out its meaning! After all, that cloak holds another life, "Mine was another life before Catherine. I'm changed...forever!"
Privacies aren't secrets. I don't think I can ever forget this line.
I melted and sighed with the hand, the kiss...
I'm in love with the little things in their journey.
Oh, and the asking at the end, the asking! Go, Vincent!

Anonymous said...

Stopping in here on my re-re-reading journey, and I was particularly struck by this lovely passage:

"But she understood now – he had to know she did – he took his wrongs and wounds, his regrets, deep inside, unfathomably deep, each with the tight solitude of a seed, and only time, time he had the right to determine, would crack open the tough husk-shell. Until then, she would be the necessary light and steady warmth."

I love the metaphor of the seed that works so perfectly here, combined with Catherine's sensitivity to Vincent's manner of working through a problem. He requires solitude, contemplation, and the right to CHOOSE when he is ready to share his wounds with her and seek her comfort and understanding. We see Eimear expressing this same understanding for Flynn in your later chapters.

Again, I marvel at the strength, understanding, and forebearance of these two amazing women. It is so difficult to walk that fine line, to know when to reach out and when simply to stand close enough so that the chasm isn't too wide for that leap of faith.

Regards, Lindariel