Love is never dark, not when it is true ...

This is an excerpt from Without Light or Guide: Los Nefilim Part 2 and is one of my favorite scenes. Diago is trying to explain his relationship with Miquel to his son Rafael. Diago has never worn his wedding band publicly because of his fear that others will discover that he and Miquel are homosexual--remember: the story takes place in Spain in 1931.

When Rafael notices Diago's ring and comments that it is exactly like the band Miquel wears, Diago stumbles to explain their relationship. He is sure the child won't understand, but children often have much clearer vision than adults and they are usually wiser than we think.

* * *

Diago said, “Miquel is like a partner. Someone I want to spend my life with.”

Rafael considered this explanation for a moment. “Then why don’t you wear your ring?”

“Because he thinks our love is dark,” Miquel said from the kitchen doorway. He spoke gently enough, but Diago detected the familiar bitterness edging into his words.

How many times had Miquel asked him not to hide the symbol of their love? You murder me, Diago. Every time you deny our love, you murder a piece of my heart.

Ashamed, Diago looked down at his ring. Miquel disappeared back into the kitchen. The sounds of plates rattling onto the table seemed to carry more force than usual.

I’ve upset him. Again.

“Love isn’t dark, Papa.” Rafael touched the wedding ring in Diago’s palm. “Love kills the dark. That’s what Mamá always said. Love drives the dark away.”

“I don’t believe love is dark.” Not anymore. Not after his years with Miquel. But still … “I’m afraid not everyone will understand.”

“They don’t understand because you don’t wear your ring. If you wore your ring, they would understand.”

Diago had no answer for that, and he now wondered if it was he who didn’t understand, and Rafael got it just fine. He simply sat there with his son next to him, gazing at the wedding band he wore beneath his shirt like it was a dirty secret. Yet Los Nefilim knew. They all knew. Some didn’t approve, but they didn’t dare say anything to Diago or Miquel’s face. What were they going to do? Kick him out? The thought of it was ludicrous. Once a Nefil swore allegiance, he never left the service of his king.

And how can I commit to Los Nefilim and not to the man who has stood by me all these years? The chain slithered between Diago’s fingers and fell to the floor.

* * *

You can read a new review of Without Light or Guide at Around the World in 80 Books.