It was all lies, what I said to you. I called you "wandering child," but you are no child to me. You are Woman, individual and archetype, perfect specimen of your sex, worthy of every pedestal, every adoration, every shivering sigh.

I said you were lost and helpless, but I have seen you dance for hours, your skin shining with sweat, and you keep going without complaint. You hide your tears, your pain, until darkness. To the bright world you smile, and that is your strength. I have seen you transported by music, filling rooms with the purity of your voice—fire, passion, and an exquisite sensitivity. That is your power.

I said you yearn for my guidance, and that is the greatest lie of all. It is you who must guide me, beloved, for I am undone with love for you, and I am lost. Will you not see me, see how I ache for you? I am no angel. Before you, I am hardly a man: I am nothing more than a heart, and it beats only for you. You do not even know that you are perfection. Do you realize the difference between lust and desire? A man can feel lust for any woman, for any body willing to give up its secrets. Desire is personal. I do not merely want your body. I want you—mind, heart, and spirit.

Having watched you endlessly, I can close my eyes and picture you—the way you bite your lip when you're thinking, which always makes my heart skip in my chest. At the end of the day, just as you begin to relax before bed, you sometimes toss your head, as if trying to clear out all your thoughts or as if shaking off your cares. I love the dimple just above your elbows. In the candlelight, your hair glints reds and golds that hide by day. I have seen you, memorized you. The way you move is so precious to me, so familiar, that I would know you in silhouette.

Dearest. Sometimes you smile in your sleep. It is not a smile that I have ever seen on your waking face; it is both smaller and more truly happy. My mind knows that you most likely dream of your father, but my heart hopes that you dream of me. You look as if you are made of every soft thing: fur, velvet, silk. Even the shimmer of light in your hair and eyes is soft. Your lips are the color of sweetness, your hair the shade of comfort, your eyes a deepness of paradise.

And I know you by sound. I can pick your giggle out of the noise of a crowd. Your voice is pitched to draw my ear, no matter how softly you speak. You sing, of course, like a creature of Heaven untouched by the wickedness of this world, but you know this. I have told you a thousand times. What I have not said is that your speaking voice strikes me as deeply, as if you speak in the same key as my heart, making it want to leap toward you. One word from you and the hairs on my arms stand on end. So often I wake to myself with my face pressed to glass, trying to get closer to you.

Two senses are not enough to know you. All I want is to lose myself in you. What is the scent that you wear? I have watched you pull the stopper from the tiny bottle and dab it gently on wrists, neck, and chest. I have longed to be that bit of glass, but I do not know the smell of it. If you stood before me, with no barrier of mirror and mystery between us, what would be the first thing I would do? It might be to bury my face in your hair, to breathe in the scent of it or that of the small hollow under year ear, the spot where a tiny pulse beats. I adore that spot. When a bit of your hair falls there, you wrinkle your nose, you shrug one shoulder and flick the lock away. If I could, I would sit by you and tease that spot with the end of my quill, just to see your adorable shrug.

Is it too much to say that I long to taste you? You must be as sweet as marzipan, as addictive as fine chocolate. What nourishment could be more complete than the taste of one's beloved? If I could know your taste—that of your skin or the dark richness of your mouth—surely, that would be paradise. Before I knew you, mouths were good only for eating and singing. Until I loved you, I never knew what it meant to be truly hungry. I cannot keep my fingers away from my own lips when I look at you, so desperately do I long to kiss you, to trace each plane of your face with my mouth, to discover which texture is more exquisite—the silk of your ear or your gorgeous mouth.

But more than anything, I dream of touch. My hands ache for you. Surely you cannot be made of such softness, and yet you must be. Is my palm large enough to wrap around the back of your head? Better than any music, to trace my finger across your face, to feel your warmth pressed against me, God, to study the beautiful architecture of your form. You would turn me into a scholar, beloved, if I could but study you, memorize each detail. Even to lace my fingers with yours, just that small gesture, would break me apart. All of my skin itches for you, my very flesh turns toward you. Now I know that, without you, my arms are empty—utterly empty. Until I can hold you, I will never be complete. Until my hands can touch you, they will never know their true purpose. This wretched shell is nothing without your caress.

I despair that you will ever know how I love you, my darling, my own. I am the most base and miserable of cowards, hiding behind these mirrors, these stone walls, when all I wish is to throw myself at your feet and beg for a single touch. Anything, my angel—any request, any desire, and it is yours. I would do more than die for you. I would live for you. I would throw off my solitude and my mask and enter the world at your request. For you, I would remake myself into a better man.

Give me a sign, beloved. Look into the mirror and smile, reach out your hand to me. Anything, my dearest, but let me know that my long nights of torment have not been in vain. Save me from this darkness. I beg you, most beautiful girl—give me the chance to earn your heart.