Staring at the page, I wonder how to make sense of of all that has happened, all that is happening. I find myself chewing the end of my pen, and pull it away from my mouth in disgust. I had been sure I had cured myself of that little habit, bt apparently not. Judging from the number of marks and the rough feel of the end I had been doing it much more recently than I had noticed.
Things have not gone as expected.
That is one heck of an understatement. Staring at the black words on the stark page I feel my mind grasping, trying to process just how everything had gotten so out of control. What had happened to my careful plans?
It was all about her. She was the one thing that had twisted all my plans, made everything go awry.
I hastily scratch out the last sentence, glaring down at the page as though it is somehow to blame. It isn't, of course, but it would be nice if I could place the blame on the paper rather than on things that I could not control. Like her.
She was supposed to be a job, but I knew from the moment I first studied her that she might, just maybe, be more. I mentioned that before. The only question is just what more she could be. She could prove to be my salvation, the one thing I never thought I would find. Or she could prove to be my utter damnation, the thing I have come to fear most.
I tap the end of the pen on the page, having learned not to tap the tip before when I marred a page with a couple large ink stains, then wince as I have to wipe away a small spot of dampness that I am fairly certain is saliva. I really need to stop chewing on my pen.
Perhaps it is unfair to blame it all on her. The best laid plans and all that. It just seems easier to blame her.
Introspective. I can't help a disgusted snort as I look at what I have written so far. What happened to my plan to write a journal telling my side of the story? What happened to all my intentions to share things that matter with the world? Instead I am reduced to whining about a woman and how she has managed to give me the chance to make an utter fool of myself. I admit it, I am to blame. She has done nothing to make me be a fool, nothing to ruin my plans aside from not going along with them. Not surprising, since she knows nothing of them. I think I want to keep it that way. I am fairly certain she would not react well.
I began the temptation last night. I had studied her for a few days, tried to find ways that I could test her, offer her something she desired to see just how far astray she could go. Last night, I appeared in her dream.
Fairly standard deal, actually. All those dream analysis books had made things so easy. No longer did people see portents and omens, instead they saw their mind trying to cope with something. They took it all in, absorbing everything we present to them ("we" being those in my department) and claiming it as their own. What better way to begin a temptation than to plant an idea in a person's mind?
Or so I thought. Then I found myself in her dream and suddenly I worried that I was the one being tempted. She was dreaming of a club, a man on stage singing. So I slipped myself inside that hazy figure and I made it all so real. It became all too real for me. While she dreamed I learned to long for her.
I cross out the last sentence, considering banging my head on the desk. Just when did I get so poetic and maudlin? When did I start to sound either like a sappy love song or a badly-written romance novel? Ah yes. About the same time I met her. About the same time certain thoughts entered my mind. Thoughts about her.
If the one in charge could make a mistake, I have to think that the mistake might just be this assignment. Someone else should have been given the task. I am not sure I can complete it.
The truth, written there in blank ink on a white page. Stark. For the first time I find myself seriously considering refusing to fulfill my duties. I find myself considering what might come of trying to resign my position. For the first time, I do not think I can tempt this woman without losing a piece of myself.
Now, I admit you might think that I must have encountered assignments before that I found troublesome or unappealing. I admit that tempting Job was not one of my favourite periods. I even admit that I have done some of things of which I am accused and convicted in the minds of humanity. I have been the instigator of attrocities, of death and violence, hatred and pain. Then again, the majority of those things humans find so appalling are the result of human ingenuity and have nothing to do with me or mine. I have wished to refuse before, but at the same time I always accepted that it was the requirement of free will that it be given the chance to choose.
The thought that she might choose wrongly, because of me, is the most frightening thing I can imagine. Should she do so, the consequences for her would be painful. Redemption is always a possibility, but once a human damns themself it is highly unlikely they will accept such grace. That is the truth of the matter. Hell is of a mortal's own making because the hell they imagine is far worse than any thing another being could devise.
Looking at the words, I have to wonder if humans are ready to face such realities. Perhaps in this day and age they are prepared, or at least close to being ready. Ready to face divinity that does not require them to suffer if they but accept their choices and seek to become better, to choose more wisely. Then again, accepting responsibility is not high on the list of thing people want to do. Just look at the news. Everything is to be blamed on someone else, everything must have a cause other than "I" or "me."
In her dreams I found myself singing to her as I stood on the stage, calling her name and summoning her to me. And she came. As I stood in the spotlight, knowing exactly where she was in the darkness before me, I found myself choosing to go to her instead. She resisted, and I could not accept it. I could not acceed to her choice, her confusion that I could possibly be calling to her. She is utterly unique, and knows it, and yet it does not bring her to place herself above others. She waited for me.
Ah, the look in her eyes when she saw me. When she heard me speak her name. I let my eyes close and draw in a deep breath, savouring that look. She looked at me, and in her eyes I saw reflected the potential for glory and wonder. She saw me not for the things she could do with my body, or the things I could do with her, not for the fame I represented, the wealth and power. She saw me simply as a man. I have never had a woman see me that way before. Never in the thousands of years I have done as my contract bids.
Perhaps the laugh is on me and I am mistaken about just whose temptation this truly is. I begin to suspect that a game is afoot, and I am becoming the man in the labyrinth; one way leads to redemption, the other to my own damnation. The only question is which way is which.