Et Noctium Phantasmata

Leonard could tell that I was upset at yesterday’s sitting. We were putting the finishing touches to our latest portrait (which now has the title 'Muse Cornered by Books') so that we can make a start on the painting that he described in his controversial last postcard and he was constantly fiddling with my clothing, tucking my hair behind my ears and making a number of adjustments to my positioning throughout the afternoon. Either he couldn't quite find the correct position from which to continue or it was his awkward attempt at making human contact in order to reassure me. He commented, in a deliberately offhand manner and without breaking concentration from his canvas, that I looked tired and I told him that I am experiencing difficulty sleeping at night. Luke was present when I made this remark and Luke knows full well why I am not getting any sleep. Although Luke is making admirable efforts to defend me from my night terrors, he has seen the marks on my body and he knows that I am suffering (these marks are smaller than the ones that I am accustomed to and they take much longer to heal, which means that finding suitably concealing clothing in this hot weather is proving to be an absolute nightmare).

Leonard considered my admission of insomnia to be some kind of challenge and he dashed off into the kitchen to cram a huge amount of herbal teabags into a Tupperware container for me to take home (predominantly camomile and valerian from what I can tell, but also a fair amount of home-made Melissa Tea). He then hurried back into the workroom, plugged in the hi-fi system and skipped through a cassette tape to find a chant called ‘Te Lucis Ante Terminum’ which he recommended as particularly useful ‘to help one to drift off to sleep when the mind is racing with fears and fanciful ideas'. The melody of the chant was very beautiful and I found the words to be particularly comforting. In fact Leonard suggested that I recite the words to myself each night before going to bed and he dictated them to me so that I could copy them into my notebook.

When I came to leave the house at the end of the afternoon, Luke stopped me by the front door and he gave me a long, reassuring hug. We held each other silently and for a second I thought that we would have another moment together - I even instigated the opening stages in the hope that it would relieve my sadness and help me to feel better, if only for a short while. But instead he released his hold on me, reached across to retrieve something hidden at the foot of the stairs and presented me with the largest red rose that I have ever seen. It was beautiful and I thanked him for it, but rather than share in my affections he spoke with a cold and impersonal tone and he told me to take the rose home (no matter what Alex thought of it) and read the chapter on deification in The Omega Course and find a way to keep it alive. He said that I must learn that ‘faith is harder to keep alive than life itself'. It was an intriguing instruction, but Luke clearly believes that I am capable of it. And so I will try.