It was the most painful experience of her life, she thought.
It wasn’t the physical effort, or even the ripping burning torture of the labor. It was, she mused, laying still and white, the very exhaustion itself that drained her. It was the demolishing of her defenses, the shambles of her walls that made her ache with vulnerability. It was a conscious decision, was it not? She wasn’t aware of making it, and yet . . . Life had become agony, a morass of twisting tortuous paths. What was love but suffering? How could such beauty and glory welcome in such infernal anguish? How was it that the supposed epitome of joy and strength gave such mortal pain? That damned sacrifice; the blessed, holy, sacred anguish that made actual life a pale ghostly thing – that was love. She almost longed for the real slipperiness of physical blood, rather that this muddy, cloudy darkening of the heart – the heart overshadowed by the vast scape of the soul. Lost in the lovely shadowy darkness . . . . going gaily in the dark. Love is . . . . well, if not hell, then mostly purgatory and death. Hell hell hell and growing things.
Not feathery things, growing things. For it would grow; she was certain. What foolish glory . . . It was already a monster beyond her control, and it would grow into a seraph. That crunchy, silty, meticulous thing: love. With feverishly limp hands she held that initiate to hell and death. Oh the glory, the agony, the fire, world without end. That was the livid, wintry passion with which love took her over.
It was, she reflected, the most excruciating experience of her life.