I got home. I showered. I masturbated. Screaming out: fuck me, fuck me, fuck me.
I called the number you gave me. The receptionist put me through but the bells just rang hollow and I imagined an empty room – and the town you were out painting.
I wrote you a letter. Can you remember what it said?
My beautiful boy. I love you in a way that has completely undone me. I am no longer the older woman in seat 313 or the pre-dawn lover of mission brown motels. I have been broken down and someone new is being constructed in my place. I don’t know who she is just yet – but she wants to be with you.
I stood beside the post box under the red midnight glow of the street lamp and listened to the shuffling cloud of moths as they swirled in the light. The street was quiet, save for them and my breathing.
The chute opened with a loud, metallic yawn. The letter dropped.
And then I caught sight of myself. Forty three and sending my very first love letter. However sad and unbecoming my party performance had been it struck me that there was something even more telling about this. How had I lived so long and never known what it meant to be alive?
To live without the risk of death is to be dead already – and I realised that that was what I had been doing since the red faced and rude stranger on the migrant ship had seen me bleeding and pointed out that I was an animal. Cut from flesh, not carved from ideas. Mortal, not eternal.
I never knew gratitude – or humility – or even freedom – until hunger cut me down to size.
Or was it starvation?