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I was my own conquest

She took me home, didn't put on any lights, took off her clothes and had me lie down beside her on what seemed to be a very narrow bed.

I wanted to touch her.

The reflecting image of a woman with a woman is seductive. I enjoyed looking at her in a way that was forbidden to me, this self on self, self as desirer and desired, had a frankness to it I had not been invited to discover. Desiring her I felt my own desirability. It was an act of power, but not power over her. I was my own conquest.

Her breasts as my breasts, her mouth as my mouth, were more than Narcissus hypnotised by his own likeness. Everybody knows how the story changes when he disturbs the water. I did disturb the water and our perfect picture broke. You see, I could have rested there beside her, perhaps forever, it felt like forever .... why then did I trouble the surface?

It was not myself I fell in love with it was her.

I had not expected such intense physical pleasure. It was like a little death: death as Death, Death the Revealer: when she throws back her hood what is it that she uncovers? Her face or ours?

Our faces turned away even when our bodies are turned close. Do I want to look at you, afraid of what I might see? I prefer to look through you, round you, with you --- anything to avoid the intensity and painful depths in one single face. And will you look at me, hood thrown back, vulnerable in the tangles of our fingers and ankles, when I have fastened your arms down tight into my circle?

Death the Revealer in my liquid stare.

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adapted / excerpted from :Jeanette Winterson, "GUT Symmetries" (c) 1997

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