“I didn’t only want Louise’s flesh, I wanted her bones, her blood, her tissues, the sinews that bound her together. I would have held her to me through time had stripped away the tones and textures of her skin. I could have held her for a thousand years until the skeleton itself rubbed away to dust. What are you that makes me feel thus? Who are you for whom time has no meaning?
In the heat of her hands I thought, This is the campfire that mocks the sun. This place will warm me, feed me, and care for me. I will hold on to this pulse against other rhythms. The world will come and go in the tide of a day but here is her hand with my future in its palm.” (p. 51).
Time and magnitude play a big part in this passage. The sun is a universal constant; it has lasted and will last forever, and a human life or a day or a campfire is nothing when compared to it. Likewise, the age or bodily wear from time presents no issue or worry for the narrator in this passage, for how much they feel for Louise. This passage describes the magnitude of the feeling the narrator feels for her; it is all-consuming, only measurable in astronomical proportions, or in the immeasurable length of time. And is it love? The narrator is still entirely confused by the feeling and its intensity.
This passage reinforces the notion that this book is not only about kinds of love, but it is also about bodies. The narrator feels love viscerally and physically and only finds similarity in the astronomical, not-easily-grasped concepts of time or distance or scale. The narrator’s relationship with love, which is one of confusion and yet one that they are connected to intrinsically and completely, reflects the portrayal of bodies in the novel, and ultimately the narrator’s relationship with gender- and the concept of gender itself. The narrator’s gender is never truly revealed (and so, in our minds, neither is their body), and their love is never truly understood. I think the author is saying that a person’s relationship to their gender is connected to their relationship with bodies and that for the narrator, it’s as unknowable and complete as love.