I enter their home quietly while they are still young and burning with new passion. The man is full of his power and the woman is full of her ancient heat and it is not my time. I hide away in the darkness of exile, in silence. I, too, have much heat. I too am strong. I am of the East. I am patient.
I am present in those early months: so many days of night into the early years of their passion. There is no thought of me as their lovemaking, their love, fills every corner (almost every corner) of the House. I hide in darkness.
I am of the East. I am patient. I am strong. I wait.
I am there when the woman’s steps grow hesitant and slow; when they become heavy and she learns to fear - to truly fear - for the first time. It is not the time for me, I hear, as she bathes at the other side of the House during long hours of discomfort as her quickening awakens more power in him and as still more heat flows from her like lava.
I am strong. I am alone. I wait.
I am there when their firstborn comes home, carried along on her light footsteps and when they show him to the House I can feel the man’s footsteps; resolved and courageous, powerful and alert for harm. The woman who long ago learned fear and now she gives it a name; a hundred names. But she never names me among them. It is not yet my time.
The man discovers fear when the boy discovers how to move silently but not safely. I hear the woman’s tense, exhausted words to the man as he bathes the babe in the great, lion-footed bath at the other end of the House. He assures her that he, too, has learned to fear because of having this shared joy to lose and he roars like a lion that he will protect his cub.
I am there when the daughter is made, two weary, loving years later and I am there in the spring when she too is brought to the House. I wait while she begins to move across floors and towards dangers named and unnamed. I listen. I hear from my exile here at the top of the House when the children splash and shout at bath times when they shriek when toys and parents alike bob and scuttle to serve and rush to and fro amid suds and steam and spillages, and I wish to be over them. I yearn to make them feel my power and to hear them scream to their parents for mercy, to take me away from them, to let them be safe away from my power.
I am of the East. I wait.
And then the day comes when their love is not enough. The world grows cold. It requires more than lives shared nurturing the young and the woman says that there must be more. She hungers for more strength than he presently has and she needs more heat than he arouses in her body and she says that it is time. At last it is time. My time.
But the man is cautious and afraid. I wait. It is not the season, he says, it is not the time. The daylight wanes and all is dark except for an hour or so after noon and he is afraid to work alone in the cold and darkness and most of all he is afraid to fail. But the woman will not demur; the man must take heart and strive, cold and solitary, in the dirt and dark and angry hours and when he temporizes she rises up against him like a wrathful goddess; he must bring his woman and his children power; new heat against the cold and darkness of a world grown worse. He must regain his manly strength and certainty because delay will leave him cold and sleepless and alone. I need be patient no longer. It is my time. I have so much heat: the heat of geysers and the sunlight warming ancient swamps. I have the great power; the power of fire and shattered atoms and deep lakes high amongst mountains so far away. I am of the East. I am easy to assemble and install. Please to read instructions careful. Please to consult a plumber if power shower does not operate optimally.