This is all Deb Chilson's fault.
She dared me
Sometimes I think he guesses that I hate him. Other times, I think he's oblivious. After all, he has what he wants.
Or, at least now, he does.
If you love, if you genuinely love, you can't hate. Because everything else on this earth has something in common with what you love. Breathes the same air. Made up of atoms and molecules that are just the same as the ones in the thing or person you love, or exists in the same universe of concepts as the ideal you love. That kind of love casts out any kind of hate.
And the reverse is the same. If you truly hate, anything with even an element of similarity is contorted by that, no matter how much you would otherwise love it.
I've had to teach my son how to love without feeling it myself. Under other circumstances, I would have loved him with all my heart, I know that much. But like the shadows of reality that Plato described, saying that we are crouching in a cave, seeing only, flickering against its walls, the shadows of the true reality outside the cave, I can give him only the reflection of love, an imitation. At least, he accepts that as the reality.
I wonder if it will be enough. I fear that it won't, that his capacity to love and be loved, once he is free, will be stunted.
My husband's arm lies across me in a careless gesture of possession, fingers splayed across my once-swollen belly. At times, even in his sleep, his fingers repeat that incessant stroking gesture, from when he could feel the new life in there, and he was greedy to feel it in his own hands, for it to become wholly his, without the intermediary of my skin, my body.
Not that he has found my body repulsive. Far from it. I thought that he had manoeuvered us into this position just to acquire the patents, the business, the intellectual capital. That was why I was far less concerned than my father about the trap wound around us. We'd sell him the business, with all its patents, live on those funds while I researched more, enough to create new ideas to draw enough capital to start another business.
But then I came to that first meeting, and saw how hot and avid his eyes were, the acquisitive glint mingling with another kind of desire for power and possession. Oh, it was another part of the business plan: Acquire not just the company but the researcher, the theorist, the brains behind it. The veneer of civilization lies thinnest at the bottom and top of the world of wealth. It's no coincidence that he owns castles and builds great towers. I was acquired as part of the deal, as much as the Grecian commanders acquired the women of Troy as spoils of war, but in contracts signed in ink rather than splotched in blood on the burning streets. He had it clear that refusal would mean enmity, and we understood what his enmity meant.
Some of the women gave in tamely. Others only feigned it, and struck back. Illia and Hecuba. They avenged themselves by killing their captors' sons.
My methods were more subtle. I taught his son to love theory, experimentation, the speculative sides of science. It came naturally to him and countered his father's emphasis on business and practicality. That, I could do more or less overtly, letting disdain for his father's approach seep in. The other lessons I taught were more subtle and far more damaging over the long run. I taught him to need love from his father, who would never give it to him. Even though he has largely shed what I taught him about God, the idea that there is more than worldly success remains, as has a moral code. I taught him to care about people, to value friends, to feel love. I brought Pamela into the household to love him and be loved by him, knowing that Lionel would resent her influence and, sooner or later, find a way to get rid of her. Another wrong that Lex would feel deeply.
I've taken Lex away from him as best I can.
But now, there is Julian. And while I don't know if he is aware of my influence, he is dissatisfied with Lex and intends to be much more in Julian's life than he was in Lex's. I don't know that I'll be able to do the same with Julian.
So I will have to take him away, as well.
But in such a way that Lionel will never reclaim him.
Hatred demands action as much as love.
So I get up at the sleepy cry and soothe my son back to sleep, feeding and rocking him until his tiny, round face is placid again. And then, still murmuring reassurances, still rocking and comforting, I place a hand that doesn't shake on his mouth and nose until I can feel the life has gone from his body, and I return to Lionel's bed.
In the morning, he will realize what he has lost. I wonder--without particularly caring--if he will know how and why, and what he will do with that knowledge.
But in the meantime, I savor a moment of triumph.
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