“It was too soon! I’m not ready for you to go.”

“You have to deal with it,” he told me in the halls of the old-school Chelsea Hotel, which we were somehow in, even though the rest of the world was still 2016 and not 1984, again — though this was more the vaguely dystopian 1984 from the film Velvet Goldmine. “Wild-Eyed Boy From Freecloud” was playing over someone’s radio. “They all have to deal with it. It’s what happened, and that’s what people do. Especially people in you position. You have nine years.”

“You and Prince were enough of this! Why do you have to have Peter, too?”

“You can barely compare us, though — Peter hadn’t really made any creative output aside from his image in over fifteen years, and even then, it’d been few and far-between for at least a decade. His flame burned fast and bright, but we were brilliant, and for decades, with careers going back to our teens, image a flash second place to what we could communicate with sound and word. Sure, we all transcended gender in ways very uncomfortable to common people, but… you know.” He almost laughed. “I love him, and I hate saying catty things, but you elevate him with us for the wrong reasons. I’m not saying he’s unimportant, I’m saying you’re giving him more importance than he had for you.”

“I miss you, though.”

“You didn’t know me!” This time, he did laugh. “I know what you mean, though. A lot of people do, especially those like you; the kids who transcended, you lost souls with hearts easily broken, who feel so hard and strong. You need to put in The Work, though.”

“but..!”

“No — just stop. You love me, you want to honour me, then put in The Work.”

“What work?”

“All of it. You’re a creature of senses, you do Work. You work with These,” he held my hands, “with These,” he touched my eyes, “These,” my ears, “This,” my throat, “and This,” my heart. “You do work. You’re far behind where you want to be, but right where you need to be. Just do The Work.”

“I love you.”

“I love you, too. I love you like Apollon has always loved you, since before you knew me, and long before I knew you. I don’t want to be frustrated with you, though. Just do The Work.”

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