Hatagaya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, my rented six-tatami room. Xuerong is in town on a 24-hour layover between London and Beijing. She arrived yesterday afternoon, and will leave this afternoon. After fucking much of the night, it is now early morning. We are lying naked on my futon, with just an electric fan to cool us. Resting, as it were, or pausing, a conversation ensues. 

You are Xuerong 雪榕; I, I.

‘Last time we were together, or the time before that, I said to you that everything had a beginning, a middle, and an end; and that we were somewhere in the middle. I’ve been thinking about that, and somehow it doesn’t quite make sense, at least from our perspective, between you and me, specifically.’

‘It is not, really, that I think differently now, but that I feel differently. Our love did no more begin than it will end. How could we be in the middle of something that is not constrained by time? Time is a fabrication of the mind, and our relationship has nothing to do with our minds. We have fashioned time to adhere to our notions of beginning and end. It is not the other way around.’

‘You’re smiling.’

‘You’re philosophising.’

‘This has nothing to do with philosophy. That is between man and god – whom or whatever that is perceived to be. This is bigger than both. This is universal. This is eternal. Man is that which is less than truth – all truth being universal. And less than man? It is that which lifts to fall, is abashed to be, is better content not to be. And this is where god comes in – it is more than man, but not yet truth – man-monster of self-fright, uplifted to self-fascination, to cast the guardian shadow, pride.’

‘Am I whack?’

‘You are.’

‘I said, too, that we created this thing between us, by believing that is was so, that it is so. That doesn’t feel right, now, either. If we created it, then we initiated it, we gave it beginning. But we didn’t. We couldn’t have. We dipped into a stream that was already there. Its source, its origin, unknown, unknowable; its destination, also unknown, unknowable.’

‘Our relationship is not linear at all, suggesting that at one point on that line an inception occurred. Our relationship is round. Every ending is a beginning; every beginning, an end. It’s easy to believe that we knew one another is past lives, and that we are just carrying on where we left off. But where did it all begin? It didn’t. It’s destiny. Our destiny. And the stream – the inspiration, the motivation? It is the path of destiny that brought us together.’

‘I have devoted most of my life to China, not only to China, the country, the culture, the language, literature, art, and history, but to China, the stream of humanity, of destiny, of universal, eternal flow and energy. The wind and water – the fengshui 风水 – that govern China, govern me.’

‘You, too, have been cast by destiny upon a trajectory that ensured that you would traverse my orbit, as I have traversed yours.’

‘It is crazy how we can be together every day, face to face, eye to eye, body to body, fucking and talking and everything else, and yet, to anyone else, to everyone else, we have never met in the corporeal world. If what we have is real only to us, really real, and it’s not mental, then is it spiritual?’

‘You can’t dip your fingers twice into the same stream, because it is always flowing. Our reality is real, because, our fingers interlaced, we dip them together. There is no contrivance of mind between us. The mind is incapable of that degree of precision. The exact place and the exact time must converge with exact synchronicity. You couldn’t calculate that on your own. Nor could I. It is the destiny we share that brings it to be – heart and lungs, blood and breath, involuntarily surging in perfect harmony, with no input from the distant mind.’

‘And is it spiritual? No. Spiritual, at least as it is commonly discerned, is unworldly, transcendent, incorporeal, immaterial, ethereal, otherworldly, intangible. As we have ascertained , and do, daily, what we have is more than that. Often, that which one dares not name is cast into the realm of the spiritual. We can name this. It is sensual fulfilment. It is sex. It is love.’

‘But why define, anyway? We have already determined that interest, fascination, infatuation, obsession, all lie in mystery rather than identity; and that within the realm of mystery, love, true love, exists at that moment and place where truth and magic crash headlong into one another.’

“Sorry to digress from the our more important concern. I know you have to leave soon.’

‘That’s who we are. We fuck and we talk. The fucking makes the talk more meaningful. The talking makes the fucking more meaningful. Of all your sexy, I like your brain-sexy maybe most of all. You’re totally crazy, but so am I, or I wouldn’t be here.’

‘That’s true. You would be confined to that small immediate world where everything is of the passing of time. To break out of that, you had to go searching.’

‘I found it in poetry.’

‘When all else fails, there is poetry. It takes you to that forest grove, to that stone, to that stream.’

‘To you.’

‘And me, to you.’

‘Have we time for one more fuck before you go?’

‘Listen to you. We have all the time in the world, all the time in the universe.’

‘I love you madly.’

‘I love you, too.’