I entered into him as into a rose garden. Young and spoiled, fluttering my black tides, my hair undone, my dance unfolding into the evening maze which was his. Easy the way out, I thought back then, I will teach the garden to surrender, the thorns to be soft on my thighs, the scents to need me, the time to be good and behave. And look at me, look at me now, after so many years, you who sit out there at your small tables and eat your dinners and make love to your wives and put your children to bed, all that quiet breathing in and out of 'life', or what you have decided to call as such. Barely alive, my dance folded back into the evening maze which is still his, I wait for the garden to let me out, I beg the time to 'resume his course', or what you have decided that time usually does.
There is no such thing as a merciful rose, I have learned, I who had thought to be the teacher, the imperial sister, the courtesan with the cruelest smile. He forgets that I am still there, I am sure of it. Only at times, when he talks matter-of-factly about the autumn of his soul and nobody can make out if he is serious or not, as it often happens, I wonder if he doesn't mean me.