Who was Jeremy? Why did I love him? Why is he such a powerful presence in my life? Why am I so inadequate to the task of describing him?

Jeremy was the eldest son and expected to take on his father’s law practice. There were his younger brother Reginald, and Catherine, the youngest of the three. There were two more siblings, but in the cold mortal calculus of the age they did not survive past early childhood.

He was a good student, but his heart was elsewhere. Jeremy saw the world shrinking before his eyes and he desperately wanted to see it, all of it, before it became commonplace and familiar. He left school, and his father’s good graces, and set off on a twenty-year journey around the world, paying his way with labor, skills and the occasional stipends from his brother. He began with wanderings across the frontier in North America. He joined the fighting in the War of 1812 where he served with distinction in the Northwest Territory before mustering out after the Treaty of Ghent was received in the States. After the war he traveled east, across the Atlantic and North Africa, into the Middle East, then Turkey. He entered India, and then went on into Asia proper, through China and then south to the British colony in Australia. From there he took ship via a rather meandering route to North America, where he ran in to me

Sounds simple, does it not? Consider that many of these lands were dangerous places for white men and Christians. He was on his own for much of that time, and on several occasions he found himself imprisoned, even facing death. Each time by providence or guile or both he managed to find his way to freedom. Never once did he consider ending his trek.

Consider further: in twenty years he saw more of this world than did I in three thousand. No mean feat that. Even our own jaunt across North America was the stuff of popular adventures. Jeremy could have had fame from writing his memoirs, but he did not live his life of adventure to seek out fame or fortune. He needed that time to nourish his soul. To see wonders. To see horrors. To see humanity in all its glory and despair, so that he could finally fully understand himself. And when he had that, when he felt complete, when he was satisfied, that was when he met me.

There I was, deep in my blackest, foulest of spirits, brimming overfull of disdain for men and Man when this confident, energetic, shockingly whole human being knocked on my door having chosen it solely for the fact that my lamp was still lit. I had never met a man like him. Let me repeat and emphasize that last: I had never, in three thousand three hundred and fifty-odd years met a man remotely like Jeremy. He shattered my angry wall of self-pity and cynicism with his courtesy and deference. He was grateful for my willingness to take him in. He accepted me in the guise I inhabited for he understood that sometimes, often times, women on their own were left with no good choices.

In appearance he was not remarkable, no more than half a head taller than me, and deceptively slender for he was quite strong as more than one ruffian discovered to his dismay. His eyes were pale blue, almost gray, his face was narrow, lending him an almost preacher-like severity that was shattered when he smiled, for when he did his face would light up and all the warmth within him shone through. His smile was quite disarming. He was well acquainted with the art of the fistfight and the blade, as well as being an accomplished marksman, but his greater strength was in negotiating his way out of the need to fight. He understood people. He understood me even when he had no inkling of the secrets I held.

He entered my life and in typical gallant fashion took me under his protection. In just days he came to understand that I did not need protecting and he took me to his side as a lover and partner in adventure. When he learned the truth about me he was afraid- afraid for me, not of me. He understood instinctively what loving him would ultimately cost me. He tried to protect me from that as well even knowing how futile it was. He loved me.

Yet some wonder why I loved him? Some wonder why losing him was so devastating? I fail to convey just what he was, try as I might. Were you a drinking man, you would have found him an able companion for a night of carousing. Were you a scholar an evening with him discussing the histories and foibles of man would have been counted as the best spent hours of your life. Were you a crusader for justice his thirst for the recognition of the innate nobility of all men would have set you on fire. Were you beset by misfortune his charity would have been easy to accept, for you would have understood his gratitude for being able to do so. Were you a scoundrel, an abuser of others, a thief and bottom feeder, you would have feared him. Were you as I, you would have had little choice but to love him.

Perhaps that last does say it best.

8 Responses to “Jeremy”

  1. Jeremy sounds like the precise definition of a soul-mate.

  2. For some reason I dislike that term; however, it certainly does seem appropriate. We were perfect for each other in all ways but one.

  3. This is some freaky-ass stuff! Have you thought about getting a collection of your tales published in print? While that medium may not preserve your immortal wisdom quite as well as an webserver can, such a venture could prove quite lucrative. Then again, I’m not quite sure how one such as yourself values money in the face of eons.

    Also, I hope you don’t take offense to a personal critique, but in the fourth paragraph, you used the word provenance where it seemed from the context that you meant providence. I only mention this because I like what you are doing here, and want it to be as good as it can be. You rock, keep it up.

  4. Oh, dear, how did I let that slip past? Three days without sleep, I suppose. Thank-you for pointing it out. As to money, I certainly have uses for it, but I have my own sources, which I shall decline to go in to here.

  5. I cannot imagine it was easy for Jeremy, knowing that one day, he would have to leave you… knowing that one day his love for you would not be enough.

  6. I know how he felt. He could not hide that from me any more than I could hide my heart from him. He feared for me and he tried to protect me, and it wounded him to know he could not.

    I would rather not speak of those last days. I have put this to rest, so far as I can.

  7. Jeremy sounds/seems like Larry Darrell, caracther of W. SOMERSET MAUGHAM novel: The Razor’s Edge.

  8. The above comments were posted on 9/29/2003, 09/29/2003, 09/29/2003, 09/30/2003, 10/31/2003, 11/01/2003, and 01/10/2004, respectively, prior to being re-posted here.

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