I would often lie in the arms of the Bard in my Taylor Wimpey luxury flat in The Denizen. I remember the first time in Golden Lane with my face pressed against his beard smelling of incense and sandalwood, when he bade me — “Remember”; and I remembered. I dreamed I was a valley boy bathing in the cool, limpid waters of the Afon Taf: and he was a girl whom I had seduced to my pleasure on the river-shore, whilst the bells of a Druid grove called me in vain to my twilight prayers. I came to my senses, I remember, this time, with a strange, new feeling of power. Was that girl really the Bard? The girl had been so humble, so yielding, so weak; and after possession I had been so utterly indifferent. Was there, indeed, Nemesis in man’s allotted fate?
Williams feared that I knew much and where there is fear, hatred comes automatically. Hatred, at least, holds interest. Williams knew that I had learned why his lips were black and that his youth would remain as long as another woman gave him the glands of youth freshly distilled from her living body. For this is what they want of women: this is their great secret. I have written to warn those who like me, stirred by the unusual, have fallen at the feet of powerful men with strange powers, unbound by the conventions and without the compassion of ordinary mortals.
Our hosts often gave me Dà Mhìle, Seaweed Gin, and though the Bard lapped it up greedily with much smacking of lips, I could not touch it. The mere idea of gin made me feel very sick. When I asked for beer, instead of gin, there was much laughter on all sides. But after being mercilessly ribbed I'd be handed a bottle of Tiny Rebel, Cwtch, which was brewed in the Bard's home town of Newport. The Bard made a sermon on my preferring beer to Dà Mhìle, the essence of Wales, comparing my attitude to that of the worldly man who not having found the essence of life — spirituality — asked for the inferior part. Was he serious? Was he sincere?
I was no longer happy with the Bard. He neglected me and was often angry with me when he deigned to visit The Denizen. I was frightened of his anger for he had no self-control and beat me with clenched fists till I cried. Equally, like a child when he was pleased, his transport passed all bounds. He taught me many quaint arts. Alchemy was one of the arts he really knew. I have made a great many bars of gold and silver from copper and tin.
There was no heaven above for me, no world; why should there be? There was nothing in my life but The Denizen and the Bard. Life was a sweeping of itself in great and tender waves of emotion to nothingness: Wang Xiaotang had gone away for ever. Those experiences in The Denizen left me devoid, for ever, of any capacity for emotion or happiness. One day, the Bard said he had to leave me, and though I wept, he insisted that it must be; for his pupils awaited him and his preaching. He bade me wait in The Deinzen and that when he returned he’d be with me forever.
“Do not fear, my son!” cried the voice of the TaylorWimpey, “only the strong of funds can win a place in The Denizen! Only the well-heeled can afford this refined haven, only the prosperous own the right to be uplifted and calmed." Behind them Golden Lane had vanished. Nothing remained but the homeless beneath and the grey sky above and the heaping of skulls between and the ninth-floor penthouse upslanting, out of sight, out of reach.
I married, really married, a Bard at the age of nineteen: but no one knew it, and but for this confession none would ever have known I was one of those Chinese women who are made for Ovates: and among the thousands of deluded women who prostrate themselves before Bards, I was one of the most deluded. I saw the Bard’s eyes flash with interest the first time he caught sight of me, a sophisticated Chinese woman so different to his white admirers. From that day on I saw him daily. He deprived me of much, beauty, ideals and money - but in the end, I believe, I deprived him of greater things.