By Shayne Terry <byron212@yahoo.com>

Rated: PG

Submitted: December 2001

Summary: In the small, lonely hours one man reflects on the nature of his love in this introspective vignette.

All recognizable characters are the property of DC Comics, Warner Bros and December 3rd productions.


Life can be sweet torture.

I close my eyes, and yet I cannot escape the sounds of her breathing,her heartbeat, the sweet rustle of silk brushing across her skin. In a way, it is intimacy unwanted, a torture and a tease. It beckons to me, taunts me with what I can never have, and makes me ache.

She can never know that I dream of her night after night, forbidden thoughts taking my mind by twilight. It is my secret shame that I want what I can never have. My parents raised me better than to covet another man's wife.

She shifts again, and the temptation to peer through wood and stone is almost overwhelming. This woman tempts me in ways no other woman ever has; she tempts me to forget every value my parents instilled in the short time we had together.

Jealousy is an ugly emotion, yet it burns in the back of my mind. He has it all; a lifetime of memories, a loving family, a life, and the sort of love that comes only once in a lifetime. I wonder sometimes whether he appreciates it at all. For a moment, I find myself hoping that we never find him.

The thought that I could step into his life is almost irresistible. I remember running in the snow barefoot as a child; oddly, the cold never hurt much. The comfortable numbness only ended when I returned to the warmth of the farmhouse. Then, the pain was almost unbearable.

Hearing her now is like that. In a way, I'd been numb since the day my parents died. I'd drifted through life in a fog of numbness; I'd been willing to settle for someone like Lana, someone who would never be able to accept me for what I was.

In the midst of a life that had been an eternal winter, she came into my life, blazing like the heat of the sun. She burned away the fog, let me live life the way I'd always wanted…and when she was gone, the pain had been worse than I'd ever imagined.

She claims that my feelings for her are a ghost of my real feelings for * my * Lois, but I can't believe that. The feelings I have for her now are almost more than I can bear; if they are only a pale reflection of what she shares with * him *, then my reasons for jealousy are only greater.

Motionless now, her body still entices me. The sounds of her heart beating, the catching of her breath in small sobs; she mourns for him as much as I mourned for her. She mourns for all the seconds, all the minutes, all the hours they may never have. In many ways, if we fail, she'll mourn that way for the rest of her life.

If it's within my power, she'll never suffer as I have, never have to face the loss of the other half of her soul.

Her pain means more to me than my own. Isn't that what love is?

I close my eyes and relax at last. All I have is the sound of her heart, the rhythm of her breathing, and that has to be enough.