The Lost Prince (part 22)

Did you see me through her eyes, beloved? Did you see the pain you had caused me by leaving? Or perhaps you were as oblivious to her as she was to you. I like to hope you would have come back if you had known how it hurt me to see a stranger in your body. But hope is not belief.

In the months and years you did not return, I grew to know you better than I ever had while you were here. When I finally understood, I wept for the suffering that had brought you to me. But selfishly I could not wish it otherwise. Even knowing how short our time together was, I would not sacrifice it. For a long time I blamed the stranger for taking you from me. But you have not been her prisoner all this time. Indeed, it seems at times the opposite has been the case. I will not blame you for seizing back your life. But what have you done with it? You could have returned to me, had you wanted to. I thought we were happy together. Were you happy, or simply waiting for something better to come along?

Did you borrow her beauty, beloved, or she yours? Such distinctions no longer matter, if they ever did. You need it no longer. May she have better luck with it than you did. Whatever lies ahead of her, she will face it without you. You cannot undermine her plans. You cannot steal her pleasures, nor shield her from her pains. And soon enough, she will die. Perhaps you will meet in the hereafter, you with your body and she with hers. Perhaps then, when you no longer need to fight for control, you can finally make peace with one another.

But for now, once again it is you who have come to me and she who will be leaving. Seeing your beauty on her face, I wish I could make her stay. But she is not you. She does not know me, nor I her. She may have taken you from me once, but before that she brought you to me, and for that I am thankful. I am thankful that she led me to see the truth that she does not suspect herself. And I will repay her the only way I know how: by freeing her to walk the rest of her path alone.

Farewell, beloved.


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