The postcard that arrived this morning is one of the most touching correspondences that I have ever received from Leonard. From anyone, if truth be told. It is a simple, blank postcard - no bright artwork on the front this time – and glued to the reverse side is a tiny thumbnail photograph of our finished portrait. Written above and alongside the photograph are the words:
‘Muse cornered by books 76cm x 51cm was the first large drawing of his model, and, up to that time, the best exploratory study. He went on to produce both sculpture and paintings of Helen (in a variety of media), becoming the artist’s ‘muse’ at approximately 3:30pm on Friday 12th December 2003, and from Spring 2004, the main focus of his work. Their friendship was the source of much good work on both sides. Terminat hora diem; terminat tecnicus opus…anyway, take care, muse; you are very much in demand. L.’
This tiny picture - stuck clumsily with thick gloops of glue to a plain and dog-eared postcard - means so much more to me than if Leonard had held the most lavish exhibition in the most prestigious gallery in the entire world. The deep emotions that the card has stirred in me have been surprisingly overwhelming, in fact it made me cry for a while and I'm not normally a crier. But it would take little more than a few kind words from Leonard to trigger my tears given my present emotionally fragile state…
I have tried not to burden you with my troubles, my anonymous reader, but it is becoming difficult to ignore them as they encroach on most aspects of my life now. It feels as though my world is unravelling a little more each day. The night terrors are as frequent as ever, my sleep is rarely unbroken and it is upsetting to entertain the briefest memory of some incidents let alone speak about them. For instance, last night I lay awake in bed and I could feel something small, about the size of a mouse, running up and down inside the mattress. My blood runs ice cold when I recall the sensation of it moving beneath me. But, if I am honest, the day-time is proving to be just as unbearable as the night-time; I hear echoes of chattering voices like an old radio is playing nearby, I answer to calls of my name in the empty hallway at home, there is a constant smell of burning by the kitchen door and I often feel as though I am falling forwards when walking down stairs as though pushed from behind by an unseen force.
The changes to my personality and behaviour are noticeable too: I lose my temper easily with friends, family and even with myself and I fly into violent rages when objects do not comply instantly with my demands or people move too slowly or take too long to make a decision. I consider myself to be a very patient and compassionate person and so this impatient and callous attitude has shocked me the most. People are beginning to frustrate me beyond belief and I fear that I am developing a deep and profound aversion to humanity, but it is not a hatred of life in general because I know, with complete certainty and sombre rationality, that the more minor and inconsequential a life may seem, the more severely God will punish me if I harm it (Luke says that we – and I assume that by ‘we’ he means humanity in general - have ‘a duty of care to the inferior souls and the punishment for neglecting this duty is magnified by the helplessness of our charge'). And the worst part of all is that I suspect that these troubles are merely the calm waters at the opening of a great and terrible crescendo; that these are the birth pangs for a greater torment that is to come. God only knows what is waiting for me just around the corner.
I realise that my suffering is self-inflicted because, under Luke's instruction, I am reading words that should not be read and I am speaking words that should not be spoken, but my love for Luke and my eagerness to learn more from him drives me back to these texts again and again like a crazed addict. I truly believe that Luke’s teachings, my experimentations with the rituals in The Omega Course and my writings on this blog are the root cause of my problems and I suspect that Leonard was right when he said that some secrets should not be revealed and there are unseen powers that will seek to prevent the public revelation of these secrets at all costs. Luke tells me that I have attracted a great deal of interest in this respect (I am not sure from whom) but he has promised that he will protect me and so, on his advice, I am carrying pocketfuls of herbs, reciting a protective charm whenever I feel their presence and I am taking care to avoid thinking about my research when in public places.
Leonard knows that I am struggling and he has commented that I look tired and haunted these days. He is keen for me to take time out to rest and recover and so we have scheduled a series of short breaks consisting of a few days each month (thankfully these breaks fit perfectly with my menstrual cycle, which is a huge relief in terms of both physical discomfort and troublesome costume choices). In an attempt to justify my reluctance to take a 'proper holiday' - whatever Leonard means by that - I pointed out to Leonard that he rarely takes a break from his work, to which he insisted that his frequent trips to London provide a perfectly adequate break and, in addition, he regularly visits his family abroad and he travels to Maryland every fourth week of January to pay his respects to an old friend (unfortunately flying adversely affects his health and he requires a long period of rest on his return). He also mentioned that he accepts invitations to visit people that he has met on his travels and individuals that he has used as a sitter for portraiture, so he is ‘actually quite well rested, thank you’, which made me smile…