Jacqueline Koay
How does a woman tell a man that he is the love of her life?

I was 41 when I met Dante, and had lived a full life before he walked into my world. No, I wasn’t looking for someone to be inspired by, to experiment with or to share my life with. For did my religion not preach finding completeness in oneself, to be happy with what we have already been blessed with and to rejoice in the present? And I was truly, genuinely happy and fulfilled with my life of five beautiful children, a lovely home and a strong direction.

But Dante - a vision of soft dark-blond hair, blue Italian eyes and thousand megawatt smile - walked off a boat, across a flimsy wooden bridge onto a private island in the Javanese Sea, coordinates S 05°35.884’E 106°33.007', and changed my life irrevocably. Dante, Dante. Oh, how did I live for so long without being so deeply touched, without being so completely set ablaze by passion, without ever experiencing such inferno? How did I ever emerge from maidenhood without wanting a man as much as I want Dante?

36 years old and so beautiful to me. There is an intensity in our relationship that was born out of the fact that for Dante and I, there was only each other, no one else. “You are mine and I am yours”, he said, and those words shaped my feelings for him. I was mad for Dante, still am, and will always be. But the physical passion overtook everything else, including the all-important relationship-building, to the extent that we end up becoming two strangers who love each other helplessly across a chasm.

And so here we are now, in Vigilius. To build a bridge. How can I reach Dante with words instead of my body? I have never been good with words (strange thing for a writer to say). And somehow, we never found the time or the inclination to talk. The hunger in our bodies overrides everything, incinerates everything.

And now, looking at Dante as he sleeps so deeply in the peaceful environs of Vigilius (having just returned from The Five Tibetans exercise class despite suffering from flu), a flash of clarity sparked through me. I realize that I will never be able to find the words to talk to Dante – he overwhelms me so completely that I can only respond to him at some deep primal level, never with the superficiality of the spoken word. And so, as he sleeps, I do the next best thing: I pull him close to me, stroke his hair and love him with the gentleness of my touch. Dante, I love you so much, so much, so much.
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