To be a king is to be lonely. You sit upon your throne, alone; you lead your army, alone; you face the menace of would-be usurpers, alone.
Paradoxically, although to be a king is lonely, aloneness is not a mark of the office. Kings have counsellors, after all. They may even have confidantes; if they do, they are blessed.
Is it possible to have even more? Yes. If a king – or, indeed, any man – meets a person who not only gives him their friendship but acts in such a way as to show the attributes of the greatest and best gods then not only has that man been blessed but he has entered through his friend or lover the realm of the gods.
In Hephaestion, I have ascended Mount Olympus and done just that; and yet, no, I have done even more. Thanks to Hephaestion, I have stood face-to-face with Zeus, and stared him in the eye; and in so doing, I have understood my identity in his gaze.
And the best thing is – when I saw Zeus, I also saw Hephaestion. For he lifts me up to the gods only to appear before me himself. It is as if there is a conspiracy of love and truth between himself and my father to open my eyes to the truth about myself, and them.
To be with Hephaestion is a joy. To kiss him on the body is both a pleasure and foreshadowing of a greater delight. To kiss him on the lips is also a foreshadowing of that greater delight. As is to hold him; to caress him and feel him; to touch him, stroke him and squeeze him; to dig my nails into him… to arouse him with fingers, tongue and body… and to have all these things done to me; to penetrate him and be penetrated. All of these things are also the foreshadowing of that greater delight.
But if they are not the greatest of things. What is? Simply, to be with him.
In his presence, to be the king, to be a servant, to be a lover; to be trusted, to be confirmed; to be challenged are all good, but what is better is simply to be.
Well, perhaps a little more than that: to be Alexander; to be who I am without fear of threat, fear of rivalry, without fear. Not to be king, just to be me.
Simply, to be.