Genre: Romance, Drama
Time Frame: 1116 and on
Summary: She has given up an earthly attachment for a holy; and still, vestiges of their connection remain.
Notes: The third of five vignettes I am posting today, all written in Paris. For this one we have more historical fanfiction, inspired by Heloise and Abelard's love letters. Nominatissima, means 'most renowned' in Latin. And Abelard used it to describe Heloise - for her gifts in letters and latin, obviously. ;)
Disclaimer: Nothing is mine but for the words.
She had always been fascinated by his hands.
The first time she had heard him speak, he had been a broad of gesture – speaking to the hundreds of gathered students on the steps of the Notre Dame. His eyes had sparkled, and his hands had cut stories to the air when he spoke, urging those hearing him to hear and see his thinking. His mind was shown by his hands, and so she had followed him.
And listened . . .
When her uncle had allowed Pierre Abelard to take her as his pupil she had been enthralled by the stories he told, and the way he hung on her words. She was Nominatissima, he had said – gifted with the patterns of classical languages and their intricacies. In him she saw just another verse to translate; and as her thoughts met and melded – and flourished – with his, she would watch as he would pen their combined thoughts, his hands moving with a frantic urgency across the parchment. At times she would laugh at him, then with him, when his frantic thoughts led to him writing right on his shirtsleeves. Often she would coax the ink from his shirts while he watched her bashfully until his hands upon her skin – melding bodies where minds had long since found a true and equal marriage – until she had forgotten to laugh.
These memories are painful now, made hard with remembered pain – her uncle's rage, and her bearing their child alone in the cold north of France. Their son had had his father's hands from the beginning, moving restlessly even within her womb in an endless caress. She thinks of the child now – her Astrolabe - where her holy vestiges allow her, and tries not to feel guilt.
She remembers Pierre's hands, clenched into fists, and turning his eyes from her gaze with shame when he told her what her uncle had done. The way they trembled when he clashed with his thinking over the churches. The cruel wretches who could not see or understand genius for their own sin of jealousy . . . And she remembered his hands upon the carriage door as she was sent away from him. She imagined his touch on her shoulder as she entered the abbey and took her vows to God in place of the love she had lost.
She cursed his hands for a while; in the beginning, caught between God and mortal yearnings and his mind still trapped within hers . . . Her thoughts were still very much alive. And she poured hers to him through her words.
And now she reads his letters in return – penned for her, the devotion seeping past every swirl of pressed pen to paper, even when professing otherwise - and she traces her fingers over the words. She pressed her fingers to the paper until they turned white and bloodless. Her tears soaked the paper, smearing his pen until she could wipe the whole of his pain white and clean. Here were his words and thoughts; even poems, and sketches, and holy hymns written for her mouth to sing in an exchange as intimate as a lover's caress. And she imagines his hands as he wrote these things, maybe trembling slightly as he penned the words, maybe completely steady as his vast mind and intense faith made his remembrance hold his grip steady and firm. . .
These words were hers, though; and not of those he shared with the harsh and fickle world. This was hers; and in that, he still was as well. Would always remain so.
For the rest of her time, she believes that she can be content with that.