Preceding me up those steep stairs, he suddenly turns and exclaims: ‘Ha, finally towering above you!’
And immediately, he demonstrates by pulling me close and cradling my head against his chest. His mood shifts, quicksilver, and now he is bending over me and whispering fiercely in my ear that he would choose me before all others, freely, under any and all circumstances--with a bit of added vehemence, dear Findekano, in order to eradicate any trace of doubt before it can arise. For he knows I am prone to doubt. But I do not doubt his sincerity, how could I?
I do doubt, sometimes, that we are free to choose. Buffeted by events, entangled in our flaws, we stumble our pre-ordained path, whether blind or seeing, until—almost—the blind seem the more innocent. Maybe all the freedom we have is only to resist or to consent. Maybe even the limits of our blindness or awareness, of our resistance or consent are inscribed upon us.
Only here, now, on the precipitous stairs between the first and the second floor of the disused guard tower, it does not matter. I lean against him, shifting my weight into his grip, letting him feel how he supports and balances me. He stops speaking, sighs and rests his chin on the top of my head. Findekano, with whatever of free will or choice I have, to you I give my consent. I do.